Pakistan – Russia Friendship. Commemorative Postage Stamp June 10, 2011:- Diplomatic relations between Pakistan and USSR were established on May 1, 1948 through the agreement concluded in New York by Sir Zafrulla Khan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, and Andrei A. Gromykok, the First Deputy Foreign Minister of USSR, and succeeded by a consequent exchange of the relevant notes. Shortly the Embassies of the USSR and Pakistan commenced their functioning.
At the end of 1948, the first trade delegation from USSR visited Pakistan. In November of 1949 representatives of the Union of Soviet Writers came to Lahore. During the first years after establishment of diplomatic relations, trade between the USSR and Pakistan was carried on under single contracts. It was a genuine breakthrough when the parties signed the first intergovernmental trade agreement in 1956, granting most favoured nation treatment to each other.
Presidents of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan visited Moscow: Mohammad Ayub Khan – twice, in 1965 and 1967 and Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan in 1970. In 1968 and 1969 Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers Alxey N. Kosygin visited Islamabad. In the course of the visits, a number of important agreements were signed paving the way for further progressive development of trade and economic ties. Agreements in Search and Prospecting the Oil signed in 1961 and on Economic and technical Assistance to Pakistan in the Construction of a Steel Mill (1971) are to be mentioned among them.
The USSR played a pivotal role in the settlement of the armed conflict of 1965 between Pakistan and India. Both parties were offered USSR’s good offices with signing of the famous Tashkent Declaration in January 1966 crowning mediatory role of USSR (Alexey N. Kosygin, Mohammad Ayub Khan and the Prime Minister of India Lal Bahadur Shastri took part in the ceremony). That document laid the corner stone for normalization of relations between the two largest countries of South Asia and set good example of the settlement of complex interstate disputes.
Pakistani leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto visited Moscow twice – firstly, as the President in 1972 and secondly, as the Prime Minister in 1974. Exchange of delegations rose visibly, legal and contractual foundation expanded. The volume of Soviet – Pakistani trade almost tripled in 1970 – 1979. Cooperation with Pakistan in the economic sphere, limited to the USSR assistance in geological prospecting of oil and gas fields till the end of 1960s, were diversified and considerably increased in 1970s. It was with the assistance of USSR that the construction of a steel mill, now the flagship of the industry of Pakistan, began in Karachi in 1973. In the second half of the 1970s Soviet specialists constructed the biggest, at that time, Guddu Thermal Power Station, which was put into operation in 1980. By 1976 a medium – wave broadcasting radio station had been erected in the vicinities of Islamabad with the USSR assistance. The USSR continued to assist in searching oil, gas and other natural resources in the Pakistan’s territory. It is worth mentioning that nowadays there are quite a number of oil and gas fields under operation discovered by Soviet Geologists.
It was an auspicious trend that bilateral trade between Russia and Pakistan has been significantly growing for recent years. Its volume amounted to 92 million US $ in 2003; it was 411,4 million in 2006; 630 million in 2008 and over 400 million in 2009. Nowadays the volume of bilateral trade between both the countries has increased by 700 million dollars.
Russia attaches great importance to its relations with Pakistan, particularly taking into account the latter’s influence in South and South – West Asia, which directly border southern frontiers of the CIS, and in the Muslim World, particularly its significant role in the war against international terrorism. Both countries have been effectively and constructively cooperating within the UN and other international organizations. Mutual support granted to each other when the issues of accepting Russia and Pakistan as observers to the OIC and SCO were under consideration was an illustrative demonstration of the closer relations.
Presently, our cooperation within those organizations is gaining momentum. It is a matter of deep satisfaction that the stands of Russia and Pakistan on a wide range of international problems including issues of peaceful crises settlement, formation of the multi-polar world order, strengthening of the central role of the UN and consolidation of the international law principles in relations between states are similar.
The first bilateral Agreement on Cultural and Scientific Cooperation signed in 1965 became a notable landmark. Contacts between public and scientists of the USSR with Pakistan were found revitalized. In the midst of 1960s, Societies for Friendship and Cultural Relations between the peoples of the two countries were established. The Pakistani Society was headed by the outstanding poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Laureate of the International Lenin Prize for Strengthening Peace among Peoples. Representatives of academic and creative circles’ intelligentsia of both countries formed a core of those organizations. Scholars of the Pakistani Studies’ Sector of the Institute of Oriental Studies under the USSR Academy of Sciences established in 1964 also vigorously participated in the activities of the Soviet Society.
In year 2011, Russian Federation is celebrating 50 years of sending first Russian astronaut in space. First time in the history of Pakistan, 50 Years of Russia in Space Stamp Exhibition was organized at Friendship House by Consul General of the Russian Federation in Karachi where collection of M. Arif Balgamwala T.I.was exhibited.
In year 2011, after several years, President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari visited Russia to meet his counterpart. Pakistan attaches great importance to the President’s visit and envisioned to cement ties and open new horizon of economic cooperation.
To commemorate Pakistan – Russia Friendship, Pakistan Post is issuing a Commemorative Postage Stamp of Rs. 8/- denomination on June 10, 2011.