ISLAMABAD - Pehin Col (Retd) Abdul Jalil Ahmed, High Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam and his spouse Madam Hajah Umi Kalthum, hosted a grand reception at a local hotel on the occasion of the 26th National Day of their country. Federal Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim was the chief guest. National anthems of Pakistan and Brunei were played. The host and the chief guest also cut the cake with a sword along with the Ambassadors from ASEAN to mark the ceremony. Ambassador of Indonesia, Mr Ishak Latucansina, High Commissioner of Malaysia, Mr Ahmed Anwar Adnan, Ambassador of Myanmar, Mr Tin Oo, and Ambassador of Philippine, Mr Jesus Yabes, were also present. The embassies of Vietnam and Thailand are yet without an Ambassador and it is expected that the Ambassadors from these two ASEAN Countries would join during the next month. Laos, Cambodia and Singapore from the ASEAN have not yet opened their embassies in Islamabad. Federal Minister, Raja Tridiv Roy, is a very popular among the ASEAN Ambassadors and I propose that he should be properly utilised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan to achieve the target of full dialogue partner in ASEAN. Lt Gen (Retd) Abdul Qayyum and Lt Gen (Retd) Hameed Gul were present. Both these retired Generals had the ability and mind to serve the people but so far they have not found the right opportunity to deliver their expertise and wisdom after retirement to the people of Pakistan. Lt Gen Abdul Qayyum remarked that Chief of Army Staff, Gen Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani had contributed a lot to make the Pakistan Army more professional and expert for their job. He further added that the operation by Pakistan Army in Swat and South Waziristan has improved the image of Pakistan Army not only in the region but also at international level like NATO and other forums. He further remarked that the system for promotion in Pakistan Army during the last three years has much improved professionally. He further admired Gen Kayani and said that he had attended the marriage of his son two weeks back at which in a clear reflection of his professionalism no politician was invited; only very selective and close friends were there. Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus, Marios P. Ieronymides, was there with the Greek Ambassador; Mr Petros Mavroidis. The Cyprus Ambassador presented his credentials to the President the other day. He is a non-resident Ambassador as he is based in Beijing. Mr Marios said that there were 1200 students presently studying in his country from Pakistan. To a question about the Cyprus issue, he said that there is a will on both sides to solve the issue and that the present Government of Turkish Cyprus is moving in the right direction to solve the Cyprus Issue. He said that there are still certain areas which are yet to be decided but they had made some progress. He further said that he was highly satisfied with his meeting with the President and they discussed areas of mutual cooperation. Mr Marios remarked that his country is planning to open the embassy in Islamabad. The Ambassador of Qatar, Mr Sayar A Rahman Al-Mawdah, had also presented his credentials to the President. He was also satisfied and happy with the meeting. Ambassador of Philippine, Mr Jesus Yabes hd also presented their credentials to the President, The resignation of Finance Minister Shaukat Tareen and the arrest of the Chief of Jandullah, Mr Regi were also hot topics of discussion during the reception. The High Commissioner of Brunei in Pakistan is a former Chief of Air Force and the Pakistani High Commissioner to Brunei is Lt Gen (Retd) Salah-ud-Din Satti who had also served as Commander 10 Corp and Chief of General Staff. These two appointments reflect the existence of defence cooperation between the two countries and also the desire to boost defence cooperation between Pakistan and Brunei. Brunei and Pakistan share a common faith and cultural heritage. The two countries enjoy excellent political relations. However, the mutual goodwill is not fully reflected in the trade ties. There is need to promote the cultural, educational, economic and trade linkages between the two countries by organising cultural exchanges, lectures, seminars, exchange programmes and social visits etc. With the cooperation of the governments of Pakistan and Brunei, there is an opportunity to promote the objectives of strengthening and diversifying the scope of Brunei-Pakistan relations. Brunei has always proactively supported Pakistans membership of ASEAN Regional Forum and its candidature to become full dialogue partner of ASEAN.