ISLAMABAD  -   Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan Takashi Kurai Wednesday paid a farewell call on Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi upon completion of his tenure in Pakistan.

The ambassador said that the Japan-Pakistan relations were characterised by mutual respect and support for each other.

The ambassador pointed out that during his stay in Pakistan, he was “accorded immense support and assistance by state institutions of Pakistan and was received with open doors everywhere in Pakistan.”

The Foreign Minister commended the ambassador for the effective engagement and work done during his stay in Pakistan, aimed of promoting bilateral cooperation between Pakistan and Japan.

Both sides expressed satisfaction over the enhanced high-level exchanges between the two countries and expressed readiness to promote overall bilateral relations between Pakistan and Japan through intensified contacts, said a foreign ministry statement.  Both sides also exchanged ideas on enhancing cooperation in political, defence, economic and commercial sectors, it added.

Ambassador of Tajikistan Jononov Sherali also paid a farewell call on the Foreign Minister at the Foreign Office yesterday. Sherali will be returning on completion of 5 years tenure in Pakistan.

The Foreign Minister received him with cordiality and congratulated him on successful completion of his Ambassadorial assignment in Pakistan.

He re-emphasised the close bonds between Pakistan and Tajikistan rooted in centuries old religious and cultural ties.

He appreciated the ambassador’s dedicated efforts towards the advancement of bilateral relations between Pakistan and Tajikistan and thanked him for his exemplary services.

During Ambassador Sherali’s tenure bilateral relations in areas of trade, commerce, education, culture and energy sector were strengthened between the two countries resulting in exchange of a number of high-level visits.

The leadership of both countries have also signed a Declaration for Strategic Partnership and agreed to advance CASA-1000 electricity project and work towards its early completion. The Foreign Minister bid farewell to the ambassador with best wishes for his future assignments, said a foreign ministry statement.

Another statement issued by the foreign ministry Wednesday said the five Pakistani nationals who were earlier stranded on a ship, off the coast of Safaga in Egypt were produced in an Egyptian court.

“An officer from our Mission in Cairo was deputed to assist our nationals during the court proceedings,” the statement said.

It added: “The crew has been charged with involvement in drug smuggling, which was allegedly found on the ship. The crew has denied any involvement stating that they were hired for transportation of cargo by an agent of M/s Marseilli Shipping Lines in Dubai. The Mission is actively pursuing the matter and remains in regular contact with the local authorities and the five Pakistani nationals.”