KARACHI: US Ambassador Donald Blome visited Karachi (August 10-12) to further strengthen the strong economic partnership and bilateral trade between Pakistan and the United States.
During his visit, Ambassador Blome met with the Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, the Chief Ministers of Balochistan and Sindh, the Administrator of Karachi, the Commander of the Pakistan Navy Fleet (COMPAK), government officials, finance and business executives, trade and energy executives, and other trade and business representatives.
“I am happy to be back in Karachi, a financial and commercial center with tremendous energy,” said Ambassador Blome.
“This year marks the 75th anniversary of U.S.-Pakistan bilateral relations, and I look forward to strengthening the U.S.-Pakistan partnership in trade, investment, clean energy, health, security, education and other mutually beneficial priority areas”.
Ambassador Blome visited Port Qasim and met Federal Minister of Maritime Affairs Faisal Subzwari. The Ambassador expressed interest in how the United States can work with Pakistan to develop more ties with US port and maritime institutions. During the meetings with Chief Minister of Balochistan Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and Chief Minister of Sindh Murad Ali Shah, Blome discussed political, economic and security issues, as well as ongoing relief efforts to deal with the crisis. tragic impact of the recent floods in the two provinces.
During his meeting with Chief Minister of Sindh Shah, Ambassador Blome announced that the United States is providing a new grant of $1 million to build the resilience of farming communities in Sindh province and support Pakistani authorities disaster management in Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan, to better respond to future disasters.
Ambassador Blome and Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab discussed the impact of floods and other challenges in the city, as well as opportunities for growth, especially in the information technology sector. During the meeting with Vice Admiral COMPAK Ovais Bilgrami, the U.S. Ambassador discussed relief efforts in flood-affected areas and affirmed the importance of U.S.-Pakistan military relations and the desire to strengthen and expand our security cooperation.
Blome met with Cargill Pakistan CEO Imran Nasrullah. The Ambassador also visited Excelerate’s floating storage and regasification unit in Port Qasim to underscore our mutual interest in seeing the LNG joint venture of Engro and Excelerate succeed in Pakistan. He met with other American and Pakistani business leaders to show his commitment to promoting American business and investment in Pakistan through a wide range of effective services, products and programs.
The US government is committed to expanding the ties between the Pakistani and American peoples to promote a more stable, secure and prosperous future for our two nations. Bilateral trade reached nearly $9 billion in 2021. The United States is Pakistan’s largest export market and a top source of foreign investment, with U.S. direct investment increasing by 50% in course of the past year. US companies and their local affiliates are among the largest employers in Pakistan, with approximately 80 US companies directly employing over 125,000 Pakistanis and over one million Pakistanis indirectly employed. In 2021, American companies invested up to $5.7 million in corporate social responsibility initiatives in Pakistan.
One of the highlights of Ambassador Blome’s stay in Karachi was a visit to Liaquat Memorial Library’s Lincoln Corner Karachi where he inaugurated the StartUp Lab with Sindh’s Minister for Education, Culture, Tourism , Antiquities and Archives, Syed Sardar Ali Shah.
“The StartUp Lab is a unique and unique space in Pakistan where aspiring entrepreneurs with an idea for a start-up business can bring their ideas to fruition using the latest technology and equipment for free,” Ambassador Blome noted.
“The people-to-people ties between the United States and Pakistan are one of our greatest strengths. We are proud to partner with the Department of Culture of Sindh to ensure that young Pakistanis are ready to face the challenges of the 21st century,” said Ambassador Blome.
Lincoln Corner Karachi is one of 18 in the U.S. Mission in Pakistan’s National Network of American Spaces that provides free educational and cultural programs, as well as technology and information resources, to young Pakistani leaders.
Ambassador Blome also visited Frere Hall in Karachi to appreciate its architecture and murals. There he was accompanied by representatives of the NGO Sindh Exploration and Adventure Society (SEAS), Dr Asma Ibrahim and Dr Kaleemullah Lashari. SEAS received in 2021 a grant from the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) to renovate parts of Frere Hall. This AFCP project further demonstrates our respect for the rich cultural heritage of Pakistan.
To celebrate Pakistan’s National Minority Day, the Ambassador had the honor to meet with leaders of religious minority communities in Karachi to promote interfaith cooperation, religious tolerance and diversity.
He also visited the mausoleum of Pakistan’s founder Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and laid a wreath in honor of Pakistan’s founding father ahead of Pakistan’s 75th Independence Day.
“It is a great honor to be here at Mazar-e-Quaid to honor and commemorate the legacy of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The United States shares Quaid-e-Azam’s vision of a unified Pakistan, in peace with itself and its neighbours, a Pakistan of religious tolerance, economic prosperity and social inclusion,” Ambassador Blome said.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022