New German envoy welcomed
The new German ambassador Bernhard Schlagheck was welcomed by several fellow envoys and other guests at a dinner hosted by retired ambassador Salauddin Choudhry at their residence and exhibition centre the Saladin Lodge in Islamabad.
The event was attended by a number of retired senior army officers, including retired Gen Ehsanul Haq.
Before dinner, Mr Choudhry screened an inspirational French video programme related to World Humanitarian Day Aug 19.
His son and daughter explained that their father was more enthusiastic than ever about peace and development issues, particularly related to education and climate change. Music was played following dinner, bringing some festivity to the evening.
Ambassador Schlagheck said he enjoyed the pleasant atmosphere of the dinner and was glad to begin his term of service in Pakistan from this month.
“As soon as my appointment to Pakistan was confirmed, I hurried to the nearest bookshop from my office in Berlin and found a beautiful book about Pakistan’s eminent poets, Allama Iqbal, Josh Malihabadi, Habib Jalib, Fehmida Riaz, Hasina Gul and many more,” he said.
He said that before coming to Pakistan, he served as the ambassador to Nigeria.
Chinese ambassador bid farewell
The deputy chief of mission at the Chinese embassy, Zhao Lijian, was honoured at a large farewell dinner at the Marriott Hotel last week.
The event was attended by his colleagues from the diplomatic community, government officials and private sector and civil society members. Among the prominent guests were senators Mushahid Hussain Syed and Sherry Rehman.
Mr Zhao spent four and a half years in Pakistan as the deputy chief of mission as well as another term earlier in his career. He has been the main coordinator and specialist for the embassy’s cooperation under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Belt and Road Initiative.
During his farewell speech, he thanked colleagues and friends at the embassy and on the Pakistani side for their cooperation.
“I was always impressed by his detailed knowledge of CPEC projects and activities,” said a guest.
She added that she was glad that CPEC had spread its activities to include the social sectors, Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Mr Zhao’s, Pang Chunxue, who attended the event, was given a warm welcome by the guests. She has previously serviced in Afghanistan and the United Kingdom, and held a junior post in Pakistan almost 20 years ago.
Maldives Independence Day celebrated
Ambassador Ahmed Saleem hosted a large reception at Serena Hotel recently to celebrate the Maldives’ Independence Day, marked on July 26. The country gained independence from the British in 1965.
Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry was invited to the event as the chief guest. During their speeches, the ambassador and the minister spoke about the close ties between the Maldives and Pakistan.
The Maldives is small country in the Indian Ocean, situated some 1,000 kilometres south of the Asian continent, with a population of less than half a million people. Last year, the country received more than a million tourists.
“Our economy and welfare rely heavily on tourism. Some European countries, which are very popular tourist destinations, have begun restricting their high numbers of tourists, such Venice in Italy and Norway, where the cruise ships disturb daily life more than people like in the picturesque small town harbours and fjords.
“In the Maldives, we have not reached that level and we are welcoming even higher numbers of tourists. We expand our infrastructure and develop new sites,” the ambassador said in a conversation.
Tourism accounts for about a third of the GDP and almost two-thirds of the foreign exchange earnings in the Maldives. The country’s GDP per capita is significantly higher than that of other countries in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, which the Maldives co-founded in 1985.
The ambassador said that the Maldives has not been a member of the Commonwealth for some years, but will rejoin the organisation soon. In the future, it is likely that the country will be severely affected by sea level rise and flooding due to global warming.
“We set aside funds, mainly from tourism, to meet the challenges,” Ambassador Saleem said.
Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2019