Ambassador of Spain Manuel Duran says Spanish citizens not at all discouraged to travel to Pakistan; it is in the interest of every member of the OIC to see Afghanistan recover and rebuild itself
Ansar M Bhatti
Ambassador of Spain Manuel Duran talked to Daily Islamabad POST regarding the recent visit of Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to Spain. The ambassador talked in detail as to how the visit shall further strengthen bilateral relations. Here is the text of the interview.
1) Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi visited Spain and met with his counterpart besides having important meetings with other dignitaries. How do you see this visit with regard to further strengthening of bilateral relations?
This visit is a turning point in our bilateral relations. I have the feeling that we are now witnessing the most eventful moment since our two countries established diplomatic relations 70 years ago. Our Foreign Minister, Mr Albares, came to Pakistan last September and met with Mr Qureshi, General Bajwa and with the Prime Minister. Qureshi´s visit to Spain has been the natural follow-up to that visit and has been incredibly rich in exchanges. He met with the third authority of our Country, the President of our Parliament, and also with the Minister of Commerce. Apart, naturally of his long encounter with our Foreign Minister. Different agreements and MOU´s will soon be reality thanks to this visit. Our Authorities also insisted on thanking Pakistan for helping Spain in the evacuation of those afghan citizens who had worked for our country for years when we had a presence in Afghanistan
2) FM Qureshi also took up travel advisory issue review for Pakistanis. Do you think Pakistanis may have good news in this regards?
The travel advisory for Pakistan has changed enormously since the days when most European countries warned their citizens against visiting Pakistan on account of the security concerns. Now, most European countries only highlight those areas in Pakistan in which there is a certain level of insecurity, but our citizens are not at all discouraged to travel to Pakistan.
We keep updating these recommendations and every time there is a change, it is always in a positive and constructive sense.
3) The matter of dual citizenship also came under discussion. Recently Norway has allowed Pakistanis to keep both nationalities i.e Pakistani and Norwegian. Can we expect same arrangement with Spain as well?
Mr Albares was very clear when this issue was raised during the press conference that took place after the encounter between the two Ministers. The issue of Double nationality, like all issues connected with Spanish nationality, is contemplated in our Civil Code. A change of legislation is constitutionally complicated. Having said this, the Minister committed himself to creating a Working group in which both Embassies will try to make the lives of the Pakistani community living in Spain easier.
4) Let me avail this opportunity to have your insight about the recently held OIC meeting on Afghanistan. How do you see this event and do you think it can help overcome humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan?
I really hope this important meeting will raise awareness about the vital importance of addressing the Humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. I tend to be optimistic, and in this case, there are reasons for hope, because during the Conference one could feel that everyone was in favour of helping the Afghans stand on their feet again. The end of this terrible Humanitarian crisis is the only way of creating a peaceful environment for the whole region. It is in the interest of every member of the OIC to see Afghanistan recover and rebuild itself.