Malta–Pakistan relations

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Pakistan-Malta relations
Map indicating locations of Pakistan and Malta

Pakistan

Malta

Malta–Pakistan relations refers to bilateral relations between Malta and Pakistan. Neither country has a resident ambassador. Malta is represented in Pakistan through its embassy in Beijing (China) and an honorary consulate in Karachi. Pakistan is represented in Malta through its embassy in Tripoli (Libya) and an honorary consulate in Marsa. Both countries are full members of the Commonwealth of Nations.

High level meetings[edit]

In 2007, in a meeting in Malta between Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri and Foreign Minister of Malta Michael Frendo, the two countries agreed to "continue the ongoing cooperation between the two countries in the United Nations and other international forums as well and reviewed bilateral ties with a view to strengthening relations between Pakistan and Malta in all spheres, especially trade and investment."[1][2][3] Foreign Minister Kasuri emphasized the need for exchanging trade delegations to exploit true potential for enhancing economic cooperation between the two countries, which are the "gateways" to their respective regions. Dr. Michael Frendo agreed to send an expert delegation to Pakistan to seek opportunities for enhancing bilateral trade relations. Pakistan also sought Malta's support for Pakistan's initiative for equitable market access to the European Union through a Free Trade Agreement or similar mechanism.[4][5]

Following the 2010 Pakistan floods, a dinner was held and patronised by the President of Malta in support of the victims.[6] Speaking on behalf of the Pakistani business community of Malta, a spokesman identified Malta as a gateway to the European Union countries for Pakistani businessmen and Pakistan as a simultaneous gateway for Maltese business interests in Asia. In addition, he described the ties between the two countries as "historical" and viewed the flood support initiative as "a milestone in the history of Pakistan and Malta relations."[6]

Aviation[edit]

The national airline of Malta, Air Malta, was established in the 1970s partly with the help and expertise of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).[7] During the time, the government of Malta had made various attempts to establish a national flag carrier with the possible assistance of an established foreign airline. Accordingly, PIA emerged with the most favourable contract conditions and upon commencement, offered to invest 20% in shares.[8] Through investment, it provided a management team which would eventually run the airline in its early years as well as large numbers of pilots, flight and ground engineers.[8] Two Boeing 720s were also leased from the PIA for a five-year period. In 1973, PIA dispatched a general manager and four other senior managers to Malta, responsible for the airline's marketing, financing, flight and ground operations.[8] A set of Maltese pilots and engineers were sent to Pakistan, where they undertook extensive training.[8] By such time, Air Malta found itself in a conducive position to use local resources and commence operations with full-time Maltese staff. Within an agreed time frame, the Maltese government was able to acquire PIA's 20% stake.

Human trafficking[edit]

In 2002 a Maltese citizen, who was born in Pakistan, was sentenced to seven years in prison in Malta. He was found guilty of kidnapping 11 Pakistani babies that were brought to Malta for adoption.[9]

In 2009, it was reported that a Pakistan-based human trafficking ring has set up a successful business in Malta, where Pakistanis seeking illegal entry into mainland Europe are being furnished with new travel documents and transported on to Italy and Spain. It was reported that sources within the Pakistani Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) said that the illegal migration of Pakistanis to Europe was being carried out through Malta, from where the migrants are being transported by ship to Sicily and onward to countries such as Italy and Spain.[10]

There have been reports of various Pakistanis languishing in Maltese jails. In December 2002, a boat carrying approximately 110 Pakistanis was stopped by the Maltese Army and the illegal passengers were set to jail under the immigration act. Relatives of the jail occupants made pleas to the government of Pakistan to provide help.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Pakistan's Musharraf, Malta minister discuss bilateral ties". Pakistan Television Corporation via BBC Monitoring. June 14, 2007. Retrieved 2011-01-13. "The foreign minister of Malta, Dr Michael Frendo, called on the president, Gen Pervez Musharraf, today. The president expressed satisfaction at the level of bilateral political relations between the two countries and underlined the need to enhance economic and commercial relations through exchange of trade and economic delegations. ..." 
  2. ^ "Pakistan, Malta to Continue Cooperation at International Forums". Pakistan Times. June 14, 2007. Retrieved 2011-01-13. 
  3. ^ "Malta, Pakistan review, strengthen bilateral ties.". Pakistan Press International. June 14, 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  4. ^ "Pakistan ties". Associated Press of Pakistan in Daily Malta. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  5. ^ "Pakistan, Malta agree to continue ongoing cooperation at international forums". Asia Pulse. June 13, 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  6. ^ a b "Solidarity dinner for the Pakistani people". The Malta Independent. 
  7. ^ "Gilani, Malta President hold bilateral meeting". Guluna. September 1, 2009. 
  8. ^ a b c d Captain Robin J. Zammit. "Air Malta: A story of flying colours". ReoCities. 
  9. ^ "Maltese jailed for trafficking Pakistani babies". May 24, 2006. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  10. ^ "Pakistani human traffickers use Malta as staging post for Europe". The Malta Independent. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  11. ^ "Pakistanis in Malta jail seek govt help". Dawn (newspaper). December 20, 2010.