A few days ago, the Argentine Ambassador to Pakistan, Rodolfo Martin Saravia, hosted a dinner reception for Naela Chohan, Pakistan’s high commissioner designate to Australia.
Ambassador Saravia took special pleasure in hosting the reception since Mrs. Chohan has been Pakistan’s ambassador to Argentina, in addition to Uruguay, Peru and Ecuador. She has been a vocal proponent of stronger ties between Pakistan and Latin America.
She was accompanied by her husband, Musa Javed Chohan, who has been high commissioner to Canada and ambassador to France, which also included being Pakistan’s permanent representative to Unesco.
Diplomacy runs in the family, it seems.
Now, it is off to Canberra in Australia, and she is still just in her best mid-fifties. Besides, she is considered a feminist and an accomplished painter, and a mother of two sons.
Recently, Mrs Chohan served as the acting foreign secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a first for a woman.
There were many well wishers at ambassador Saravia’s dinner. She is a firm but soft spoken woman, speaking half a dozen foreign languages, inter alia, French and Spanish.
One of the guests joked that she might well try to learn a bit of Aborigine now. And somebody claimed that the word ‘khan guru’ is Aborigine, meaning ‘I don’t understand’, which people
answered when the Brits landed on the continent in the late 18th century, speaking only English to the indigenous people.
The new high commissioner may also be glad to be back in a land where English is the main language; after all, it is as close as one gets to it being her mother tongue, although she did grow up with Punjabi and Urdu in her hometown of Rawalpindi, and she studied politics and international relations at Quaid-i- Azam University and in France.
Published in Dawn, August 31, 2014