Kenyan envoy gives lecture at ESU

Kenyan High Commissioner Julius K. Bitok receives a shield from Khalid Malik, president of the English Speaking Union in Islamabad.
Kenyan High Commissioner Julius K. Bitok receives a shield from Khalid Malik, president of the English Speaking Union in Islamabad.

Kenyan envoy Prof Julius K. Bitok gave this months’ lecture at the English Speaking Union (ESU) in Islamabad, portraying an overall picture of Kenya, which is moving fast ahead, he said.

The event was hosted by ESU president Khalid Malik and Wazir Ahmed Jogezei, a retired politician and former deputy speaker of the National Assembly.

“Kenya, a country with a 50 million population, has two major challenges in development; one is corruption; the other one is population growth”, said Prof Bitok.

“It is categorized as a lower middle-income country with an estimated GDP per capital of about $1,800 this year, and a growth rate of just over 6pc. Tourism plays a major role in foreign exchange earnings, followed by agricultural and horticultural products. Kenyan roses and other flowers are daily exported by air to European markets and 80 pc of all tea consumed in Pakistan originates from Kenya, and 80 pc of all rice consumed in Kenya is from Pakistan”, he said.

Prof Bitok said education is given very high priority in Kenya.

“About 40pc of the government budget is allocated to education”, he said.

Oman celebrates national day

Ambassador Al Sheikh Omer Ahmed Al Mahroon and Federal Minister Zubaida Jalal cut the cake alongwith other dignitaries on the occasion of Oman’s National Day in Islamabad.
Ambassador Al Sheikh Omer Ahmed Al Mahroon and Federal Minister Zubaida Jalal cut the cake alongwith other dignitaries on the occasion of Oman’s National Day in Islamabad.

Ambassador Sheikh Omer Ahmed Al Mahroon of Oman hosted a large national day reception in Serena Hotel in Islamabad this week.

The event marks the anniversary of Oman’s independence from Portugal on Nov 18, 1650, and it is a celebration of the birthday of the Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said al Said on Nov 19, making it a two-day break for the 4.5 million people in the oil-rich Arab country, sharing marine borders with Pakistan.

The chief guest on the occasion was Federal Minister for Defence Production Zubaida Jalal.

The event was well attended by foreign envoys, retired diplomats, and guests from all walks of life. Many senior officials attended the event, both from the government and from other political parties.

The mayor of Islamabad, Sheikh Anser Aziz, was among the guests, just having returned from East Africa where he had attended the Muslim Mayors Conference.

Wife of Egyptian envoy hosts luncheon

Wife of Egyptian ambassador Ghada Ahmed Yacoub  poses with wives of other envoys during a luncheon she hosted in honour of Mehriene Qureshi, wife of Pakistan’s minister of foreign affairs.
Wife of Egyptian ambassador Ghada Ahmed Yacoub poses with wives of other envoys during a luncheon she hosted in honour of Mehriene Qureshi, wife of Pakistan’s minister of foreign affairs.

The wife of the Egyptian envoy to Pakistan, Ghada Ahmed Yacoub, hosted an elaborate luncheon for fellow wives of ambassadors and high commissioners to Pakistan.

The event was very well attended and took place at the residence of Ambassador Ahmed Fadel Yacoub and Ghada Ahmed Yacoub in Islamabad.

The luncheon was held in honour of Mrs. Mehriene Qureshi, wife of Minister of Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

“It is important to have gatherings like this, and it is important that women join hands too, although most of such gatherings are just social,” said one guest.

Another guest emphasised that many wives of ambassadors and other diplomats are professional women, who have their own careers at home, and they have to take leave of absence to join their husbands.

“Sometimes, we cannot get leave for the whole duration of the husband’s assignment, but can only stay for part of the time. Others choose to be long-distance commuters,” she explained.

“In future, when more women join the diplomatic service, and there will be more men who are spouses, maybe the terms will improve,” suggested one guest.

Another one said that she was indeed glad to have the opportunity to stay at home during her husband’s tenure abroad. “I have worked all my life and this is my time off. I really enjoy it, and I am so glad that it is in a beautiful city like Islamabad,” she said.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2018

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