Queen Elizabeth’s 93rd birthday celebrated
British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew hosted a large reception to celebrate the Queen’s 93rd birthday last week. Chief guest on the occasion was Abdul Razak Dawood, a long-term politician and an industrialist, who is currently the adviser to the prime minister on commerce and industry.
A military band played at the festive event, entertaining envoys and dignitaries and members of the Pakistani society.
In their speeches, the high commissioner and Mr Dawood praised the excellent relations between UK and Pakistan in various fields.
Mr Drew said: “The UK and Pakistan share a special bond through string people-to-people connections, our shared love for cricket, and increased cooperation in the fields of education, health, culture and security.”
China envoy attends CPEC book launch
The first comprehensive book about CPEC was launched by the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) last week. The book titled CPEC: A Precursor to Regional Growth and Stability, was edited by SVI President Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema with M. Waqas Jan.
Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing was the guest of honour and main speaker, along with Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, chairman of the Pakistan-China Institute.
“The senator’s easy-going style, with some jokes in his speeches, always enliven events,” said a participant, adding that she also appreciated Ambassador Yao Jing’s genuine interest in Pakistan.
Several retired Pakistani ambassadors spoke at the event, including Syed Hasan Javed, who has become director of the Chinese Studies Centre at Nust after his distinguished diplomatic career.
Dr Cheema thanked his associate editor, M. Waqas Jan, a young SVI researcher, for his efforts with the book and for being master of ceremony at the event.
In his substantive paper, Waqas Jan drew attention to the various aspects of East-West connectivity related to CPEC, which is now beginning to include countries in Europe, in addition to Iran, Central Asia and Russia. He mentioned that China is one of the largest importers of Iranian oil.
The substantive event gathered more diplomats as the morning went by, including researchers, NGO representative and media people.
Those who had time, enjoyed a pleasant lunch, seated at elegant round tables in one section of the hall. Fish was on the menu along with other dishes.
It was an international group of young and old, mixed religions and far away geographical origins, that gathered in Serena Hotel’s Dawat restaurant for a breakfast on Easter Sunday under the auspices of the Pakistan-Norway Association (PANA).
The association’s acting president, Gulzar Wazir, had come from Peshawar to chair the event.
Lynley Ruth Butt, a naturalised Pakistani of New Zealand origin, was the main speaker — and singer - at the event, having received training as an opera singer in London in earlier years. Mrs Butt spoke about the universality of religions and she drew special attention to the close relationship between Islam and Christianity.
Shireen Gheba, a writer, said she had grown up in a mixed Muslim-Christian family and she drew attention to that valuable background.
In their short talks M. Amin Hassan, a graduate in economics from the International Islamic University (IIUI), and Abdi Warsame, pursuing his law degree at the same university, drew attention to the many lessons they had learnt while in Pakistan, making comparative analysis of issues, especially regarding language and culture.
Another guest recalled that Somalia had in many ways been a model country in East African in adult education, where Tanzania and Ethiopia were also doing well.
“Friendship associations are important entities for sharing information in informal and friendly ways,” said Gul Najam, a World Bank staff member in Pakistan.
Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2019