A Tribute to Ambassador of Poland H.E Mr. Piotr Opaliński

Poland & Pakistan
In the sensitive defense sector soon after Pakistan emerged in the world map in 1947 when Polish combat pilots took part in the defense of Pakistan when it was at war with India in 1947-48 over Kashmir and later in 1965.Polish Air Force pilots and technicians helped Pakistan air force in becoming an efficient and reliable force. The founders of Pakistan Air Force have commended the services of Polish personnel. Their companies were actively engaged in oil and gas exploration in Pakistan. The two countries continue successful cooperation in the area of searching and exploring natural resources, and also plan to boost bilateral trade exchange in other fields, such as, mining, food processing and green energy, including solar and hydropower plants. In addition to that there is a consistent accomodation of political delegations of increasing level, which establishes grounds for positive shift in relations.

H.E MR. Piotr A Opaliński
A patron of the Oriental culture, Arts & literature, history and current affairs H.E Piotr Opaliński stepped in the diplomatic service of Poland and served as charge d ‘affaires in Bangladesh (1991-1997), as the deputy head of mission in Pakistan and Afghanistan (1999-2005) and also in India (2008-2014) and has taken charge as ambassador of Poland in Pakistan since October 2005. Ever since H.E Opaliński has played a major role to strengthen the ties between the two countries in all areas of cooperation, mainly by enhancing political dialogue that is evident from the current exchange of the ministerial and parliamentary delegations and encouraging development in trade relations.

H.E Piotr spends free time enjoying beautiful mornings in Islamabad by having a stroll before work every day. Interestingly he is a huge admirer of Urdu poetry and traditional Pakistani music. He is also found of Mushairas, Ghazal singing and Qawwalis along side listening to fusion music that is a combination of East & West. Ambassador Piotr appreciates the beauty of Pakistan in its diversity, comprising of different climates and landscapes which makes it difficult to pick just one favored place. He likes to travel up North, especially to Hunza Valley and Baltit Fort. He considers Pakistan as his second home, and speaks fondly of the warm love and hospitality he has received here.

Mission And Tasks in Pakistan

H.E Opaliński considers his priority task alongside presenting Pakistan from a real, positive perspective, rarely shown by the mainstream media, by sharing genuine knowledge about Pakistan and people in Poland, and also by enhancing our common historical accomplishments. H.E Opaliński is also hopeful for a settlement of the Kashmir dispute, which spans over 7 decades in South Asia between India and Pakistan. In a recent interview to a Pakistani diplomatic Magazine Mr. Opaliński said that as a member state of the European Union Poland supports the shared EU position on the need of a peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute while going his personal view over the possibility of a peaceful resolution of even longer disputes based on my country’s own experience in reconciliation with former archenemies, in bringing an end to hundreds years of hostilities and building good neighborly relations. Such is the experience of Polish-German reconciliation, after horrific tragedies of the Second World War, in which Germany invaded Poland, both countries lost millions of people, while millions more had to flee from their homes or were forcibly resettled. Our two states can now serve as an example of how to build good relations between peoples, institutions and entire countries, in spite of traumatic moments in history. The Polish-German reconciliation process was initiated not by politicians, but by Polish catholic clergy that played a constructive role in peace making.

Economic co-operation
There is a vast prospect for expansion of trade between Pakistan and Poland. In words of H.E Opaliński, Polish companies have worked in promoting the energy sector. Pakistan is known in exporting high quality surgical and sports goods as well as textiles, leather garments and high quality Basmati rice. Poland also tries to take part in Pakistan’s socio-economic uplift, particularly developing its oil and gas resources. Some Polish companies are engaged in helping Pakistan to develop the coal-mining industry. Moreover, the two countries have also worked together in such sensitive areas as fighting extremism and terrorism. Both the countries have much more to offer to each other in terms of economic cooperation which is of fundamental importance in the international relations overall. Recently, the trade turnover between Poland and Pakistan increased to the level of 400 million EUR yearly, but there is a scope for even more significant growth.

Export & Import

The overwhelmingly large portion of Pakistani export to Poland consists of textiles, worth 237.6 out of total 277.5 mil EUR. The second largest group of exported goods is leather products worth 20.2 million EUR. Polish export to Pakistan is more diversified and the main bulk of goods comprise of electric and mechanical machines (29.6 million EUR), metallurgic products (27.8 million EUR) and mineral products (12 million EUR). In terms of investments, focus is on energy sector. The Polish Oil and Gas Company, operating in Pakistan since 20 years, is now assisting in developing the exploration of gas resources and supplies network in Sindh. Poland has also a vast experience in coal mining and Polish companies are desirous to come to Pakistan. The key to growth in Poland can be attributed to avoidance of unnecessary public spending, opening economy to foreign investors, establishing good financial institution and excellent work ethics of Polish
people. Also in economic cooperation H.E Opaliński has stressed numerous times his goal that is to foster contacts between businesses in order to increase the trade exchange volume. Poland is a market with huge potential, not yet explored by Pakistani business, which tends to focus mainly on the EU Countries. Poland offers an interesting alternative, having less competition and at the same time offering an easy access to the rest of European markets. Investors are invited to locate their projects in 14 Special Economic Zones i.e. special zones where economic activity may be run in favorable conditions. Polish SEZs offer attractive tax exemptions, employment incentives and well-prepared investment lots.

We extend our warm wishes to the honorable Ambassador Piotr Opaliński and hope that the mutual and bilateral relations grow and excel in his tenure and his stay in Pakistan remains a memorable one.

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About Chaudhary Arslan 9 Articles
The writer is Associate Editor of Mélange Intl. Magazine & The Asian Telegraph & degree holder in Communication & Media Studies.