“The visit of the Deputy Speaker New York State Assembly Mr. Phil Ramos to Pakistan has paved the way for the establishment of sister-state relations with New York City," Pakistan’s Ambassador to Washington D.C. Mr. Masood Khan said while speaking to the delegation of American Pakistani Public Affairs Committee (APPAC) that recently concluded its visit to Lahore, Islamabad, and Karachi.
Encouraged by APPAC Chairman Dr. Ijaz Ahmad, Ramos first met Allama Muhammad Iqbal's grandson Senator Walid Iqbal who highlighted the significance of free and fair elections and the necessity for true democracy to flourish in Pakistan.
Invited by Zafar Mahmood, a leading exporter and Senior Vice President of LCCI, Phil later addressed the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
In his address to the business community, Ramos vowed to establish pathways for Pakistan in New York. He asserted that through collaborative efforts, small and medium industries could cater to the needs of the Empire State's trades.
Phil also dedicated time to explore the city of Lahore taking in the city’s rich history and gaining a glimpse into the everyday life of Lahoris. He was greatly impressed by the architecture of historic houses and the Wazir Khan mosque and also enjoyed a rickshaw ride accompanied by Kamran Lashari, the Director of the Walled City of Lahore.
Later in the evening, Dr. Gohar Ejaz, the federal minister of commerce and industries and a prominent industrialist, hosted Ramos in the company of a distinguished group of high-profile industrialists so that Ramos could communicate his vision to those capable of implementing his transformative ideas.
The deputy speaker also embarked on a road journey to Gujranwala, where he delivered an address to a large audience, among whom was the former Minister for Power Khurram Dastagir Khan. There was also a visit to an under-construction 350-bed hospital and a medical college.
Ramos highlighted the critical issue of a nurse shortage in New York and emphasized Pakistan's potential to fill the gap. Appreciating the professionalism of Pakistani American medical practitioners, he acknowledged the increasing number of people from the Western world opting for Pakistan for affordable medical treatment and also outlined measures to boost this trend.
In Islamabad, Ramos met the federal minister of health Dr. Nadeem Jan where he generously committed to delivering free nebulizers to multiple health centers across the region of Punjab. Dr. Jan proposed the establishment of a state-of-the-art trauma center along the motorway, expressing his readiness to allocate land should American Pakistanis express interest in undertaking the construction of such a facility.
Later in the evening, Governor Punjab Muhammad Baligh Ur Rehman greeted the delegation in Punjab House and expressed optimism that fostering this relationship would be mutually beneficial for both nations.
Ramos also engaged in a brief meeting with Murtaza Solangi, the federal minister of information, and Senator Mushahid Hussain where their discussion revolved around strategies to dispel misconceptions about Pakistan in the United States.
Following a prior Zoom meeting, Senator Ishaq Dar also extended an invitation to Phil Ramos to his parliamentary chamber where he underscored the significance of declaring Punjab and Sindh as sister states of New York. Additionally, he outlined plans for providing medical insurance facilities to Pakistani Americans in their homeland, suggesting that State Life Insurance could play a pivotal role in this endeavor.
The deputy speaker proceeded to address the Supreme Court Bar Association in the Supreme Court of Pakistan where he commended the significant contributions of Pakistani American legal professionals, such as Zahid Qureshi, within the United States.
However, Phil's highest-level meeting took place with Former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan Jalil Abbas Jilani who not only lauded the notion of sister states but also underscored the importance of investments in Pakistan.
Both dignitaries delegated their staff members to proceed with further discussions and outline a preliminary framework for the memorandum of understanding.
Next, Phil Ramos engaged with students at the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi and emphasized the paramount significance of entrepreneurial skills. His convoy then headed to the Chief Minister's house where they convened with Justice (R) Maqbool Baqar, select caretaker cabinet members, and Karachi's Mayor Murtaza Wahab.
Later in the day, Phil interacted with leading traders of the city at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce & Industry. During his address, Phil extended invitations for the traders to participate in trade shows in New York, advocated for the establishment of committees and the organization of B2B meetings to enhance bilateral trade and investments, and emphasized the need for a dedicated platform showcasing 'Made in Pakistan' products.
Before his departure for New York, Phil attended a dinner event hosted by Jawad Amin Khan, President of the Pakistan Nursing & Midwifery Council.
Wrapping up his tour, Phil Ramos remarked that the wonderful people of Pakistan had inspired him to come here and bring positive change and also promised to declare Sindh and Punjab as the sister states of New York by January 2024.