Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Thank You Cuba ( The Friend of Pakistan )

Cuba-Pakistan relations are the bilateral relations between the Cuba and the Pakistan. The relations between the two countries strengthened after Cuba provided humanitarian assistance to the victims of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake. Both the nations continue to strengthen the bilateral relations especially in the fields of higher education, agriculture, industry and science and technology and have also held talks for military cooperation.

Cuban response to the Kashmir earthquake in 2005

After the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, Cuba had sent over 2,400 physicians and paramedical staff and established 32 field hospitals and two relief camps in the Khyber Pakhtoon Khua and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. In addition, tons of medical equipment and medicines were sent by the Revolutionary Government of Cuba. Approximately 30 amputee patients were flown to Cuba for treatments. Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf expressed his contentment at the efforts of Fidel Castro and appreciated the services of the Cuban medical teams Dr. Juan Carlos Martín, Director of the Cuban field hospital in Muzaffarabad, said "We knew this had to be a closed-loop relief effort. Not only did we have to bring the medicines and the doctors, we had to provide everything – the hospital, the electricity, the plumbing, the beds – to run that hospital". From October, 2005 to January 24, 2006, Cuban medical teams performed 601,369 consultations, 5,925 surgeries including 2,819 major surgeries and served at 44 different locations in the quake affected region.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that "President Pervez Musharraf expressed profound gratitude of the government and people of Pakistan for the substantial assistance provided by Cuba in the relief and rehabilitation work". The statement also stated that "the President said that Cuba's contribution to our relief efforts would always be remembered by the people of Pakistan".

Mr Usman Zaheer Meer established a friendship Association with Cuban in 2006 namely Pak Cuba Friendship Association

Education Relations

In 2005 and 2006, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) sent 354 students to Cuba to study Medicine and Surgery on scholarship, which was offered by the Government of Cuba. Dr S.M. Raza of the HEC said that Cuba had provided Pakistan with 1,000 scholarships and the health care system in Cuba is better than in the United States.Cuban Ambassador Gustavo Machin Gomez said Pakistani students will receive the best medical education recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and will have complete religious and cultural freedom. He also pointed to the fact that it was for the first time that Muslim students will receive education in Cuba. Dr Mukhtar Ahmed of the HEC expressed gratitude to Cuba for offering these scholarships.

Both the countries have elaborated plans to improve the cooperation in higher education, especially in the field of biotechnology, which will include exchange of scientists, joint research programmes and collaboration between industries in Cuba and Pakistan. Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman, Chairman of the HEC in a meeting with Gomez proposed a joint investment plan to establish a post-graduate institute in Pakistan, the Centre of Excellence in Biotechnology, with the help of Cuba. This institute will have 100 PhD faculty members, more than 1000 students and with 20 Cuban scientists. Atta-ur-Rahman also emphasized to establish mutual cooperation between biotechnology institutes in Pakistan and Cuba. He requested Gomez to find parter institutes in Cuba for the National Institute of Biology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE) in Faisalabad, Centre for Applied Molecular Biology (CAMB) in Lahore and Dr.Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine (PCMM) in Karachi

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