Peshawar: Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan (AWKUM)made a diplomatic scoop by inviting Russian Ambassador to Pakistan for a first ever lecture in the Province. Ambassador Mr. Alexy Dedov spoke about ‘Pakistan-Russia Relations New Prospects and Challenges’ at the spectacular event where faculty and students actively participated putting question on various aspects of the relations.
It was the first visit of a Russian Ambassador to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in many decades. After 40-year of hostility during the Cold War where Pakistan was in the anti-Soviet Union camp and had been instrumental in the Soviet pullout from Afghanistan in 1980’s, relations between the old rivals are improving.
Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Ihsan Ali received the honourable guest. The visited was organized by veteran journalist Shiraz Paracha who is now Chairman of Journalism & Mass Communication Department at Abdul Wali Khan University.
Besides hundreds of students, dozens of professionals, who had graduated from Soviet Universities, came to Mardan to greet the Ambassador from towns and cities across the Province.
Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Ihsan Ali in his welcome informed the ambassador about the rapid growth of Abdul Wali Khan University. Dr. Ali made an interesting remark when he said: “Your Excellency we don’t need money, we don’t ask for any material support, we want academic cooperation and sharing of knowledge and expertise”.
Mr. Dedov in his speech told the participants that his country has always seen Pakistan as an important member of the international community and a key player in the world politics. Pakistan is a culturally rich country and is very important because of its geostrategic location. He said his country is looking into collaboration with Pakistan in various sectors, such as economics, trade, energy, textile, architecture, sports, culture and is looking for new avenues to further strengthen the bilateral relations.
Speaking about Pakistan role in fighting terrorism, Mr. Dedov said that unlike some other countries Russia does not see Pakistan as a part of the problem but a key player for its solution i.e. “ in eradicating the menace of terrorism from the glob”, said Mr. Dedov.
“Terrorism is a complex issue and must be fought at many levels”. He said that Russia is positive role in the seeking of solutions to the issue of terrorism. He said that terrorism was not an issue of a single nationality; rather an international phenomenon in which people of many states and nationalities are involved.
Ambassador Dedov recognized Pakistan’s role in bringing peace and stability in the region and said that Russia fully supports Pakistan’s bid to become the full member of the Shanghai Corporation Organization (SCO).
He said the trade between Pakistan and Russia would increase once some pending debt issues are resolved. He said Pakistan can export many things to Russia. He also said that defence cooperation between Russia and Pakistan is also increasing.
“The Russian people are aware of the Pakistan’s rich culture and literature and the work of Faiz Ahmad Faiz, a renowned poet has already been translated into Russian language. The Russian people also know about the great poet Allama Mohammad Iqbal and Pakistan’s founder Mr. Mohammad Ali Jinnah” he added.
The ambassador gave a detailed lecture on Russian’s foreign policy and talked about the contemporary world issues, such as Syria and Afghanistan. He said that his country was striving hard for the peaceful settlements of disputes in Middle East and Afghanistan. The Ambassador said that Russia and Pakistan share same approach and interest on many issues of global importance.
Journalism Department Chairman Shiraz Paracha said that the Russian President Vladimir Putin is hero for the people of Russia. He said that one should not believe in mainstream Western media anti-Putin propaganda. “To the people of Russia President Putin is Peter the Great of the present day”, said Mr. Paracha.
The ambassador also answered the questions of participants. Responding to a question about the economic corridor, he said that he has known through media that there is a dispute going on between KP and the central government over the route, but he hoped both will reach a consensus. Answering a question of a participant about Pak India Relations, the ambassador said that his government welcomes the dialogue process and initiatives taken by both countries for peace and stability.
A session of Pakistani graduates from Russia was also held after the lecture in the meeting room of central library where the participants had a detailed discussion with His excellence Mr. Alexy Dedov. They informed the ambassador that his government should offer more scholarships to Pakistani students and provide more opportunities of cultural exchange. The ambassador thanked the organizers and the university administration for organizing such an important event.