Pakistan-Tunisia Bilateral Relations

Pakistan and Tunisia are bound by strong ties of friendship and Islamic brotherhood, manifested time and again in our common perceptions and cooperation on various international and regional issues of mutual concern. They have also supported each other at major international fora. Pakistan and Tunisia established diplomatic ties in 1957 and Pakistan set up its first diplomatic mission in Tunis on 25th March 1958 at the level of C d’A. It was eventually upgraded to Ambassadorial status in 1964. Tunisia reciprocated in 1980 by establishing its Embassy in Islamabad.

Pakistan passionately supported Tunisia during its struggle for independence at the United Nations. Between 1948 and 1954, Pakistan’s first Foreign Minister, Sir Zafarullah Khan, represented Pakistan at the United Nations Security Council where he vociferously advocated for Tunisian freedom from colonial rule.

Bilateral High Level Visits

 

The list of bilateral exchanges over the last 28 years is given below:

 

From Pakistan Side:

 

  • Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in May 1990.

  • Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in February 1991.

  • Former President General Pervez Musharraf in July 2003.

  • Former Minister of State of Foreign Affairs visited Tunisia in May 2010 to Co-chair 7th Session of the Joint Commission.

  • Minister of State for Health, Saira Afzal Tarar to attend the 61st Session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean from 18-23 October 2014 in Tunis.

  • Provincial Minister for Environment Protection of Punjab in July 2017.

  • Former Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif in February 2018.

 

From Tunisian Side:

 

  • The Tunisian Deputy Foreign Minister attended the OIC Summit’s Extraordinary Session in Islamabad in March 1997.

  • Tunisian Foreign Minister visited Islamabad in January 2001.

  • The Tunisian Secretary of State (MOS) on Foreign Affairs led his country’s delegation to the 8th JMC session held in Islamabad in September 2012.

 

Joint Ministerial Commission

 

                An Agreement on Economic, Trade and Technical Cooperation was signed between the two countries in February 1982. In pursuance to this Agreement, a Joint Ministerial Commission was established for further promoting and developing bilateral cooperation in various fields. Nine Sessions of Joint Commission have been held so far. The details of the JMCs sessions and the Agreements/MoUs signed between both the countries are given as under:

 

  1. Joint Commission Sessions

 

  • 1st Session of the Pakistan-Tunisia Joint Commission for Economic, Trade and Technical Cooperation was held in Islamabad on 10th -14th February 1982.

  • 2nd Session was held in Tunis from 27th February to 2nd March 1990.

 

  • 3rd Session was held in Tunis from 15-17 June 1992.

 

  • 4th Session was held in Islamabad from 17-18 April 1996.

 

  • 5th Session was held in Tunis from 30th September to 2nd October 2002.

 

  • 6th Session was held in Islamabad from 3-4 September 2007.

 

  • 7th Session with First Session of Bilateral Political Consultations was held in Tunis from 4-5 May 2010.

 

  • 8th Session with Second Session of Bilateral Political Consultations was held in Islamabad from 19-20 September 2012.

 

  • 9th Session with Second Session of Bilateral Political Consultations was held in Tunis from  on 14-15 February 2018.

 

Bilateral Trade

 

The volume of bilateral trade, though traditionally in favour of Pakistan, stands at US$ 30 million. It is much below the existing potential. The two countries have initiated a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) during the 9th JMC which could substantially boost our bilateral trade. Pakistan’s exports to Tunisia are especially based on rice, synthetic & cotton fabrics, chemical elements & compounds, cotton yarn & waste, leather, surgical instruments, made up articles (textile mats) and machinery (all sorts) & its parts. On the other hand, Pakistan mainly imports used apparel and phosphates from Tunisia.

 

Defence/ Security Collaboration

 

Pakistan Navy Ship (PNS) ASLAT, undertook a Port Call visit to Tunisia from 16th – 19th August 2018. Commander Muhammad Faisal Abbasi was the Mission Commander. The Embassy of Pakistan provided all the facilities to make the Port Call visit successful. The Ambassador alongwith the Mission Commander hosted a dinner reception on board on 17th August, 2018. The reception was attended by a large number of Tunisian civil and military officials, members of the diplomatic core, Defence Attache’s and members of Pakistani Community in Tunisia. The ship left Tunis Port on 19th August 2018 for Jeddah.

 

Education/ Scholarship

 

Pakistan offers technical courses as well as higher education opportunities under the auspices of the Pakistan Technical Assistance Program (PTAP). Two MoUs in education have been concluded between the International Islamic University and Tunisia’s Ezzitouna University (2012) and COMSATS and University of Tunis Al-Manar (2015).

 

Culture

 

82.  Tunisia is a centre of cultural activities while festivals are organized primarily during the holiday season and also in Ramadan. Local authorities invite musical troupes from other countries including qawals from Pakistan. Pakistan Embassy arranged a Qawali eveing at Tunis on 17th August, 2017 to celebrate 70th Independence Day. The Pakistani performers from Fareed Ayaz Group earned standing ovation from the crowd at the prestigious performing hall in the downtown.

 

The Mission arranged a Folk Music and Dance Festival on 12th May 2018 to commemorate the 60 years of establishment of the diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Tunisia. Famous folk artists from Tunisia and Pakistan took part in that outdoor event which was opened to the public at Habib Bourguba Avenue, Tunis. At the opening ceremony, Mr. Sabri Bechtobji, Secretary State to the Minister of Foreign Affairs attended the event as Chief Guest. Mr. Mohammad Zain el Abidin, Minister of Culture and the Ambassador of China to Tunisia were among the prominent personalities.

 

As a part of the series of cultural activities being arranged during 2018 to commemorate the 60 years of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between both the countries, the Embassy of Pakistan introduced Pakistani mango in Tunisia with “Tasting Events” as well as Pakistan Music Event on 21st July 2018. It happened at Corniche Lac 1 and was attended by large number of people.

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