The Embassy of Pakistan in the Netherlands organized the Pakistani Mango Festival in the Hague this week to celebrate 75 years of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and the Netherlands. The event was widely attended by Ambassadors, members of the diplomatic community, Dutch officials, and members of the Dutch and Pakistani business communities. Ambassador Karin Mossenlechener, Director of the Asia and Oceania Department at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was a special guest from the Dutch side.
Ambassador Suljuk Mustansar Tarar welcomed the guests and highlighted 75 years of dynamic Pakistan-the Netherlands bilateral relations, which cover politics, trade, education, water management, capacity development and many other facets. Ambassador Tarar elaborated on the economic and trade content of the relations, saying that bilateral trade between the two countries increased in the last few years to more than US$ 2 billion. The Dutch companies are among the key investors in Pakistan. Over a long period, the Dutch businesses and market have long-held confidence in the Pakistani market, manufacturers and exporters.
He said that in the recently held Textile Exhibition (Texpo-23) in Karachi, more than 40 Dutch companies participated. In the forthcoming First International FoodAg to be held from 10-12 Aug 2023 in Karachi, more than 30 Dutch companies have expressed an interest to attend.
Highlighting the uniqueness of Pakistani mangoes, Ambassador Tarar said that Pakistan is the 6th largest producer and the fourth largest exporter of mangoes in the world, which are exported across the world, and the Netherlands is an important growing market.
Ambassador Suljuk informed that Pakistani experts, through extensive Research & Development (R&D), have succeeded in making many improvements in the traditional Chaunsa and developed its commercial sub-types such as Safaid Chaunsa, Azeem Chaunsa, black Chaunsa and late Chaunsa etc.
As the guests were also served Pakistani Biryani made from Pakistani Basmati rice, the Ambassador informed the audience that Pakistan is the top supplier of Basmati rice to the EU and the Netherlands as well.
Ambassador Karin Mossenlechener, Director of the Asia and Oceania Department, represented the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In her remarks, Ambassador Karin mentioned that bilateral relations have been consistently progressing in all areas. She remarked that both sides have organised different activities to celebrate the landmark year. She elaborated through the history of bilateral relations on how the two countries stood with each other in times of natural disasters. She mentioned that in 1953 when the Netherlands faced floods, Pakistanis raised funds. She briefly informed me about the cooperation extended by the Netherlands for flood management by sending Dutch experts to Pakistan. Subsequently, when Pakistan was faced with floods, the Dutch extended help, including last year's floods in Pakistan, where the Dutch are helping in planning for better water management in Pakistan.
Highlighting the importance of people-to-people contact, Ambassador Karin Mossenlechener appreciated the leveraging of Pakistani arts and culture by the Pakistan Embassy.
Ambassador Suljuk Mustansar Tarar presented a shield with a logo of 75 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries to Ambassador Karin Mossenlechner. It may be noted that the joint logo was inaugurated earlier this year by the Foreign Secretaries of both countries during the annual Bilateral Political Consultations between Pakistan and the Netherlands. The logo designed by Pakistani designer Aarish Sardar shows Tulip and Jasmine - the national flowers of the two countries.
Among others, Ambassadors of China, Japan, South Africa, Nigeria, Thailand, Greece, Romania, Malaysia, Kuwait, Uruguay, Dominica, Oman, New Zeeland, Surinam, Bosnia, Costa Rica, Cameroon, Panama, Bangladesh, Dutch Special Envoy on Agriculture, and the retired diplomats participated in the event.
The guests were served fresh Chaunsa mangoes, delicacies made of Pakistani mangos and Pakistani Basmati Rice biryani. The participants were effusive in their appreciation of the taste, aroma and quality of Pakistani mangoes and cuisine.
The event was organized with the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, which had provided mangoes for the occasion and support of the Netherlands-based leading Diplomat magazine.