ISLAMABAD - Ambassador of Romania to Pakistan, Emilian ION, has decorated five Pakistanis with merit awards for promoting relations between the two countries at a simple but impressive ceremony held here at his residence on Thursday.

The awards were given in various categories such as education, business, trade and economy, culture and media. A large number of ambassadors, ministers and members of civil society attended the award ceremony.

The ambassador in his speech congratulated the award winners and hoped they will continue to render their services for promotion and strengthening of relations between the two brotherly countries.

The ambassador announced on the occasion that Romania had introduced special visa regime for Pakistani businessmen. Now, businessmen having a valid Schengen visa could make a stopover in Romania for one week or so, before reaching their final destination. He said this is a big development vis a vis relations between the two countries and hoped the step will further promote and increase trade and economic activity between the two countries, besides giving a considerable boost to exchange of business as well as other delegations. “I feel really happy to announce that there will soon be direct flights from Romania and Pakistan. I am confident we will have these flights in the year 2013. Let me tell you that a private group of Romanian businessmen has decided to launch direct flights.

 Initially flights will be operated from Lahore to Bucharest twice a week but this frequency can surely be increased keeping in view the load of passengers”, he added.

Ambassador Emilian said that the airline company had already bought three aircrafts to connect Bucharest with Lahore. In past the national Romanian flag carrier used to come to Karachi but somehow the operation was stopped. Now the initiative from the private companies of both countries is going to give new dimensions to bilateral relations.

In his remarks on the occaion, ICCI President Zafar Bakhtawari appreciated the Romanian government and hoped the initiative would further boost relations between the two countries. He said, ICCI will soon take a delegation to Romania with a view to exploring more avenue of mutual cooperation. He welcomed the Romanian government decisions of giving visa incentives to Pakistani businessmen and start of direct flights between two countries adding these steps ostensibly would spur trade and economic activity between the two states.

Those who got awards for promoting bilateral relations between Romania and Pakistan include Raza Ch. Managing Director National School of Mathematics (Lahore), Sohail Shamim Firpo Chairman Pakistan Romania Business Council (Karachi), Zafar Bakhtawari, President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ansar Mahmood Bhatti (media) and Faiq Jawed (business).