Dr. Maen KHREASAT: Jordan’s relationship with Pakistan is historic and strong

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Interview of Dr. Maen KHREASAT Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to Pakistan

Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

Your Excellency! On behalf of “Centerline Magazine”, “Islamabad Post” newspaper and “Diplomatic News Agency” I wish to welcome you as the new Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Pakistan, and also to appreciate your efforts for enhancing the bilateral relations between Pakistan and Jordan. I am also thankful to you for giving us time out of your busy schedule.

1:      Let us first start with your personal impressions about Pakistan as this is your second posting, now as an Ambassador in Pakistan?

Good morning Mr. Bhatti and welcome to the Embassy as an old and dear friend. I wish to thank you and “Centerline Magazine” for giving me this opportunity to highlight few important points concerning my previous experience in Pakistan and the bilateral relationship between Jordan and Pakistan.

It is both a pleasure and an honor to serve my country in a very dear brotherly and friendly country. Jordan’s relationship with Pakistan is historic and strong. I am a career diplomat where I served in many capitals before including Ottawa, Tokyo, Brussel, Tunis and last in Islamabad. As this is my first Ambassadorial mission abroad, I feel privileged to be here again. From day one, I was welcomed and extended all the courtesies and high attention by the esteemed Government of Pakistan to make my mission a successful one. On a personal level, the warmth and hospitality of the Pakistani people is quite amazing and beyond description.

Pakistan is a beautiful, rich and important country in South Asia and the Muslim world. It has undoubtedly played, and still playing, a pivotal role in the world affairs and has always been a voice for peace and stability. My previous experience in Islamabad, both official and personal, enabled me to advance my career and enjoy what this brotherly country has to offer, and it is a great honor for me to be back as the Ambassador of Jordan in Islamabad.

In God’s well, I intended to carry out my duties to enhance the economic and trade bilateral exchange up to a higher level to match the highly strong political and military cooperation.

2:      How would you describe the bilateral relations between Pakistan and Jordan especially in the fields of trade, economy and culture? Tourism is yet another area where both countries can boost cooperation. Please share your vision as to how engagement in this particular sector can be intensified?

I will work with my Embassy team on two levels. The first is to present higher visibility of Jordan in Pakistan by taking part in conferences, exchange with think tanks, public cultural events, and reinforce the ties between cultural bodies and Universities. Secondly, by building a cultural human bridge throughout higher education exchange and encouraging Jordanian students to study in Pakistani Universities and visa versa. I am a strong believer of People-to-People relationship which further strengthens the official and business bilateral ties.

On the trade and investment front, I find that we need to do more to bring together our business community and Chambers of Commerce & Industry. Both economies provide for genuine business opportunities. For example, Jordan is a leading world exporter of Phosphate fertilizers and Potash. We can add to this the unique Dead Sea products in cosmetics. Jordan also is a leading Middle East manufacturer and exporter of pharmaceuticals. I encourage Pakistani business community to visit Jordan and experience the suitable business climate, especially that Jordan has Free Trade Agreements with leading economies in the world to enable Jordanian exports to penetrate smoothly into these huge markets. I estimate that the exchange of business delegations will tremendously help to explore the opportunities and form closer ties between the business community on both sides. For Pakistan, there is an enormous potential in agriculture and food industries, cattle and livestock, leather and leather manufactured products, military hardware, and IT sector.

Tourism also is a main attraction to visit Jordan and explore the ancient history of the country and visiting the wonders of Jordan in Petra the red-rose city, the Dead Sea unique environment, Prophets and Maqamat Essahabah the Companions of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). In addition, Health Tourism is considered yet another attraction to visit the country and benefit from the state-of- the art medical services provided for by the private sector.

3: Both countries have also been engaged in political consultations with a view to further strengthening and deepening brotherly ties. If you can share some details, please?

We have an established mechanism for political consultations between our Foreign Ministries, where we conducted the first meeting on the level of Foreign Secretaries in Islamabad in 2016. We are looking forward for the 2nd meeting to take place in Amman during 2024.

On a higher level, our communications and discussion continue regularly between our Leadership on important matter, and on the level of Foreign Ministers, Jordan and Pakistan coordinate bilaterally and in multilateral forums especially in the United Nations.

Another important mechanism and milestone is anticipated in 2024, namely, the 10th Joint Ministerial Commission JMC in Islamabad. The convening of this important meeting with serve as a platform to review our trade and bilateral relations and serves as a catalyst to strengthen this cooperation including signing new agreements and MoUs to enhance the already important and cordial bilateral relations.

On the Military cooperation field, this is considered to be the Gewl of our partnership. The Joint military committee convenes annually to review and advance this important cooperation and set up for future collaboration. In addition to the training and officers’ courses, and joint and multilateral military exercises with friendly countries, we regularly exchange High Level visit between the two Armies and Forces. Having no doubt, since independence Jordan and Pakistan have shown steadfast commitment to each other’s security and mutual support and solidarity in critical moments. This is the Pride of our relationship.

4: Your Excellency! Jordan has been repeatedly referred to as an “Oasis of Stability” in a turbulent region. It has been mostly unharmed by the violence that swept the region. Which factors you think keeps the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan away from these kinds of violence?  

To name a few we can mention:

  • The Moderation of the Hashemite Leadership (Al Albayt), where HM King Abdullah Ibn Al Hussein is the 41st decedent of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). The leadership exemplifies moderate Islam in its best ways and stands steadfast against fanaticism and radicalization. HM King Abdullah is the Custodian of the Holy sites in Jerusalem (both Muslim and Christian)
  • Jordan has always called for a just, permanent and comprehensive settlement of the Palestinian Problem that leads to self-determination for the Palestinian people and the establishment of an independent, viable and contiguous Palestinian State with east Jerusalem as its capital. In addition, Jordan has played a pivotal role in the Middle East Peace Process to achieve the goal of statehood to the Palestinians and is the first host of Palestinian refugees community outside Palestine.
  • Tolerance, harmony and peaceful co-existence between the different ethnic and religious components of the Jordanian society has significantly supported the unity of the people.

5: What is the role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to maintain peace in the region because if stability occurred in the Middle East region then Jordan would be the one of the directly beneficiary country in the region?

  • As discussed earlier, Jordan is playing an important role to stabilize the region and to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people and other innocent victims of conflicts.
  • On the political level, the steadfastness of the Jordanian leadership towards peace is unequivocal. This commitment stems from the conviction that only a just and lasting peace based on international legitimacy would bring stability and prosperity to all peoples of the region, and Jordan is committed to support a negotiated peace settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

I wish to thank you again, dear Mr. Bhatti, for this opportunity and for visiting the Embassy, and looking forward to maintain this friendship for the benefit of our two Nations.