ISLAMABAD, Aug 16 (APP): Pakistanis in Bahrain and around the world sent over four billion dollars home last year, a "significant" contribution to their country's economy, said Pakistani Ambassador to Bahrain Iftikhar Hussain Kazmi.
He paid tributes to the "hard work and productivity" of the Pakistani community in Bahrain, as Pakistan marks its Independence Day.
"The Pakistan community in Bahrain is about 45,000, including families and they belong to a variety of professions and businesses - there are professionals, doctors, engineers, skilled workers and semi-skilled workers also," he said.
"They are very productive citizens and we are proud of them - they have done a lot of good work and they have contributed to the economic development of Bahrain and earned respect and goodwill for Pakistan in this country."
Key developments for Pakistani-Bahraini relations include an upcoming meeting of the Joint Economic Committee, an investment promotion and protection agreement between the two countries - and a Pakistan-GCC Free Trade Agreement.
Pakistan's economy and international trade is being fuelled by widespread political and economic reform, he said.
"In the field of economy the figures are very impressive - particularly in the last four or five years."
"Our workers' remittances, which they have been sending to Pakistan, totalled over $4b, which is quite significant," said Kazmi.
"Pakistan and the GCC countries are shortly also going to sign a Free Trade Agreement, which is being negotiated by the government of Pakistan and the GCC secretariat in Riyadh."
"That will open up avenues and unleash forces of co-operation between Pakistan and the GCC countries in the fields of economy, trade and investment."
Key internal issues for Pakistan are a continued strong economic performance as well as job creation and poverty alleviation, said Kazmi.
"Pakistan has the highest per capita income in South Asia - our economy has done very well since the Prime Minister and President have brought about massive economic reforms, restructuring, opening up (the economy)," he said.
"With the result of these reforms the economy has taken a turn around and made remarkable progress in the last four to five years."
"Pakistan is now the highest performing Asian economy in the world after China - our exports registered 11.4 per cent increase, and they amounted to $16.5bn (BD 6.23bn)."