‘Away but not gone’ Pak­ista­nis pay tributes to Dr Song

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL - —Di­rec­tor Is­lam­abad King Se­jong In­sti­tute

DR ATIF FARAZ IS­LAM­ABAD—Am­bas­sador Dr. Song of the Repub­lic of Korea is on his way home after com­plet­ing his term in Is­lam­abad. “I want to see a mir­a­cle of the In­dus River”, “I’ll come back to Pak­istan after 10 years to wit­ness the progress”. Th­ese com­ments are not just prom­ises of the out­go­ing Am­bas­sador of Repub­lic of Korea to Pak­istan, Dr. Song Jong-hwan, they are ac­tu­ally his legacy. Per­haps that most sig­nif­i­cant out­come of th­ese phrases is the sin­cer­ity and gen­uine­ness on part of the am­bas­sador.

He drew many com­par­isons be­tween Pak­istan and Korea, start­ing from in­de­pen­dence strug­gle, bit­ter ex­pe­ri­ence of war and split­ting into two, fight with poverty, em­pow­er­ment of women in the so­ci­ety, lack of ed­u­ca­tion and op­por­tu­ni­ties, over­haul of jus­tice sys­tem, free­dom of press, po­lit­i­cal ri­valry, in­flu­ence of the out­side world and neigh­bour­ing coun­tries, in­ter­nal fric­tion, deal­ing with men­ace of cor­rup­tion and so on.

How­ever, his most staunch com­par­i­son is drawn in econ­omy where he men­tions that Pak­istan had a much bet­ter econ­omy and growth rate right from the in­de­pen­dence un­til 1960s. There are well over 100 coun­tries that got in­de­pen­dence in the sim­i­lar pe­riod but none has been able to match the progress of Korea. We can de­fine three main fac­tors of the amaz­ing progress of Korea, vi­sion­ary lead­er­ship of late Pres­i­dent Park Jung-Hee, ex­tremely high lit­er­acy rate and hard work and pa­tri­o­tism of Korean peo­ple through the “Sae­maul Un­dong”, also known as “New Town Move­ment”.

The un­be­liev­able progress made by Korea is com­monly known as “Mir­a­cle of the Han River”, and this is what His Ex- cel­lency Dr. Song wants to repli­cate in Pak­istan and he be­fit­tingly named it “Mir­a­cle of the In­dus River”. He has spread this idea of hope dur­ing his en­tire ten­ure of 3 years in Pak­istan. He him­self was a prac­ti­cal ex­am­ple of Korean style of work­ing, right from the out­set, it was clear that Pak-Korea bi­lat­eral re­la­tion and co­op­er­a­tion were set to reach new heights. His prac­ti­cal ap­proach and idea of lead­ing from the front landed him in over 30 cities in all four prov­inces of Pak­istan. He man­aged to visit north­ern ar­eas. In Septem­ber 2015, he en­dorsed his con­nec­tions by fa­cil­i­tat­ing a sum­mit meet­ing of Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif and Pres­i­dent of Korea Ms. Park Geun-Hye on the side­lines of 70th UNGA (United Na­tions Gen­eral As­sem­bly) ses­sion in New York. Also, back in 2014 he ar­ranged vis­its of the Prime Min­is­ter and Speaker of the Na­tional As­sem­bly of Korea to Pak­istan. All th­ese ef­forts strength­ened peo­ple to peo­ple con­tacts.

His ma­jor achieve­ments in­cluded sign­ing of 500 mil­lion $ EDCF (Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Co­op­er­a­tion Fund) from 2015 to 2017, ini­ti­at­ing process of FTA (Free Trade Agree­ment), joint pol­icy con­sul­ta­tion of 2015, ar­rang­ing a range of lan­guage and cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties, grant aid projects by KOICA (Korea In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Agency) worth 10 mil­lion $ an­nu­ally, wa­ter sup­ply sys­tem of Mandi Ba­haud­din, wa­ter treat­ment fa­cil­ity in Ka­sur, ICT cen­ter of ex­cel­lence in Is­lam­abad, man­age­ment of wa­ter re­sources in Qila Ab­dul­lah, a num­ber of projects in a range of uni­ver­si­ties, projects un­der KSP (Knowl­edge Shar­ing Pro­gram), in­crease in the schol­ar­ship quota in­clud-ing fully funded KGSP (Korean Govern­ment Schol­ar­ship Pro­gram), sem­i­nars to ed­u­ca­tion and im­ple­ment “Sae­maul Un­dong or New Town Move­ment”, en­hance­ment of em­ploy­ment un­der HRD (Hu­man Re­source De­velop-ment) Korea, fa­cil­i­ta­tion in a range of power projects, ar­rang­ing world fa­mous artists’ per­for­mances, con­tribut­ing a range of ar­ti­cles, de­liv­ered lec­tures on cur­rent/po­lit­i­cal af­fairs, in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions in lead­ing uni­ver­si­ties.

The list goes on and it is dif­fi­cult to com­pre­hend how he achieved all this at the age of 73? He has in­deed taught us how to make our­selves use­ful and pay back to the so­ci­ety. The scribe had the hon­our of met­ing him when he at-tended a func­tion at a univer­sity, be­ing the first jour­nal­ist he met in Pak­istan. I will al­ways re­mem­ber him. “Ex­cel­lency, you will be away but you will never be gone.

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