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Australia and Pakistan have a longstanding and warm friendship: Australian Parliamentary Secretary

Islamabad, November 06, 2013 (PPI-OT): The first official meetings between the new Australian and Pakistani Governments took place this week in Islamabad with the visit to Pakistan of Senator the Hon Brett Mason, Australia’s Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Senator Mason said he was delighted that one of his first overseas visits as Parliamentary Secretary is to Pakistan.

“Australia and Pakistan have a longstanding and warm friendship. I am here on behalf of Australia’s Foreign Minister, Ms Julie Bishop, to say that we want this to continue.

“Australia and Pakistan’s relationship extends to cooperation in development, defence, and counter-terrorism issues. Bilateral trade is over AU$800 million annually. Our people to people links are strong and growing, particularly with many Pakistani students choosing to study in Australia. This provides a good basis for strengthening our relationship into the future.”

Senator Mason met with the Prime Minister’s Special Assistant (Foreign Policy), Ambassador Syed Tariq Fatemi; the Prime Minister’s Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Mr Sartaj Aziz; and the Foreign Secretary, Mr Jalil Jilani.

Senator Mason also took the opportunity to visit school-based and home-based early childhood initiatives supported by the Australian Aid Program in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

“I am delighted to see Australia’s investment making a real difference to Pakistan’s future generations.

“Giving all children, particularly girls, the best start in life is important for any country to realise its potential and we are proud to be working with Pakistan towards this goal. International research shows that providing a quality learning experience to the very young continues to pay dividends throughout life. I commend the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for making early childhood education a key plank of its policy.”

For more information, contact:
Faizan Haq
Media enquiries
Australian High Commission
Constitution Ave and Isphani Rd,
Diplomatic Enclave No. 1, Sector G-5/4, Islamabad
Tel: +9251 835 5500, 051 8355346, 051 8355422
Fax: +9251 282 0112
Cell: 03008547816

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