Islamabad - Australia’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Margaret Adamson yesterday extended greetings to Muslims on the onset of Ramazan. In a message, she said: “I extend my greetings to Muslims in Pakistan, Australia and around the world for the holy month of Ramazan.”

She added, “To more than 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide, Ramazan is a time of fasting, prayer and charity. A time to think about peaceful interaction with others, whether family members, friends, or other members of the community such as the economically vulnerable members and people from different faiths and cultures. It’s a time to think about inclusivity and fairness, and to support the core values of peace and equality for all people, as enshrined in the United Nations Charter and Human Rights Convention.”

In Australia, she said, “We appreciate the unifying force of shared values, and the importance of a level playing field for all of our citizens. Australia is the most ethnically diverse country in the world with people from all corners of the globe, among them around 600,000 Muslims and 60,000 Pakistanis. Our democratic values, our respect for the rule of law and protection of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and other freedoms unites us. These are some of the key elements that makes our country such a multicultural success story.”

 This Ramazan, she said, “We reflect on the history of relations between our two countries as we mark the 70th anniversary of Australia’s diplomatic representation in Pakistan.

The bilateral relationship continues to grow, with Australia, a destination of choice for Pakistani students. More than 12,000 Pakistanis are currently studying in Australian universities, and we have an active network of alumni, many of whom are working in positions of influence across Pakistan. Our scholarship program first got underway in the 1950s under the Colombo Plan, and the Australian government has supported more than 2,000 Pakistanis to study in Australia in recent years. People to people links, cultural and trade levels continue to grow. Bilateral trade, including trade in services, is now almost of $ 2 billion.” Australia also supported the people of Pakistan through the broader development assistance partnership, prioritising inclusive, sustainable economic growth, national stability and gender equality, the envoy said.

Both the countries have been elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council for 2018-2020 and we look forward to working with Pakistan in support of human rights globally during our term and beyond.

“Our longstanding defence cooperation program is an important element of the bilateral relationship, and the Government and people of Australia stand in solidarity with Pakistan in countering terrorism and violent extremism,” Adamson said.

 Muslims and Pakistanis, she said made an important contribution to modern-day Australia .“As Australia’s High Commissioner, I will continue to promote active, friendly ties between Australia and Pakistan,” she added.