Good evening distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen;

Indeed our relations with Pakistan go back many, many centuries. We share many similarities in tradition and most importantly in faith.

The idea of Pakistan 70 years ago also gave birth to the idea of a tolerant Islam that Pakistan’s founding fathers wanted to establish and practice in that country and it was that idea also that found home at that time here in the Maldives. Very often, increasingly now, we are faced with a number of challenges that have, I must say, been introduced not only to Pakistan but also to the Maldives - mostly in redefining that Islamic idea of peace and stability and striving for democracy and for development.

Both our countries now have a number of challenges arising from this wave or a new or rather another idea or rather another version of Islam.

We will I’m sure be able to cooperate, we will I’m sure be able to get strength from the Pakistani government and its people and its academia and its religious scholars, so that we also can go back to the founding ideas of that 70 year old idea of Pakistan.

Again I would like to thank the High Commissioner for inviting us here in this very happy occasion. I will again also stress to the Pakistani community living here in the Maldives that they have been our friends and they have been our development partners for a very long time and we appreciate the very good work the community is doing here in the Maldives, not only in the health sector but very, many other ways.

Thank you very much High Commissioner for inviting us here.