Pakistan will always stand with Morocco “even in the most difficult times.”
Rabat – Morocco and Pakistan are looking to strengthen bilateral cooperation in several fields including security, joint military training, intelligence sharing, and counter-terrorism.
Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who recently visited Morocco as part of an initiative to boost bilateral cooperation, met with several high-ranking Moroccan officials to explore defense cooperation between two countries.
Facing shared challenges
During his visit, the Pakistani official notably met with Inspector General of Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces General Abdelfattah Lourak and Minister-Delegate for National Defense Abdellatif Loudiyi.
The officials examined how bilateral defense and security cooperation between Morocco and Pakistan can improve regional peace and stability.
During the meetings, General Bajwa affirmed that Pakistan has, and will always, stand with Morocco “even in the most difficult times.”
The Pakistani army chief then visited the Royal College of Higher Military Education in Kenitra, where he shared his views on emerging security challenges and shared Pakistan’s contributions to the global fight against terrorism.
He said that while Pakistan is a frontline country, faced with numerous security issues in a “tough region,” its defense and security architecture has proven successful in rising up to its numerous national and regional challenges.
General Bajwa also visited the Tangier-Med Port, commending its services and facilities. He then paid his respects at the tombs of King Hassan II and Mohammed V.
The army chief, who was on his first visit to Morocco, expressed his warmest regards for the country, its people, and its leadership.
General Bajwa wrapped up his four-day visit to Morocco on February 23 after discussing various possibilities for enhanced cooperation with his Moroccan counterparts.
Morocco World News reached out to the Pakistani Ambassador to Morocco, Hamid Asghar Khan, to ask about the broader context of the visit, as well as the prospects of Pakistan-Morocco defense cooperation.
“This important visit is significant for a number of reasons,” Khan told MWN.
“Pakistan and Morocco have deep-rooted, historic ties based on commonalities such as religion, culture, a vision for national development, and intra-OIC cooperation.”
Pakistan’s army is among the largest, best-equipped, and disciplined military forces in the Islamic World, as well as its sole nuclear power, the ambassador explained.
He also suggested that General Bajwa’s visit was only the beginning of a series of similar moves to cement relations with Morocco.
“It is expected as a consequence of the discussions held during this visit that there will be a further exchange of senior- and working-level military delegations between the two countries,” Khan said.
Intelligence, expertise sharing
Pakistan and Morocco can each benefit immensely from sharing counter-terrorism expertise, the ambassador went on.
“While Morocco has done well to remain peaceful, stable, and isolated from the menace of violent extremism, Pakistan’s army has had to undertake a prolonged, sustained, and sometimes brutal campaign to eradicate this menace from the country’s border regions.”
“The hard-earned experience of such an undertaking is invaluable and many lessons can be drawn from sharing information in this regard.”
Irregular migration can be another area of knowledge sharing, according to Khan.
“Pakistan has suffered on account of the 40 years of instability in neighboring Afghanistan, which has resulted in four million refugees remaining permanently camped on its soil.”
“Morocco is, of course, a bulwark against attempted irregular migration from Africa to Europe. In this regard, both countries can share information and experiences in modern methods of border management and controlling the flow of illegal migrants.”
Pakistan has a robust defense industry, producing much of its own naval vessels, aircraft, and terrestrial military equipment.
Cooperation between the two countries may include the sale of military equipment, the ambassador added.
General Bajwa expressed his interest in having a Moroccan military delegation participate in Pakistan’s International Defense Exhibition & Seminar (IDEAS) in November 2020.
IDEAS showcases a wide variety of technology and military equipment and presents opportunities for defense manufacturers to enter into collaboration and joint ventures with Pakistan or other prospective international partners.
As Morocco works to beef up its own defense and counter-terrorism forces, a military and intelligence partnership with Pakistan may serve to consolidate the country’s reputation as a bastion of security in Africa.