Dr Yar says lack of embassies in each other’s countries is creating problems for Pakistanis travelling to or residing in Estonia
LAHORE/TALLINN: Pakistan-Estonia Association (PEA) Chairman Dr Yar Mohammad Mughal has said that a large number of Pakistanis residing in Estonia comprise of highly qualified and exceptionally skilled workforce, adding that the country can largely benefit from technological experiments being conducted by the Estonian government.
Talking to Pakistan Today, Dr Yar Mohammad said that 30 per cent of the Pakistani community comprised of highly skilled engineers and software engineers, who were an important part of the IT revolution taking place in the Baltic country.
While commenting on the diplomatic relations shared by Pakistan and Estonia, the PEA chairman said that the main reason behind lack of diplomatic ties between the two countries was the absence of embassies of both the countries on each other’s territories. “Increasing number of Pakistanis in Estonia would hopefully promote diplomatic relations between the two countries and ensure progress,” he added.
He said educational diplomacy could be used wisely to forge lasting ties between Pakistan and European Union (EU) countries. “Through PEA, we are committed to exchanging social, welfare and cultural values of the Pakistani and Estonian communities, and to also campaign for positive social change,” he added.
It is pertinent to mention here that Dr Yar Mohammad is an assistant professor at the University of Tartu, Estonia. He initiated a student/scholar exchange programme between Pakistan and Estonia, through which an agreement on the exchange of faculty members of National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) of Pakistan and an Estonian university had also been inked.
Discussing the challenges being faced by Pakistanis in Estonia, Dr Yar Mohammad said that both the countries had not established their respective embassies on each other’s soil, which created a lot of problems for Pakistanis travelling to or residing in the Baltic country.
He said that students who wanted to study in the Baltic country had to travel to another country that housed the Estonian embassy, including Turkey, Egypt and China. “From there, Pakistanis have to apply for a visa from the Estonian embassy, before being allowed to enter the country,” he added.
He also termed the present situation quite curious for Pakistani businessmen, entrepreneurs and researchers who wanted to travel to the Baltic country to explore investment opportunities and initiate research collaborations with Estonian universities. He said, “If both the countries have their respective embassies or consulates on each other’s territories, it will help strengthen relationships between both the countries and mutually benefit people belonging to both the countries.”
Furthermore, discussing the information technology (IT) revolution that had currently gripped Estonia, the PEA chairman said that in 2005 the Baltic nation became the first country of the world to have held elections over the internet. “The country also has the honour of being the first nation to provide E-residency to expatriates, businessmen and entrepreneurs,” he added.
He said that the PEA aimed to provide a platform to promote and strengthen the broad-based social, economic and cultural ties between Pakistan and Estonia. “Our organisation looks to strengthen ties between both the countries through cooperation and development in education, research, trade, the social sector and other fields of interest,” he added.
While commenting on the standard of education provided in the Baltic country, Dr Yar Mohammad said that the quality of education provided in Estonia was high and in accordance with set international standards. “The University of Tartu, where I teach, is among the top 350 ranked universities in the world, while Tallinn University of Technology is among the top 600 ranked varsities internationally,” he added.
He also said that PhD education in the Baltic country was totally free, adding that students would also get a handsome monthly stipend of € 1,000 to 2,000.
In an effort to entice Pakistani businesses to invest in the Baltic country, Dr Yar Mohammad said that non-residents of Estonia and EU were allowed to own 100 per cent of the corporate rights of Estonian enterprises. “Pakistani businesses should take advantage of the current rules and setup branch offices or open new businesses in Estonia, which would give them full access and representation in the European markets,” he concluded.
Earlier in November, the PEA chairman had also met Riigikogu (unicameral Parliament of Estonia) first Vice President Enn Eesmaa at the Parliament House in Tallinn, where he apprised Eesmaa about the aims and objectives of his organisation and the cultural activities of the Pakistani community in Estonia.
Later, Eesmaa appreciated the efforts of PEA and called for improved ties between Pakistan and Estonia.