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PR No. 211 IRFAN SIDDIQUI, ADVISOR TO THE PRIME MINISTER, VISITS SOUTH AFRICA Pretoria

The Advisor to the Prime Minister on National History and Literary Heritage, Mr. Irfan Siddiqui has stated that Pakistan-South Africa bilateral relations are progressing with a steady pace in diverse fields. Mr. Siddiqui, who is presently on an official visit to the Republic of South Africa, held a detailed meeting with the Deputy Foreign Minister Ms. Nomaindiya Mfeketo of South Africa today at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO). DIRCO high officials including Chief Director, Director and others assisted the Deputy Minister while the Advisor was assisted by High Commissioner Najm us Saqib and Deputy High Commissioner.

The Advisor and Deputy Minister reviewed the bilateral relations in different fields and expressed complete satisfaction over the steady pace of increasing cooperation between the friendly countries of Pakistan and South Africa. The Deputy Minster warmly received the Advisor and his delegation and expressed hope to have a meaningful session of the Joint Commission, scheduled to be held in November this year, in Islamabad. Ms. Mfeketo stated that her country greatly valued the warm and cordial relations with Pakistan and fondly remembers Islamabad’s support against the Apartheid regime.

The Advisor conveyed a message of goodwill and friendship to President Zuma from Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif which was warmly reciprocated. Mr. Siddiqui expressed satisfaction over the recently concluded local elections in South Africa and shared views with the Deputy Minister on the smooth democratic process being witnessed in Pakistan and South Africa. The 5th Joint Commission between Pakistan and South Africa, scheduled for later this year, will be held at the raised level of Special Assistant to the Prime Minster/Deputy Foreign Minister.

Earlier on his arrival yesterday at the O.R. Tombo Airport in Johannesburg, Mr. Irfan Siddiqui was warmly received by the High Commissioner of Pakistan, all Officers of the High Commission and a large number of Pakistani community members.Today, Mr. Siddiqui, also visited the Pakistan High Commission, had a tour of various sections of the Mission and recorded his comments on the official visitor’s book. A large number of applicants present in the High Commission were pleasantly surprised to see the Advisor to the Prime Minister amongst them. They expressed satisfaction over the consular assistance extended to the Community especially the issuance of Machine Readable Passports (MRPs). The High Commission of Pakistan in Pretoria is the only Mission in the African Continent, which has the facility of issuing MRPs. Mr. Irfan Siddiqui individually talked to each and every applicant and enquired about their wellbeing in South Africa.

Mr. Irfan Siddiqui is scheduled to meet representatives of over 120,000 Pakistani based in South Africa tomorrow at the High Commission of Pakistan.

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