Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Training, Engr. Muhammad Baligh ur Rehman was Chief Guest at the celebration of “French Day” in Higher Education Commission (HEC), Islamabad here on Thursday.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister said that Pakistan and France enjoy healthy relations for the past 70 years and it is promising to see both countries collaborating in the field of education. “Through strong academic and industrial linkages between the two countries, Pakistan’s higher education sector and businesses can immensely benefit from the scientific and technological knowledge possessed by French academia and commercial sector”, he said. He emphasized the importance of initiating faculty and student exchange programs and research collaborations for purpose of enhancing mutual understanding and academic excellence.  He said that academic exchanges play a central role in building diplomatic relationships and help nations come closer. “Pakistan intends to have cordial relations with all the countries; we have to collaborate to grow, no nation can grow in isolation”, he said.

He reiterated present government’s commitment towards 4Es: Education, Energy, Economy and (eradication of) Extremism. “We have defeated terrorism on various fronts, our economy has been given the status of emerging market by international agencies, we have a promising GDP growth rate, we have considerably reduced energy deficiency in the country with economical and environment friendly energy mix”, he proclaimed. On education, he said that the recent statistics showed encouraging trends and we are hopeful to achieve the education targets under SDGs by 2030. While stating government’s successes in fight against terrorism and reaffirming its commitment to root out terrorism from the country, he expressed solidarity with the victims of Paris Attack and condemned acts of terrorism perpetrated anywhere in the world. “People of Pakistan could feel the pain of French nation”, he said.

Earlier, French Ambassador H.E. Mrs. Martine Dorance, Ambassador of France to Pakistan said that France and Pakistan enjoy strong and long standing relationship in academic, scientific and economic fields. She said that Information Centers are being set up in major cities of the country for creating awareness among Pakistani students about higher education opportunities in France by Pakistan France Alumni Network (PFAN) with the support of French Embassy. She said that French Embassy will work to strengthen partnership in higher education between the two countries. “We would like to have more and more students from Pakistan to study in France and the French Embassy is eager to facilitate them”, she said.

Vice Chancellors of Universities across the country, delegates of French Universities, officials of French Embassy and members of PFAN attended the event.