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DIPLOMATIC CALENDAR

May 13, 2019

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Bangladeshi envoy hosts Iftar dinner

Bangladeshi High Commissioner Tarik Ahsan and guests at the Iftar dinner in Islamabad.
Bangladeshi High Commissioner Tarik Ahsan and guests at the Iftar dinner in Islamabad.

High Commissioner of Bangladesh Tarik Ahsan and his wife Mahajabeen Ahsan hosted an Iftar dinner on the second day of Ramazan.

The event attended by senior diplomats, politicians, private sector and civil society representatives, and others guests. Senator Mushahid Hussain, Islamabad Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz and the dean of the diplomatic corps, Ambassador Movlamov Atajan, were among the dignitaries, along with the high commissioners of India and Sri Lanka, Ajay Bisaria and Noordin Mohamad Shaheid, respectively.

In his welcome speech, High Commissioner Ahsan underlined the importance of Ramazan for peace, cooperation and understanding in public and private spheres of life. He thanked guests for coming; then it was time to break the fast, go for prayer and have dinner together.

A group of students were also in attendance. The group included three sons of staff members of the high commission, who are doing their A-level studies in Islamabad.

Another guest, Mian Fazal Elahi, who attended the Iftar dinner with his son visiting from Canada, said that Ramazan and Eid are very important for families. “Even when children have become grown-ups, we want to have them around at such occasions,” he said.

Thai ambassador visits Bari Imam school

Thai Ambassador Pornpop Uampidhaya speaks to students of Mashal Model School in Bari Imam.
Thai Ambassador Pornpop Uampidhaya speaks to students of Mashal Model School in Bari Imam.

Thai Ambassador Pornpop Uampidhaya made a visit to Mashal Model School in Bari Imam just before Ramazan began. He brought gifts and gave his encouragement to the school, which was received with great appreciation by the principal and director of Mashal Trust, Zeba Husain.

The event was attended by students, parents and members of the community, and a group from the embassy accompanying the Ambassador. He emphasised the importance of education for development.

The event took place at the time of the coronation of Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who has personally been engaged in charitable work.

The principal emphasised the importance of the gesture of the ambassador’s visit in giving recognition and attention to the deprived children.

“They also got a good meal and that is not always the case,” she said. Ms Husain appealed to donors and charity organisations to help run the school, which has about a thousand students in practical and academic fields.

“Earlier, we received assistance from SDC, Switzerland, but they are closing the aid programme to Pakistan,” Ms Husain added. She underlined that it is a blessing to be able to do this work, which she started 11 years ago when she herself was recovering from cancer.

“I realised how short life is and I wanted to contribute while I still can,” she said.

IPRI holds seminar on Pakistan-Russia relations

Counsellor at the Russian embassy Dr Sergei A. Baranov talks on Pakistan-Russia relations at the seminar in Islamabad.
Counsellor at the Russian embassy Dr Sergei A. Baranov talks on Pakistan-Russia relations at the seminar in Islamabad.

Dr Sergei A. Baranov, counsellor of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Islamabad, was the keynote speaker at a seminar about Pakistani-Russian relations organized by Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) recently.

The host of the event was IPRI President Vice Admiral Ambassador Khan Hasham Bin Saddique, and prominent speakers included former ambassador to Russia M. Khalid Khattak, Dr Ahmed Ijaz Malik from Quaid-i-Azam University, Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri from the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Dr M. Nawaz Khan, IPRI, and others.

The speakers gave a solid overview of past cooperation, obstacles to expansion, and possibilities for future cooperation. It was said that Russia and China have never been as close as they are today; it was also said that Russia and India have cooperation dating back to before India developed closer cooperation with USA.

Hence, the seminar focused on regional dimensions and geopolitics. The place of Afghanistan and Pakistan was discussed at length, including by Ambassador Khattak, who from the time of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, spent his career on unresolved issues.

It was noted that earlier it was a political issue to keep Russia away from the ‘warm waters’, today, that is no longer an issue. The importance of peace in Afghanistan, and good relations between Pakistan, its neighbour, was emphasised.

Guests were invited to lunch and tea. Discussions went on as the students, academics and diplomats could exchange knowledge and views – before they all rushed to check their smartphones and laptops since the day’s working hours were not quite over.

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2019