Kashmir Black Day in Mission's
Pakistan’s Participation in the London’s New Year’s Parade
Pakistan High Commission, London, first time ever, participated in the world’s largest street Parade, the annual iconic London’s New Year’s Day Parade on
1 January 2017. This was the first instance in the Parades over three decades history that any Diplomatic Mission participated.
Some 600,000 people lined up and watched the Parade on streets. Our participation comprising display of dancing horses, qawali, folk music, Kalaash dance and playing of national songs was greatly appreciated.
The Parade was covered by BBC, Sky News, Euro news and other leading local and ethnic outlets giving extensive coverage to the event. There were more than 8500 performers from 20 countries, with 300 TV channels airing the event live to 30 million viewers worldwide.
Repeated announcement that this year marks the 70th Anniversary of Pakistan’s Independence was met with huge cheers from the crowd. Our theme of ‘Emerging Pakistan’ widely resonated among the audience.
Participation in the Parade was the first in a series of planned calendar of activities by the High Commission to celebrate the 70th Independence Anniversary of Pakistan throughout 2017, under the theme – Emerging Pakistan.
Pakistan Fashion Week London
High Commissioner commends the work of Pakistani fashion designers
H.E. Syed Ibne Abbas, Pakistan High Commissioner to the UK commended the
work of Pakistani fashion designers who displayed their fabulous designs at
the Grand Finale Catwalk Show on 27 November 2016. It was the 10th Edition
of Pakistan Fashion Week (PFW) in London.
The High Commissioner appreciated the hard work and passion of both the
experienced and the budding designers and said Pakistan is full of talented
people who are making their mark in the world. He said the High Commission
has planned a series of events for the 70th Independence Anniversary of
Pakistan and offered the PFW a partnership for a fashion show on a larger
scale next year. He also commended the organizers, the models and the
volunteers for putting together such a wonderful show.
Ambassador Tehmina Janjua, the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the
UN, Geneva, also spoke on the occasion. She praised the talent of Pakistan
in various fields and urged the diaspora to project the positive side of
PFW10 London presented the latest collections from 36 of Pakistan's leading
and emerging fashion designers. It was a fusion of design that presented
Pakistani fashion’s stunning heritage and flair in a western context.
Pakistan Embassy participates in 2016 "Love Knows No Borders-Building bridges for heart-to-heart connectivity" International Charity Bazar
Annual International Charity Bazar “Love knows no borders – building bridges for heart-to-heart connectivity” was held in Beijing on 22 October 2016 under the auspices of Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Madame Qian Wei, wife of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, was the chief organizer while Foreign Minister Wang Yi was the chief guest and visited Embassy’s stall after the inauguration ceremony. The eighty eight diplomatic missions and representatives of the international organizations participated in the day long event. Ladies of the Embassy of Pakistan Beijing actively participated and set up one of the largest stalls displaying traditional Pakistani handicrafts, decorative items and cuisine.
A substantive amount of sale proceeds of the Pakistan Embassy stall was donated for the charity to build bridges for poverty-stricken areas in Lingyun and Tianlin counties in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
In a first ever event of its kind in Berlin, the Pakistan Embassy organized the screening of Pakistani film "Manto" at the Babylon Berlin on 30th September 2016. The movie (shown with English language subtitles) was watched by a large audience including Diplomats, German intelligentsia and opinion-makers, Pakistani Diaspora, students and media. They appreciated the performance of actors as well as the quality of script and cinematography.
The Pride of Performance award winning director/actor Mr. Sarmad Sultan Khosat, who was especially invited to Berlin for the film ceremony, also spoke on the occasion and appreciated the efforts of the Embassy with regards to promotion of Pakistani art & culture.
The film is based on the life and struggle of legendary Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto, who in his provocative short stories challenged the established social values and attitudes. The film beautifully described the struggle of a man driven to despair when denied his true passion and moral choices of society that jeopardize bonds of blood and love.
Ambassador Jauhar Saleem, while addressing the audience, highlighted the thriving of Art & Cultural scene in Pakistan with a large number of cultural events attracting diverse audiences. He added that screening of the film “Manto” is part of the Embassy’s efforts for promotion of Pakistani art & culture to show the world the factual image of Pakistan.
A sampling of Pakistani cuisine was served on the occasion and was much appreciated by the guests.
Pakistan-South Africa relations are increasing with a steady pace
"Pakistan-South Africa relations are increasing with a steady pace", Rana Tanvir Hussain, the Federal Minister of Defence Production and Science and Technology of the Government of Pakistan, observed in Pretoria,today. He stated this after holding a detailed bilateral meeting with Ms. Mapisa-Nqakula, the Defence Minister of South Africa. Both Ministers discussed a wide range of bilateral relations including those in the fields of economic, investment, defence and defence production.
Both Ministers reviewed bilateral relations especially in the Defence and Defence related fields and expressed satisfaction over the steady pace of increasing relations between the two friendly countries. The 5th Session of Pakistan-South Africa Joint Commission, at the raised level of Deputy Foreign Minister, has been scheduled to take place in Islamabad in late November, 2016. The entire gamut of Pakistan-South Africa relations will be reviewed and discussed while exploring additional avenues of cooperation.
Minister Nqakula while accepting an invitation to pay a bilateral visit to Pakistan in November this year announced that the Office of Defence Attache in Islamabad would soon be established so as to follow up on bilateral defence related matters expeditiously. The Minister revealed that the new Defence Attache of South Africa will assume charge of his duties in Islamabad by the end of 2016. Minister Hussain welcomed the news and stated that Pakistan attached utmost importance to its relations with the friendly country of South Africa. Both Ministers also agreed to avail of the opportunity of excellent training facilities availablein Pakistan for South African army personnel. Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Ch. Jaffar Iqbal and High Commissioner Najm us Saqib accompanied the Minister.
Minister Rana Tanveer Hussain is presently in South Africa at the invitation of Minister Nqakula to attend the 2016 Africa Aerospace & Defence (AAD) Exhibition, scheduled from 14-18 September, 2016.
The Minister and his delegation witnessed the aerial and static display of Super Mushshaq aircraft along with various foreign dignitaries. A presentation on promotion of JF-17 Thunder aircraft was also organized during the Exhibition, which was attended by local and foreign media as well.
Later, Minister Rana Tanveer visited the Pakistan Pavilion beautifully decorated by Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Pakistan Ordnance Factory (POF), Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), Defence Export Promotion Organization (DEPO), National Transport Research Centre (NTRC), Pakistan Business Aviation and Liaquat Corporation. The Minister also held detailed meetings with the South African defence related companies Denel and Paramount Group and discussed bilateral defence production matters with the respective CEOs.
15 September, 2016
Hon. Rana Tanveer Hussain, Minister for Defence Production with Hon. Ms. Mapisa-Nqakula, Minister of Defence of South Africa after holding bilateral talks in Pretoria - 15 Sep, 2016
Hon. Rana Tanveer Hussain, Minister for Defence Production with Hon. Ms. Mapisa-Nqakula, Minister of Defence of South Africa along with their delegations, Pretoria - 15 September, 2016
Parliamentary Secretary Hon. Ch. Mohammad Jaffar Iqbal, Hon. Rana Tanveer Hussain and His Excellency, Najm us Saqib, High Commissioner visiting AAD-16 Exhibition in Pretoria - 15 September, 2016
Hon. Rana Tanveer Hussain being briefed at Pakistan Air Force Pavilion in AAD-2016 Exhibition in Pretoria - 15 September, 2016
Hon. Rana Tanveer Hussain and Parliamentary Secretary Hon. Ch. Mohammad Jaffar Iqbal being briefed at Pakistan Ordnance Factory’s Pavilion in AAD-2016 Exhibition in Pretoria - 15 September, 2016
Hon. Rana Tanveer Hussain and his delegation in talks with CEO of Paramount Group in Pretoria - 15 September, 2016
Wing Cdr. Shaharyar Shahi who flew the Super Mushshak aircraft during AAD-2016 Exhibition in Pretoria - 15 September, 2016
All Pakistan Missions Abroad celebrated 70th Independence Day of Pakistan
All Pakistan Missions Abroad celebrated Pakistan Independence Day with a lot of zeal and fervor. Messages of the President and the Prime Minister were also read out to the Pakistan community residing abroad. The events were attended by a large number of Pakistani community members.
ALFS - Asia-Pacific Festival and Charity Bazaar-2015
The Embassy of Pakistan participated in the Annual Asia-Pacific Festival and Charity Bazaar which was organized by the Asia-Pacific Ladies Friendship Society (ALFS) at a local hotel.
The Embassy set up its stall exhibiting Pakistani items including shawls, carpets, handicrafts of wood and marble to raise funds for welfare and disaster relief in Asian and Pacific Countries. A second Pakistani food stall served traditional cuisine, which was greatly appreciated by hundreds of visitors.
The Bazaar was graced by Her Imperial Highness Princess Hitachi who visited Pakistani stall and bought a shawl. First Lady of Japan Madame Akie Abe also visited Pakistan stall and purchased an onyx vase. Leading Pakistani educationist and philanthropist Ms. Seema Aziz, Chairperson CARE Pakistan was also present.
Chicago Consulate of Pakistan
Growing up in Pakistan we develop a keen eye to detect the negative aspect of almost everything. Over time, we sharpen our skills so much so that even the positives also look negative.
If asked about one of the worst days of your life, you as a Pakistani — aside from health-related emergencies or a financial crisis — would almost always recount the time you were humiliated in a government office while applying for a passport, filing a complaint in the police station, getting the electricity bill fixed, or updating the address at a NADRA office. To cope with the psychological trauma inflicted by clerical staff, people go through the same five stages of grief as they would upon the diagnosis of, let us say, terminal cancer. First of all is the denial phase. “How could he [the clerk] delay such a simple process?” the victims complain. It is quickly followed by anger in which the applicant tries to intimidate the official by screaming at the top of his lungs, or by threatening to take up the matter to senior executives or by warning the staff of the consequences. But, the truth is that these hollow warnings never work. People blow their fuse in theses offices everyday. Employees know the routine well and they just ignore complaints. So after the wave of anger has receded, while the file has not moved an inch forward, the reality sets in, and people cover the next three stages — depression, bargaining and acceptance — fairly quickly.
Do you know very well what I mean by bargaining? In simple terms, you negotiate a price that will satisfy everyone from the peon to the director to get the ball rolling. It does not matter to them if you took a day off from work, wasted hours on public transport and spent hundreds of rupees to file your application. If the ‘surcharge’ is not paid, your request will be denied with a strange objection on it. For example, he might say the backside of the copy of your national identification card is not attested, even though the front has been signed off; the picture looks too dark while it is not any different from other documents; or the application requires four copies of your passport while you have submitted just three.
The only way to avoid this embarrassment or paying the ‘premium’ is to by-pass them altogether by approaching a senior, more powerful officer, in the same department through your personnel connections. Sometimes you do know the right person and get lucky. But, mostly you don’t, which means you are at the mercy of maniacs waiting to pounce on your vulnerability. The worse part is that their notoriety transcends beyond the physical boundaries of Pakistan. Stories circulate about how people were ignored or mistreated by the staff in overseas embassies and consulates. Even for simple tasks like the renewal of passports, Pakistanis look for a ‘source’ to circumvent the procedure and avoid unnecessary delays or humiliation.
We expected the same treatment from the Chicago Consulate of Pakistan when a few weeks ago we applied for Pakistani visas for my children. The process, according to the consulate, takes four-five weeks. The problem was not that we did not have a few weeks, we did. It was only that we did not have more than a few months in our hands. A single objection could easily push the application back by a fortnight, spoiling our plans. We were nervous that they would tell us how we forgot to sign the first page of the form or did not get the sixth page notarised. Should we call the Consulate General and ask for help or take our chances? That was our dilemma.
After brooding over it for a couple of days, we decided to take our chances and sent the application. As an extra step of caution, we called the consulate to say we would appreciate if the application could be processed faster. Five days later, a knock on the by FedEx surprised us delivering our passports, visas stamped, no ‘surcharge’ paid, no ‘source’ required. It was unbelievable.
Impressed both by the courtesy and the efficiency of the office, I called the Consulate General of Pakistan in Chicago, Faisal Trimizi, a career diplomat and a gentleman, to share my experience. “People call me all the time to expedite their application. I tell them you don’t need my help,” he said. “Just let me know if you encounter any trouble.” He sounded confident that his staff would not delay or turn down the application without a good reason. “People from all over the US want to apply through our consulate.” He later on added. I do not doubt that because every Pakistani I have met in the last few months who had to deal with Chicago was raving about their experience. “The staff was respectful and friendly,” a friend of mine told me who had to get a new passport in 24 hours. “I got it and flew the following morning.”
I know growing up in Pakistan we develop a keen eye to detect the negative aspect of almost everything. Over time, we sharpen our skills so much so that even the positives also look negative. Probably, it is our way of giving back to the community what we get from it: stubborn unhealthy scepticism and paranoia. It is therefore understandable that that we find it hard to appreciate if only a few out of many government offices perform their duties well. Don’t get me wrong, we are very good at sycophancy but I am not talking about that. I am talking about the admiration the whole team deserves, like the Chicago Consulate of Pakistan, when they take an extra step to bring ease in your life.
The writer is a US-based freelance columnist. He tweets at @KaamranHashmi and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org