Egypt and Pakistan are two big countries in the Middle East and the Islamic world. The two countries have a large scientific, research and economic base. Both countries are also promising markets for their high population density, whereas Egypt has a population of more than 90 million, while Pakistan has a double population of 180 million, and the two countries are of paramount strategic importance, as Pakistan overlooks the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman, and has a strategic lagoon as a shipping corridor and a port on important maritime straits and an important entry point for Asia.
Egypt is also the gateway to Africa from the east and the north, overlooking 2 important seas and a strategic sea corridor. World Trade ways, Pakistan is also a member of several important regional organizations such as the Economic Cooperation Organization with other 8 countries in Middle and West Asia of strong and promising economies and markets, as well as Egypt in Africa as a member of COMESA and is considered the culturally influential heart of the Arab world amid 22 countries.
For these reasons, the major countries compete in the east and west to establish more trade, political and strategic relations with both countries, whether America or Britain and finally Russia and China. Pakistan is a member of the Shanghai Organization for Security and Cooperation and Egypt will later become a member. Currently, “Reviving the Silk Road – One Belt One Road” which will bring several important projects and investments for both countries to the billions of US$ that contribute to improving and upgrading the two countries in all possible aspects.
This encouraged me as a political economist to talk about the latest aspects of the joint cooperation between the two countries, so as to facilitate understanding and recognizing of the relationship, mutual benefit and to avoid any possible mistake in the future, as follows:-
Recently, Cairo Chamber of Commerce and Industry signed on Mar 27th a cooperation protocol with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry to promote and develop trade relations between the two countries.
The protocol allows the exchange of trade delegations between the two chambers with the provision of all possible assistance to these delegations, in addition to participate in organizing meetings and gatherings of different opportunities for development and exchange of knowledge in areas of common interest.
According to the protocol, the research and statistics on trade and economic issues issued by the two chambers will be exchanged. The two chambers will also cooperate in the development of small and medium-sized enterprises through the establishment of joint projects and exchanges of experience in the field of education and training as well as solving all problems and tendencies and amicable settlement through the two rooms.
Whereas the Egyptian-Pakistani economic relations are good and the Pakistani side looks forward to develop it in the next phase in coordination with the Cairo Chamber of Commerce, in support of organizing bilateral meetings between the businessmen in both of sides, providing more information about products and investment opportunities in both countries.
Also, the data provided by the chamber on the Egyptian market and the investment opportunities available will help the Pakistani businessmen to invest in it. There is a Pakistani exhibition to be held in Cairo after few days which includes many products “meat, strategic crops and fruits” pointing out that it is an opportunity to hold bilateral meetings between businessmen on both sides, and the signing of some agreements in many areas to increase trade and investment exchange.
Also, the Egyptian side expressed its desire to invest and participate in Chinese Pakistani Economic Corridor (CPEC) which will assign substantive meanings to the transcontinental game-changer project by connecting Sino-Pak economic corridor to Africa, Europe and Middle East, as it will open a new easy channel of flow of trade between Africa and China through a secure and cheaper trade route via Pakistan.
Both countries are members of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation), “the next eleven” and the “D8” Pakistan and Egypt are both designated Major Non-NATO allies, giving them access to certain levels of hardware and surplus military equipment from the United States, also both of the countries are members in NAM.
There was a major breakthrough in the relations between the two countries Egypt and Pakistan, one of the most prominent signs was the several visits of Mohamed Ayoub Khan, and later his foreign minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, to Cairo, and the first official visit by an Egyptian leader “Nasser” to Pakistan In 1960 when he was head of the Egyptian-Syrian Unity State. While the Pakistani leader was aiming to oust his Egyptian counterpart from India and its leader Nehru, Nasser was seeking, unsuccessfully, to find opportunities to resolve the ongoing Indo-Pakistan dispute so that both Pakistan and India would support him in his policies and projects.
In the Sadat era, which began to expel the symbols of the Egyptian left from power and then expel the Russian experts from Egypt, doubts prevailed in the intentions of Pakistan long, against the backdrop of the leftist views of the late Pakistani leader Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, and his close ties with his Libyan counterpart Muammar Gaddafi, however there was a limited military support provided by Bhutto to Egypt in the war of October 1973 against Israel by sending a number of technicians to help the Egyptian air force, and the reception of Egyptian warships in the port of Karachi.
The follower of the Pakistani-Egyptian relations must note fluctuation between warmth and cold, friendliness and bitterness, according to who sits on the throne of power in both countries. So the last visit to Pakistan (the first official visit by an Egyptian president to this country in more than 40 years) can only be classified as an attempt by the Brotherhood to bring warmth that was not felt during most Mubarak years over their country’s relations with Pakistan, by-which Brotherhood had inspired their ideology from one of its founders and who had the idea of dissociation from India, who is called “Abu A’ala Al-Mawdoudi”. Whereas the University of Lahore had awarded an honorary doctorate in philosophy for the ousted president “Mursi” and the latter delivered a crowd of Pakistani academics and scholars a speech.
The President of the Pakistan National Assembly (Sardar Ayad Sadeq) discussed ways to strengthen relations with Egypt, Azerbaijan and Sri Lanka in separate meetings with the envoy of each country recently. Sadeq said in his meeting with Egyptian Ambassador Sharif Shahin that Pakistan and Egypt cherish relations deeply rooted by cultural and religious similarities and looking to play a role in addressing divisions within the Muslim world. “Sadik” called on his Egyptian counterpart Ali Abdel-Al to visit Pakistan with his parliamentary delegation.
Egypt is keen on promoting cooperation with Pakistan and benefitting from that country’s military experience in fighting terrorism, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told “Pakistan’s Army chief of staff General Raheel Sharif” during his official two day visit to Cairo the last year.
From his side, the Pakistani general expressed his country’s pride in its cooperation with Egypt in various fields, especially on a security and military level, he also expressed Pakistan’s hope to bolster military relations with Egypt to strengthen security cooperation and exchange experience in combating terrorism. According to the Pakistani Army’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) directorate, Sharif held separate meetings with his Egyptian counterpart Sobhi and chief of staff Mahmoud Hegazy, where both sides vowed to “synergize all efforts and resources to fight and eliminate terrorism.” The Egyptian officials expressed interest in benefiting from the Pakistan army’s experience in countering improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
For his part, Pakistan’s Minister of Military Production, Rana Tanwir Hussain, stressed Pakistan’s keenness to develop relations with Egypt at all levels, especially in light of what Egypt represents as an important partner of the Arab, Islamic and African countries as well as its central role as a major pillar of security and stability in the Middle East.
The Pakistani Minister of Military Production commended the Egyptian role in combating terrorism, saying that the conditions faced by the two countries in the face of terrorism are almost one and the challenges of the current regional conditions in the region.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Arab Organization for Industrialization expressed his appreciation for the constructive and rich discussions that took place on ways to strengthen bilateral relations. Saifuddin noted that the talks with the Pakistani Minister of Military Production dealt with many important industrial topics that serve the interests of the two countries. He said that experiences will be exchanged through joint technical committees to give the hoped-for economic relations between Egypt and Pakistan, and the products of the Arab Organization for Military Industrialization.
According to some military sources, Egypt expressed its desire to obtain the “JF-17 Multirole Aircraft”, which was manufactured in Pakistan in cooperation with China. The Pakistani Defense Production Minister Mr. Rana Tanweer Hussein presented an offer to sell the JF-17 Multirole Planes, As well as “Mac Super Mushak Aircraft” to Egypt.
Finally, I wished to cover more fields and spaces of cooperation including cultural and scientific ones; which really pave the ways and build bridges before trade and investment; however the sources are very poor in this regard.
Please be guided accordingly.