Annual Gala Event in Sydney Strengthens Trade Ties Between Australia and Pakistan.

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. The Annual Gala Event of the Australia Pakistan Chamber of Trade, Commerce, and Industry was held on the evening of April 19, 2024, at the Madison Function Centre in Dural, Sydney, and it was a grand spectacle. This event served as a testament to the burgeoning economic and cultural ties between Australia and Pakistan, providing a platform to celebrate and fortify these connections.
The event was orchestrated by Mr. Muhammed Asif, the President of the Australia Pakistan Chamber of Trade, Commerce, and Industry, whose primary mission is to facilitate bilateral trade relations between Australia and Pakistan. The guest list was a who’s who of prominent figures from both countries, including Mr. Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, the High Commissioner of Pakistan in Australia, and Mr. Qamar Zaman, the Consul General of Pakistan. Members of the NSW Parliament, such as Mr. Mark Hodges (MP for Castle Hill) and Ms. Julia Dorothy Finn (MP for Granville), were also present. The Mayors for Hills Shire, Dr. Peter Gangemi, Hornsby Shire, Mr. Phillip Ruddock, added to the event’s prestige. Other distinguished guests included Mr. Ali Sevim, the Consul General for Türkiye, Mr. Atif Al Othri, the Commercial Attache from Saudi Arabia.
In his welcoming address, Mr. Muhammed Asif shed light on the Chamber’s activities. He underscored the Chamber’s efforts to stimulate economic growth and collaboration between Australia and Pakistan. The Chamber has inked MOUs with various trade organizations in Pakistan and overseas, and its members have made significant contributions to Pakistan’s development through investments in construction projects, major developments, and dairy farms. The robust trade relationship between Australia and Pakistan was highlighted, with Pakistan importing approximately $1 billion worth of goods from Australia and exporting around $500 million worth of goods to Australia annually. The President also announced that OZ Developers are investing about $340 million in Pakistan to build commercial/residential buildings in Lahore, including Lahore Sky, which will be the tallest building in Punjab. In addition to these business-related activities, Mr. Muhammed Asif also mentioned that the Chamber has been actively involved in humanitarian efforts, raising approximately $50,000 for flood-affected areas in Pakistan.
Other prominent invitees also delivered speeches at the function. Mr. Zahid Hafeez, the High Commissioner of Pakistan, stated that the relationship between Pakistan and Australia runs much deeper than just cricket and is characterized by a long-standing and multifaceted partnership. He noted that following Pakistan’s independence and partition from India in 1947, Australia was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations, opening a resident mission in Pakistan in 1948. This early engagement set the tone for decades of cooperation across various domains. The bilateral ties have been strengthened by significant people-to-people links, with a vibrant Pakistani community in Australia contributing to various sectors including academia, culture, commerce, and sports.
The High Commissioner of Pakistan cut the ribbon and inaugurated SUNDAS FOUNDATION charity chapter in Australia. This charity works for the thalassemia kid patients in Pakistan whose blood is transfused every fortnight. The mothers used to bring their children in big cities for blood change. The new mobile vans have been purchased and these vans go to the effected patients at their home to replace kids blood. It is a very expensive exercise and involves lot of money to treat these patients. Now mothers don’t have to go to Lahore or any other city and treatment is provided at their door step.
In terms of education, Australia has become a popular destination for Pakistani students, with initiatives like the Australia Awards program offering scholarships to support sustainable development in Pakistan. Both nations share membership in the Commonwealth, have bicameral legislatures, and enjoy a common law tradition, further cementing their connection.
Mr. Qamar Zaman, Consul General of Pakistan, highlighted the economic aspect of the relationship and stated that the trade relationship has seen growth in recent years, with two-way trade in goods and services reaching nearly $2.5 billion in 2022. Australian exports to Pakistan include pulses, oilseed, coal, and fertilizer, while imports feature textiles and clothing. Despite the cessation of Australia’s bilateral development cooperation program with Pakistan in 2019-20, Australia continues to support Pakistan through regional and global programs, focusing on gender equality, agriculture, water security, and humanitarian aid.
The countries have also collaborated on security, with defense and law enforcement training being key areas of engagement. The shared interests and challenges in the region have led to joint efforts in addressing issues such as the refugee crisis and natural disasters. The historical camaraderie, underpinned by mutual respect and shared interests, has allowed Pakistan and Australia to maintain a robust and dynamic relationship, contributing positively to regional stability and prosperity.
A standout moment of the evening was undoubtedly the awards ceremony, a special event designed to honor the remarkable contributions made by residents of Pakistani origin in various sectors. Mr. Yasin Bin Salman was lauded for his substantial contributions to the realm of Real Estate Development, his work having a significant impact on the industry. Mr. Namir Mirza, another distinguished individual, was celebrated for his tireless efforts in promoting Pakistani Cuisine and Culture in Sydney, helping to spread the rich and diverse culinary and cultural heritage of Pakistan in Australia. Mr. Hasan Gencturk, who hails from Türkiye, was recognized for his commendable work in nurturing the development of trade relations between Pakistan and Türkiye, thereby strengthening the economic ties between the two nations.
Mr Muhammad Asif also presented ceremonial shield to the High Commissioner of Pakistan for his support and dedication to fostering bilateral ties between the business community of the two countries.These awards not only served to acknowledge the dedication, hard work, and innovative spirit of these individuals, but also acted as a source of inspiration for others to contribute to this crucial international relationship, further fostering mutual growth and understanding.
Following the awards ceremony, another memorable moment of the evening was the delectable dinner, meticulously organized by the President of the Chamber. This gastronomic delight featured an array of renowned Pakistani dishes, each one a testament to the rich culinary heritage of Pakistan. The guests were treated to the aromatic and flavorful Biryani, a dish that is a symphony of fragrant rice and succulent meat. The Kadai Chicken, a spicy and hearty dish cooked in a traditional ‘Kadia’ or wok, was a hit among the guests. The Palak Paneer, a creamy and nutritious dish made from spinach and paneer (cottage cheese), added a vegetarian touch to the spread. The Dal Makhani, a slow-cooked lentil dish enriched with butter and cream, was a comforting and satisfying treat. To top it all off, a selection of desserts was served, providing a sweet ending to the meal. This lavish spread not only satiated the guests’ appetites but also gave them a taste of the diverse and delicious Pakistani cuisine.
The event was more than just a celebration; it was a reminder of the importance of international trade in today’s globalized economy. With substantial growth in trade between Australia and Pakistan, both nations are reaping the benefits of an exchange of goods and services that support their economies.
The gala provided an opportunity for networking and business development, highlighting the strong cultural and economic ties that exist between Australia and Pakistan. It was indeed a night to remember, promising to pave the way for a brighter, more collaborative future between the two nations. This event truly strengthened the trade ties between Australia and Pakistan.
In conclusion, the Annual 2024 Gala Dinner by the Australia Pakistan Chamber of Trade, Commerce & Industry was a resounding success, highlighting the chamber’s dedication to promoting economic growth, fostering collaboration, and nurturing strong ties between Australia and Pakistan. The event encapsulated the essence of partnership, community engagement, and cultural exchange, setting a positive tone for future endeavors and collaborations between the two nations.

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