ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s Ambassador to Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, and Uruguay, Naela Chohan, has said that Pakistan needs to intensify its relations with Latin American countries.

Addressing a roundtable organized by the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS) here on Thursday, Amb. Chohan opined that there was hardly any awareness in Pakistan about the Pakistani diaspora communities in Latin America.

She shared that Peru-the second fastest growing economy in Latin America-has a small but active Pakistani community, which has not only established the first Pakistani mosque, but also a Pakistani school there.

Ambassador Chohan shared that Ecuador has the second largest Pakistani community in Latin America. She added that Pakistanis did not need a visa to enter Ecuador until about a year ago. Chohan shared that not only the US but many Asian countries-including Muslim countries of the Arab world and Iran-had started to invest in Latin American countries and that Pakistan also needed to benefit from the great economic opportunities that Latin America was offering.

She added, however, that Pakistan was not paying enough attention to this crucial emerging world market. She shared that Pakistan’s trade with Ecuador at $ 15 million was mainly composed of Pakistan’s exports, and that it could be further increased with Ecuador as well as other Latin American countries.

According to Chohan, Peru could become a gateway to Latin America for Pakistan. She urged Pakistani think tanks to establish greater contacts with Latin American think tanks and do more research on the area to explore its potential for Pakistan.

Ashraf Azim, President of IRS; Dr. Shaheen Akhtar, Senior Research Analyst at IRS; and other researchers attended the roundtable.

To achieve this objective, the Afghan government will need a strong Police and paramilitary forces for maintaining internal peace and security, and the UN will have to play its role by appointing a respected.