Dr Jassim Taqui

Deputy Editor (IR)

 

Widening cracks within Indian RAW

Dr Jassim Taqui Deputy Editor (IR)

The arrest of the Indian diplomat Ms Madhuri Gupta on charges of spying for Pakistan is a serious development. It shows that there is something seriously wrong with India’s external Intelligence agency RAW( Research and Analysis Wing). RAW was depicted by the local and Indian media as a formidable intelligence agency that is behind major events in South Asia. Some analysts went to the extend of claiming that RAW became the “ Mother of All Agencies,” due to strategic ties with CIA and Mossad. However, Gupta’s case and other similar cases show that there is inherent weakness in the rusted RAW. It also shows that there is no substance in shifting the blame on Pakistani agencies in matters pertaining to the failure of RAW and other Indian agencies to stop some very serious terrorist operations against India.

RAW’s recent failure is similar to the CIA failure in stopping massive terrorist campaign against the United States in 9/11. The failure of CIA and other US intelligence agencies was so comprehensive that many analysts and thinkers advocated an “ inside job” in planning or at least executing 9/11.

Earlier, Indian intelligence agencies were clueless about Kargil operation that caught the Indian army in total surprise. Similarly RAW could not penetrate the Indian separatist movements. It extensively relied on blaming Pakistan to cover up the mess inside RAW.

According to the Indian media, RAW and sensitive Indian institutions were penetrated by foreign spies. In 2006, the Delhi Police arrested SS Paul, a computer systems operator at the National Security Council(NSC). Later investigation showed that SS Paul passed on NSC documents to Rosanna Minchew, a CIA operative working under cover as a Third Secretary at the United States’ Embassy in New Delhi.

In 2004, the RAW was devastated by the defection of Rabinder Singh to the United States. Sigh was a senior officer who had handled very sensitive covert operations. The CIA recruited him following reports indicating decoding cipher traffic generated by the US mission in Islamabad. Nobody knows as to why RAW found it important to spy on US Embassy in Pakistan even as Washington and New Delhi are strategic partners. In fact the so-called “ trust- deficit” between RAW and CIA is a characteristic of the Indian intelligence in dealing with all member states of SAARC.

Lack of professionalism within RAW suppressed the role of Hindutva in 26/11 who perpetrated Babri Mosque, Godhra Train fire, Gujrat Massacre, killing of Christians, Malegoan bombing, Samjhuta Express and many other operations against minorities.

Unfortunately RAW continues to engage in disinformation campaigns, espionage and sabotage against Pakistan and other neighbouring countries. On the other hand the RAW failed in dealing with separatist movements in Manipur and Tripura in the northeast, Tamil Nadu in the south and Punjab and Kashmir in the northwestern part of the country.

RAW is in a state of decline due to poor service conditions and promotion prospects. It is finding immense difficulties including problems retaining new recruits.

Other problems that RAW face include badly needed specialists, trouble drawing talents and in-house cadre lack. RAW is chronically suffering from vision deficit in facing emerging problems.


Sudanese Freedom Fighter by Pen!

Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor IR

PROFESSOR Ibrahim Ahmed Omer, Minister of Science and Technology is a loyal son of Sudan. He is a renowned Freedom Fighter by Pen. His Jihad by pen has been inspiration to many Sudanese. He set the example by courageously opposing dictatorship when he was professor in the University of Khartoum.

These were the main features of a short and thought-provoking welcome speech given by the Ambassador of Sudan to Pakistan Mr. Daffa Allah Elhaj Ali Osman. He was speaking at a dinner he hosted at his residence in the hounour of Professor Omer.

Most certainly Mr. Osman was referring to the spiritual struggle by Professor Omer through peaceful means.

He, most probably, referred to verse 4, Chapter 96 ( The Clot) of holy Quran stating that one should seek knowledge in the name of Lord Who Teaches mankind by pen. There is also a shade of linguistic reference to scholars’ interpretation of other verses in the holy Quran emphasizing that Al-Jihad bil Qualam( Jihad by Pen) is one form of Jihad.

Professor Omar is attending COMSTECH annual meeting, which is an OIC standing committee on science and technology.

In an exclusive interview with Pakistan Observer, Mr. Omer disclosed that he was studying with the chairman of COMSTECH Professor Atta ul Rehman four decades ago at Cambridge University. Both worked hard, along with other Arabs studying at Cambridge, to build the first ever mosque in the University of Cambridge signifying the coexistence of Muslims with other religions.

Commenting on the bilateral relations in the field of Science and Technology, Mr. Omer disclosed that he discussed with the Federal Minister of Science and Technology Ms Tehmina Daultana expanding the existing agreement, to which she readily agreed.

Answering a question on how to financially resurrect COMSTECH, Mr. Omer stated that the OIC had given COMSTECH executive powers. He hoped that if member-states honour their commitment of donating certain percentage of their GDP, the annual budget of COMSTECH would rise to $ 270 million. With such budget and executive powers, COMSTECH would play a pioneering role in promoting science and technology in the Muslim World.

Speaking on the ongoing Western media war against Sudan and the alleged human rights abuse in Darfur, Mr. Omer denied those allegations and said they were totally false and fabricated. He went on to state, “In fact we are more concerned on the human rights than the European countries.”

The function was attended by Mr. Gohar Ayub, Gen. Hamid Gul, Mr. Abbdul Ghaffar Aziz, Professor Abbas Mehjoob, Professor Fateh ur Rehman Qureishi, Gen. Abdallh Osman Yousif, Mr. Osman Abu Fatima Adam, and envoys of Algeria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, South Africa, Syria and Yemen.


Gomez and friendly dinner !

Dr. Jassim Taqui
 

Islamabad: The bilateral relations between Pakistan and Cuba are irreversible. The new political dispensation in Pakistan would not only maintain these ties but would also cement them and enhance their scope.
These were the unanimous views of the guests of the Cuban Ambassador Mr. Gustavo Machin Gomes and his spouse Ms Claudia Joffre. The guests enjoyed a wonderful evening and a "friendly dinner," with the young couple.

Mr. Aziz Sarfaraz, Air Vice Marshal Abdul Rahim Yousefzai, Mrs. Yousefzai, and Ross Masood Hussain thoroughly enjoyed Cuban hospitality and the friendly atmosphere Gomez and Claudia created at their well decorated residence. You could see in the residence some original Cuban paintings, reflecting the taste of Gomez and Claudia.

The paintings open up your horizon and quietly whisper themes in your mind, soothing the atmosphere, and making the company really friendly.

The theme was the new change the nation is witnessing. The guests gave some articulate account of the event . They gave diverse account but agreed that the nation is witnessing one of the most interesting transition towards democracy and reconciliation.

One felt that special moments of delight to see that the collective will of the people produced something unique in the contemporary modern history of Pakistan. It looks like a tale on remaking the nation relying in essence on the collective will of the very nation that dreamed of a separate homeland and conceived it in the making of Pakistan.

Coming to Mr. Gomes and Claudia, one should pay compliments for them and their dedication to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries. Cuba was among the first nations who came to the rescue of Pakistan when the nation was devastated by the 2006 earthquake. The swift response and the goodwill shown by Cuba have transformed the relations to new heights.

The Cubans proved they are real friends when they extended a helping hand to the devastated victims of the earthquake. On October 14th, 2006, 6 days after the earthquake, the first group of Cuban doctors and medical workers arrived to Pakistan. It was the advance force of 2,468 members that stayed in Pakistan for around 7 months and provided medical assistance to 1.7 million people.

In February 2007, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cuba, visited Pakistan and held a meeting with high Pakistan officials. The result was unique. Cuban Government awarded 1000 scholarships of Medicine for Pakistani youth.

The young Pakistanis are already in Cuba. When they complete their studies and come back to Pakistan, they would be the best ambassadors of Cuba here.

One wishes Mr. Gomez and Claudia good luck in their mission of promoting and expanding the bilateral relations especially in the fields of science and technology, biotechnology, health, sports, education, commerce trade and culture.


National Day of Bangladesh joyfully celebrated

Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)

On the occasion of the 37th anniversary of the Independence Day and National Day of Bangladesh, Ms Yasmeen Murshed, High Commissioner of Bangladesh hosted a grand reception. The Marquee Hall of the Marriot Hotel was house full. Most envoys of the capitals, and military attaches attended the function including the Acting Dean of the Diplomatic Corps Mr. Ali Asseri.

A group of Bangladeshi students recited the National Anthems of both Bangladesh and Pakistan to set the tone of the well attended and well organized function. Since the cabinet has not yet formed, the Foreign office nominated MNA ( Rawalpindi) Mr. Hanif Abbasi , PML(N), to be the chief guest.

However, Shah Mahmood Qureishi of the PPPP, who is tipped as the next Foreign Minister stole the show. He looked extremely handsome with his elegant suit and hair style. A large number of guests , both from diplomatic community, bureaucrats and elites crowded him bombarding him with so many questions on the new political dispensation. Qureishi looked pleased, cultured and very cordial to the guests of Ms Murshed.

Also in attendance were Mr. Akram Zaki, Mr. Kabir Wasti, Mr. Shahid Kiyani, Dr.Ishrat Hussain, Gen. Assad Durrani, Gen. Talat Masood, and the elite of the civil society.

One could also notice a large number of women. This has become the feature of the parties of Ms Murtshed. She is known to champion the cause of the empowerment of women. Hence, one could see eves all around and in large number adding a special aroma to the function.

The other aspect of the function is unusually high number of people who attended the party. This is an extra-ordinary achievement for Ms Murshed considering that this is the first official function she holds in Islamabad since she has been here a few months ago.

This reflects the affinity that Ms Murshed has established very quickly with all sections of the civil society and diplomatic community. Evidently, such commitment to this highly prestigious post would positively contribute to further strengthening bilateral relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The atmosphere was tender to see women , both diplomats and from civil society, competing with men-dominated society.

The theme was the political change and the hope that the latest legislated elections have brought to the entire people of Pakistan. And despite the pessimism of a minority of critic-centric people, the majority believe that holding free and fair elections and the thumping victory of the moderate forces would bring joy, stability and prosperity to the people of Pakistan.

There is no longer that grim and tense time. Judging from the body language of the guests, one would venture to say that people were mentally relaxed, exchange jokes , pleasantries and the small talks. One could hear laughter all around and exquisite moments of joy. The forward eye can guess that people believe that time is theirs and earth is young!


Dining with the Argentinean parents of the bide

Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)

RESUMING their diplomatic activities following the wedding for their daughter Dolores to Juan Manuel Esperson on November 24, 2007 at Buenos Aires, the Argentinean Ambassador Mr. Rodolfo J. Martin- Saravia and his charming spouse Madam Susana Negri hosted a sitting dinner at their residence. The couple looked in an elated mood.

Both were smiling and interacting with their guests. The atmosphere was joyful. This time, Saravia made a very short speech over the dinner in which he welcomed the new ambassadors including the Swedish Ambassador Ms. Anna Karin Enestrom and her spouse Mr. Per Enar Enarsson and the Ambassador of Brazil Mr. Carlos Sette Camara Da Fonseca and his spouse Ms Monida. Carlos and Mindia are now regular guests of Adolfo and Susana. The couple are skilled diplomats and easily interact with others.

Among other close friend of Saravia were the Swiss Ambassador Mr. Markus Peter and his charming spouse Ms Christina. While interacting with Markus he gave me the good news of the return of his Military Attaché Dr. Hans Eberhert and his spouse Erika after spending long vacation in Switzerland . Hans and Erika are very popular among the diplomatic community. You simply love their hospitality, kindness and spirit of building bridges of understanding with Pakistani community.

This time Saravia was keen to call all his guests by name to pay tribute to them including Air Commodore( retired) Sayed Sajjad Haider, who gave everyone the good news of finishing writing a book on the 1971 war. Haider discussed many aspects of the book, which would contain some rare documents as well.

Rodolfo paid rich tribute to senior Pakistani journalists including Ms Ishrat Hayat and Ms Anjum Niaz and her spouse Mr. Jaweed Niaz.

Also in attendance were the blond American journalist Ms Gretchen Peters of ABC News and her deputy Mr. John Moore. Ms Gretchen is a senior journalist, who has the distinction of graduating from Harvard University and writing for many prestigious American newspapers. She along with Mr. Moore stole the show by their insight and experience in the complex region of South Asia, its people and the gradual social change that the entire region is witnessing. They gave some fascinating assessment of elites of the region with whom they interacted during 11 years of covering news in a very volatile region.

Adolfo and Susana were at their best. They made perfect arrangements for the dinner party in their elegant and well decorated residence. Rodolfo in particular was delighted, pointing to the picture of his daughter Dolores and her spouse Juan Manuel Esperson . Adolfo and Susana give you the best company. Their pleasing personality and kindness have made them popular among both Pak and diplomatic communities. You simply love their company and discourse.


Asseri embraces Saudi students in Lahore

Dr. Jassim Taqui

You have to be upright and set an example. Saudi Arabia looks forward to you with hope and admiration. Concentrate on your studies . You should be ambassadors to Saudi Arabia through good conduct. Always remember to avoid lewd action . You have left your country and the dear ones seeking knowledge. So excel in your pursuit and be among the best.

These were the main features of a speech delivered by the Saudi Ambassador Mr. Ali Awadh Asseri during his visit today to Lahore to meet the Saudi students there and to show that the Saudi Embassy is keenly interested in helping them in every possible way as per instruction Asseri received from very higher authorities in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking to Pakistan Observer, Asseri said that the objective behind his 12 hours visit to Lahore was to find out the difficulties faced by the Saudi students and to discussed the same with the concerned Pakistani authorities. Asseri was delighted and said that he would continue his mission of interacting with Saudi students in other Pakistani cities.

For Asseri, human interaction is the best way to have a first hand information especially when you are living overseas and confront yourself with the imminent dilemma of how to adjust yourself to different way of life, different culture and human environment. With linguistic difficulties, the problem becomes even tougher, requiring initiative, courage, will to change according to the conditions prevailing in the new environment and will power to interact positively with the suroundings.

Another feature that dominates prominently in the personality of Asseri is that he is optimist by temperament, giving him peace of mind and making him to tackle the most intricate issue with utmost ease.

He takes everything lightly through his unique style of telling jokes that enchant his audience . You can rarely find him angry though he is workaholic but he accepts criticism and always seeks to improvise. Most certainly, these have been his major additional qualities besides , of course, his diplomatic skills and special love for Pakistan that makes him very popular here.

More than 30 Saudi students are studying medicine and engineering in various Universities and colleges of Lahore.

Asseri was accompanied by the Saudi Cultural Counsellor Dr. Faiz Al-Ahmadi Abdul Hamid Al- Fatta and the Press Counsellor Mr. Hani Abdul Wahab Kashif.

During the presence of the Saudi Ambassador Asseri and his team in the city of Lahore , they visited various parts of the capital of Punjab and enjoyed its rich historic and cultural history, the pleasing company of Lahorites and life style in this fascinating city.

Asseri looks optimistic and self-confident. He hopes that with the holding of legislative elections and the national reconciliation prevailing in the political scene, the system would stabilize and the quality of life would improve tremendously. Asseri insists that Saudi Arabia has no favourite and enjoys the best of relations with all governments in Pakistan.


You feel What You Think

Dr. Jassim Taqui / Deputy Editor (IR)

Continuing with Anne Patterson’s embrace of Pak artist, the Embassy of Japan and Pakistan National Council of the Arts organized Pak-Japan Children Art Exhibition and Japanese Painting Exhibition at the National Art Gallery. All credits to the Ambassador of Japan Mr. Seiji Kojima for his active role in promoting the bilateral ties and for his interaction with DG PNC Mr. Naeem Tahir for this event, which bring the two nations closer. The paintings of the children were very powerful, thematic, imaginative and issue-centric. Some of the paintings are amazing and daring to the extent that one would never believe that these paintings were of children whose ages are between 11-12 years. The children used different techniques in painting including collage, water colour, mixed medium, color pencil, pastels, pencil sketching, crayons, markers and crayons and oil painting.

The titles of the paintings were very powerful including You Feel What You Think, The Green Kingdom, Imagination, Close UP Study, Drug Abuse, Greed is a Curse, Heaven on Earth, Pakistani Culture, Natural Melody, Time’s Opportunity, Thar Village, Pollution, Risk with Opera Winfrey quotation” I believe that one of life’s greatest risk is never daring to risk,” Unity, Eye Communication, Poetry Painting, Phoenix, Pride Hath A Fall, Miniature, Life in Desert, Green Your Days, Green Your Ways, Poverty & Discrimination, Crime, Collage Spring, Lonely Soul, Still Life, Natural Harmony, Purity, Wonder Lust, Efil Tower, Hope, Let’s Go Together ( 8 years old painter), Friendship and many others. There were large number of diplomats and art lovers including the Syrian Ambassador Mr. Riad Ismat and the Russian Ambassador Mr. Sergy Peskov who speaks perfect Arabic language and who takes keen interest in art and cultural events.

One felts that many of the Pakistani paintings were of higher standard both in themes and painting techniques. Hence, some art critics were of the opinion that there was some input by their teachers. They maintained that such input would kill the creativity of the children, self-confidence and originality. Therefore teachers and organizers should not interfere but rather build up the painting techniques through teaching and training methodology.

The exhibition also gave an opportunity to the art lovers to see the majestic building of PNC. The credit for this building definitely goes to all Pakistani artists who tried hard to convince the government to build a dignified building to preserve the rich artistic heritage of the nation. One distinctive pioneer in making this dream a reality is the renowned artist Ms Mussarrat Nahid Imam, who is a painter, writer, art critic and curator of the National Art Gallery. Imam worked hard to build the National Art Gallery and collections and struggled for a separate building for over 30 years. I have the privilege of covering her activities since early eighties. For three decades, Imam sponsored, encouraged, lectured, and promoted artists from all over Pakistan.

Imam has attained an international fame as evident from her exhibitions and official visits to Washington, Oslo, London, Bangkok, Cairo, Damascus, and Tehran. Many artists and art lover believe that she should be given the Presidential prize of Pride of Performance as she has spent the cream of her life promoting art and artists of Pakistan.


Interpreting love through poems and music

Dr Jassim Taqui / Deputy Editor (IR)

THERE is another me inside me, You I need, Come Again Whoever You are, I Am Also Your Disciple, The Song of Anatolia, The Blond Wolf, About the River Danube, No..NO, The Painting of Happiness, Nostalgia for Tomorrow, The Destiny of the Artist, Tahir and Zuhra, The Bored Man, Summer Time , Love from Kars, Drama Bridge and anonymous song.

These were the main songs of a concert by the renowned Turkish singer Ms Esin Afsar held at the Turkish Embassy. Afsar and her troupe enthralled the music lovers of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. The auditorium of the Turkish Embassy was house full. Additional seats were also put to accommodate large number of guests both from the elite society and diplomatic community.

To my mind the last song is all-time super hit Iraqi song called Hassan. It is an eternal melody of love and betrayal. The song surfaced in the fifties but Iraqis remember it even today. And when Esin Afsar sang it, I could recall the original form in Arabic since the music was almost the same.

Even as the songs were in Turkish language, the mere title, body language of Esin Afsar and beautiful music were powerful linguistic tools to give you a powerful semantic and making you live some unique moments of happiness. The songs were written by famous poets and composed by known musicians. Many of the songs were composed by Afsar herself. One poem was written by Afsar’s son in law and composed by her daughter.

The message was to interpret various forms of love through poems and music and to start a promising spring in Pakistan. The Turkish Ambassador Engin Soysal was giving you a song of love, hope and optimism even as the country continues to witness a grim and electrifying political turmoil and unprecedented power struggle.

Esin Afsar reacted lively with the poems and music in a bid to show the beauty of love. She was conveying a message that love is timeless and eternal. And once individuals enjoy the meaning of love, their society can be completely transformed.

The function started with the famous Pakistani song Dil Dil Pakistan, Jan Jan Pakistan and ended with a message from the Turkish Ambassador Engin Soysal stating that the concert testified Turkey’s deep love and affection to Pakistan.

The atmosphere was romantic with galaxy of renowned people. Everyone who matters in the field of poetry and music was at the function. Prominent among the invitees were Dr. Riaz Ismat, Dr. Saleh Jawarnah, Regis de Belenet, Kay Web Mayfield, Ina Lapel, Hasiba, Selda, Saidov Saidbeg, Irshad Ullah, Iqbal Sahfi, Dr. Masood Khan, B.A Qureishi, Hussain Qureishi, Hana Hussain, Commodore Iftikhar Shaffi, Adil Shah, Sadiah Malik Klaus Mueller and his charming spouse Gabriele Muller, Wolfgang Vogel and many others.


Anne Patterson embraces Pak artists

Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)

These works are splendid examples of the talent of some of Pakistan’s leading artists. They represent the strong and fruitful cultural and artistic ties that exist between Pakistan and the United States. Fifteen artists from Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, and Quetta have generously loaned their work for display. Every day, I enjoy living with these exquisite works. I am proud to present this extraordinary collection to you.

These were the main feature of a short speech delivered by the US Ambassador to Pakistan Ms Anne W. Patterson at a well attended function at her residence along with her spouse Mr. Patterson. This time Ms Anne Patterson has produced her best by opting for art as “Cultural Bridge” between the United States and Pakistan. Patterson is conveying a powerful message stating: When art speaks, other discourses should disappear.

The Cultural Attaché, Constance Colding Jones, served as curator for this exhibition, in cooperation with several Pakistani artists: Nahid Raza from Karachi, Bashir Ahmed from Lahore, and the Embassy’s own Raza Imtiaz, who is also an artist in his own right, a graduate from the National College of Arts.

The exhibition included some master pieces of painting of pioneer Pak artists including Nahid Raza, who is principal of the Central Institute of Arts and Crafts in Karachi , Bashir Ahmed , the Dean of the Fine Arts Department of the National College of Art in Lahore, Ayesha Durrani, who is a miniaturist from Lahore, Jamal Shah , a well-known cultural figure not only for his expression in visual arts but also for his award-winning engagement in the performing arts, Fauzia Aziz Minillah, an Islamabad-based artist, author, and illustrator, Mobina Zuberi who lives in Islamabad, Meher Afroz of Karachi , Mussarrat Nahid Imam, a painter and writer, who is also the Director of Visual Arts at the National Art Gallery, Islamabad, Ghulam Rasul of the Pakistan National Council of the Arts in Islamabad, Ghulam Mustafa, Executive Director for Punjab Council of the Arts, who is another recipient of the President’s Award for Pride of Performance, Riffat Alvi, who is the director of V.M. Art Gallery in Karachi, Noorjehan Bilgrami, who is one of the founding members of the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi and its first director, Mashkoor Raza from Karachi, Kaleem Khan from Quetta, and Ali Kazim from Lahore.

The function was attended by most of the artists along with art lovers , diplomats and envoy. Prominent among them was Dr. Ismat Riad the Ambassador of Syria to Pakistan and his charming spouse Ms Azzah Konbaz. Dr. Riad had been Deputy Minister of Culture and MD Syrian Television before coming to Pakistan. He has worked hard to strengthen the Syrian-Pak ties through cultural exchanges . Hence, he has become popular among Pakistani and diplomatic cultural circles and you rarely miss him in any cultural function.

The atmosphere was artistic indeed. Ms Anne Patterson brought the galaxy of artists, art lovers, critics, scholars and intellectuals. She has proved to be an innovative and creative envoy, who would use every aspect of human endeavour to strengthen the bilateral relations between Pakistan and the United States.

The lesson I understood from this function is that art is a very powerful tool not only for humans but also for diplomats. Appreciating art is in integral part of a fundamental thinking and willing process that can be used as creative method to derive many advantages most important of which is building bridges of understanding between nations.


Pakistan championed Egypt's cause: Mushahid

Dr. Jassim Taqui

March 5, 2008: Pakistan championed the just cause of Egypt way back in October 1984. At the OIC Summit at Casablanca, Gen. Zia ul Haq delivered an emotional speech that made the OIC end diplomatic boycott of Egypt. Most of Arab countries severed diplomatic ties with Egypt following signing Camp David Accords with Israel. Pakistan, Egypt and Turkey should combine together to be a model for the Muslim world since there are so many things in common between them. There is no truth in the notion that the United States influences the Pak decision making or its foreign policy. The so-called honeymoon between PPP and PML(N) would not last. The next prime minister is Makhdoom Amin Fahim who is a moderate person and a friend of President Pervez Musharraf.

These were the main features of comments delivered by Mr. Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a dinner he hosted for a high-level Egyptian delegation headed by Tarek El Sonoty, Head of the Diplomatic Section of Al-Ahram. The function attended by other senators including Ms Gulshan Saeed , Senator Sayed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi and Mr. Iftikhar Ullah Baber, Secretary of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee. Two former ambassadors of Pakistan to Egypt also attended including Dr. S.M. Qureishi, who regularly writes for Pakistan Observer on foreign policy issues and Mr. Tayyab Siddiqui.

Sayed paid rich tribute to the moderation of Egypt and said he took a special course in Georgetown University on the legendary Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser, whom he described as a great leader of international stature. He also paid rich tribute to late Egyptian leader Mr. Anwar El- Sadat who regained the occupied Egyptian territories in Ramadan War and restored the Arab and Muslim pride by proving the fallacy of invincibility of Israel. He also commended the Egyptian leader Mr. Muhammad Hosni Mubarak for building a modern Egypt and introducing reforms in every walk of life.

Speaking on the role of PML and its allies in the parliament, Mr. Mushahid said that his party would play a constructive role and would cooperate with the government in the fields of poverty alleviation, education, empowerment of women, protection of human rights and minorities, combating extremism and terrorism and supremacy of the parliament.

On foreign relations, Mushahid emphasized that Pakistan follows an independent foreign policy. He refuted the notion that the United States influenced Pak foreign policy by citing the example many independent foreign policy decisions taken by Pakistan that were at variance with the US foreign policy including opening up to China by Marshal Ayub Khan, pursuit of nuclear programme by all governments despite foreign pressure and insistence on IPP gas pipelines from Iran.

Speaking on relations with China, Mushahid said they were unique and friction-free. He disclosed that he would form a China Think Tank with the objective of further promoting relations between the two countries in the fields of energy, investment and industry.

Mushahid Hussain Sayed was at his best. He spoke eloquently, extempore and openly. The 6-member delegation was very much impressed by his knowledge, frankness, expertise in foreign policy and generally his friendly and good-humored style.


Admiral Mullen confers with Musharraf, Kiyani over war on terror
Dr. Jassim Taqui,Deputy Editor IR


ISLAMABAD: The Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff held talks on fighting terrorism with the President Pervez Musharraf and the COAS Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani over war on terror and how the United States would support Pakistani troops who are battling a growing insurgency along the border with Afghanistan.
Admiral Mullen shares the concern of the Pakistani authorities over this menace as evident by paying his second visit to Islamabad in less than a month.
The two visits reflect that the United States is really concerned on the rising threat of insurgency by al-Qaeda and Taliban militants both in the NWFP, tribal region and Afghanistan.
Mullen's talks took place as a suicide bombing attack at the Navy training college in Lahore that left eight people dead and 20 others wounded today according to preliminary report by the police and an Interior Ministry official.
Mullen met with President Pervez Musharraf for talks on the "regional security situation and the measures being taken to address it. The two sides also discussed the role the two countries were playing in the global war against terror.
Mullen also conferred with army chief Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani at the army headquarters in Rawalpindi. The two sides discussed matters of professional interest with particular reference to the security situation in the region.
Mullen is likely to use his current trip to discuss plans calling for 100 US personnel to train elements of the Pakistani military in counterinsurgency and intelligence gathering techniques.

The training -- to be passed on to Pakistan's border Frontier Corps force -- would leave those troops better able to cooperate with US and NATO troops in Afghanistan.
The first batch of 22 US personnel are scheduled to arrive sometime between June and October. Current plans call for the U.S. training to last two years and to be passed on to some 8,500 Frontier Corps troops.
The US Embassy did not immediately confirm the details of Mullen's meetings but said he was here to follow-up on his last visit to Pakistan in early February. When asked to comment on the visit, the Spokesperson of the US Embassy Dr. Elizabeth O. Colton stated, "He is here to continue developing the relationship military-to-military and to discuss a range of bilateral issues of mutual concern, including regional security."



Yasmeen's "comfortable" dinner !
Dr. Jassim Taqui, Deputy Editor IR

Islamabad: The atmosphere was serene in the dinner hosted by the new High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Pakistan Ms Yasmeen Murshed at her residence. This is the first diplomatic function I attended with an invitation card specifying dress as "comfortable." Linguistically speaking, by stating dress as "comfortable", Ms Murshed wanted her large number of elite of the twin cities to feel at ease and relaxed . There was no speeches and no formalities. The sitting arrangement was impressive and in the spacious garden of the residence of Ms Murshed. One really felt at home especially when Ms Murshed has gathered the galaxy of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. She herself received the guests along with the DCM Mr. Safiur Rahman and the First Secretary Mr. A.T.M. Rokebul Haque.
The pleasant surprise was when Ms Murshed introduced her distant relative Brig. (retired) Mr. Noor Hussain. At the age of 86, Mr. Hussain looked active with vivid memories about his association with the Founder of Pakistan the Quaid-i-Azam Mr. Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Hussain went on to narrate the last days of the Quaid since he was his ADC.
Prominent among the ambassadors who attended the function was Mr. Daffa Allah Elkhag Ali Osman, who is also a non-resident Ambassador of Sudan to Bangladesh. Osman was very excited to hear the story of the Quaid-i-Azam and his last days from Brig. Noor Hussain. Osman went on to urge Hussain to write down his memoirs so as the next generation should get a first hand information about the Quaid, his life, struggle and leadership qualities. There were 9 ambassadors in the function. I could spot the Ambassador of Sri Lanka Mr. W. B Dorakumbura, the Ambassador of Kazakhstan Mr. Bakhitbek Shabarbayev and the Ambassador of Tajikistgan Mr. Saidov Saidbeg Boykhonovich.
A large number of serving and retired ambassadors from Foreign Office were invited including the DG ( South Asia) Mr. Ijaz Chauhdry and D.G (Africa and the Middle East) Mr. Shahid Kiyani.
Ms Murshed invited a large number of business community including Mr. Muhammad Ijaz Abbasi, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Another notable aspect of Ms Murshed's "comfortable dinner" was the presence of a large number of women from NGOs and Civil Society. This should be in line with Murshed's interests since she worked hard to ensure the empowerment of women and also in the field of education. Additionally , Ms Murshed served earlier as Minister of Women and Children and also as Minister of Social Welfare. This should be good news for women folk and those involved in the empowerment of women.
With her illustrious career, diplomatic skills and kindness, one hopes that Ms Murshed would further promote the bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries.

US Embassy denies allegation of Gen. Hamid Nawaz

Dr. Jassim Taqui, Deputy Editor IR

Islamabad: The Spokesperson of the Embassy of the United States Dr. Elizabeth O. Colton denied the allegation of the caretaker Interior Minister Gen. Hamid Nawaz published in a section of press( not in Pakistan Observer) . The U.S. Embassy described as "untrue" recent claims made by caretaker Interior Minister concerning the United States. The statement further said, " American Ambassador Ms Anne W. Patterson today telephoned Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz to express her grave concern over his remarks made in a television interview."
It is recalled that the caretaker minister of interior in recent interview to Arab television had said that the intelligence agencies of United States, India and Afghanistan were involved in lawlessness in Pakistan. An abstract of the interview was carried by a section of Urdu newspapers.
However, the statement of Maj. Gen. Hamid Nawaz goes at variance with another statement by the spokesman of President Pervez Musharraf Gen. Rashid Qureshi who commented to PTV on alleged statements by Senator Joseph Biden , which was interpreted as giving the impression that Washington was calling for a safe exit for Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf.
Maj. Gen. Rashid Qureshi said , "This is absolutely false. Biden did not say anything like that. He issued an immediate denial and said he never called on the Pakistani leader to step down. Qureshi quoted Biden as saying , "I have been reported to have said that I called on Musharraf to step down. This is totally wrong. The Pakistani leader made it clear to us ( Senators Joseph Biden, John Kerry, Chuck Hagel) that he understands his role as a President" and that "the parties should look forward and not backwards" and that "none of us called for him to resign."
Similarly the Bush Administration had described President Pervez Musharraf as " America's best friend in the war against al-Qaeda and its extremist allies in this region."
In fact the US President Mr. George W. Bush spoke eloquently of Gen. Musharraf on February 21. Said Bush, ""There was a victory for the people of Pakistan and that is, there were elections held that have been judged as being fair. And so I appreciate the fact that President Musharraf has done exactly that which he said he was going to do. He said he'd hold elections, he said he would get rid of his emergency law. And so it's now time for the newly elected folks to show up and form their government."
Additionally, there exists a formal mechanism on intelligence sharing between Pakistan, the United States and Afghanistan in discussing the difficulties in the fight against terrorists. This is called A Tripartite Commission of Afghanistan, Pakistan and NATO. In line with this mechanism, we have seen a large number of US military and intelligence officials traveling to Pakistan. Almost all gave statements underlining the importance of Pakistan in the fight against terror.
On February 9, 2008 Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff visited Pakistan and stated , " Pakistan is a key ally in the war against terror," describing his visit to Pakistan as " the most important one in my military career." He also commended the Pak Armed Forces and appreciated their sacrifices in the war against terror."
Finally, the Foreign Office and a section of media have been very unfair to the US Ambassador Ms Anne Patterson, who has worked hard to bring about national reconciliation. And most probably all those positive statements appreciating the role of Pak Army in the war against terror are the outcome of input from Ms Anne Patterson. There have been so many reports and leaks from the Foreign Office, which lack basic understanding of the American system and the importance of the US Ambassador in shaping the US political and military policies towards Pakistan. Such attitude is uncalled for and is against the national interests of Pakistan, which should strengthen ties and build bridges of understanding with all nations especially the United States.

India to cooperate with Pakistan in coal projects: Pal
Dr. Jassim Taqui, Deputy Editor (IR)


India is energy deficient. So is Pakistan. The two countries should cooperate in the field of energy development. India has proposed helping Pakistan in developing coal reserves, which are of high quality. India is developing nuclear , hydrogen fusion energy and renewable energy.
These were the main features of a lecture delivered by the Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan His Excellency Satyabrata Pal. He was a guest speaker of The Oxbridge Lecture for the month of February. The function was held at the auditorium of Sir Syed Memorial Society.
Mr. Pal spoke assertively and scholarly. He eloquently and diplomatically answered all questions put to him by scholars, intellectuals and diplomats. Pal was confident and positive both during the lecture and question-answer session. Alarge number of diplomats attended the functions including the envoys of Bangladesh, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, South Africa, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Over- viewing the energy situation in India with statistics and policy decisions, Pal held that India had joined the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor(ITER) in an effort to increase India's nuclear fusion technology capability.
ITER is based on magnetic confinement fusion. It is research engineering proposal for an experimental project that will help to make the transition from today's studies of plasma physics to future electricity-producing fusion power plants. It will build on research done with devices such as DIII-D, EAST, TFTR, Joint European Torus, JT-60, and T-15, and will be considerably larger than any of them.
On November 21, 2006, the seven participants formally agreed to fund the project. The program is anticipated to last for 30 years 10 for construction, and 20 of operation and cost approximately €10 billion (US$14.6 billion), which would make it one of the most expensive modern techno-scientific mega projects. It is based in Cadarache, France. It is technically ready to start construction and the first plasma operation is expected in 2016.
Answering a question on Pakistan's involvement in ITER, Pal said that the participation depended on investment in the project and that Pakistan had to "invest in the project and to prove its scientific expertise".
Giving a brief answer on a complex question regarding the fate of the nuclear deal with the United States, the IPP and the recent visit of the US Secretary of Defence Mr. Robert Gates to India, Pal said, "We would like to go ourself. Additionally, there is a large segment of Indians against the nuclear deal with the United States." Pal maintained that the visit of Mr. Gates to New Delhi was a separate issue and was not linked to the nuclear deal with the US. On the IPP, Pal hinted that India was reluctant to go ahead with the peace pipeline due to security concern and prices of the natural gas. However, he held that India was still interested, describing it as "long-term" project.
The atmosphere was congenial and academic. Pal stole the show with his impressive presentation and friendly attitude. The impression of Mr. Pal on the audience was so powerful that made Mr. Irshad Ullah Khan, Secretary General of Sir Sayed Memorial Society state in his concluding words of thanks, " We thank India for sending the best minds to Pakistan."



EU submits proposals to ensure transparent elections

Dr. Jassim Taqui

Deputy Editor IR


Islamabad: The EU has welcomed the public commitment made by President Pervez Musharraf that elections in Pakistan to National and Provincial Assemblies on 18 February will be held in a free, fair, transparent and peaceful manner. The EU welcomed that technical preparations for the polls were on schedule. The EU has deployed an election observation mission to Pakistan which will offer an independent assessment of the conduct of the elections in accordance with international standards for democratic elections.
At the same time, the EU expressed concern about a number of issues relating to the conduct of the elections. The EU urged the authorities to take all possible steps in the remaining days to improve the conditions in which the elections are being held, including preventing the local government officials to misuse the State assets.
According to EU , the transparency of the electoral process will be essential to restoring public confidence and ultimate progress towards national reconciliation. This can be promoted through an open and consultative election administration, the strict neutrality of caretaker governments at national and provincial levels, and freedom for the media to cover all aspects of the election process.
The EU has also appreciated assurances given by the election administration that all counting and tabulation processes are fully open to scrutiny by candidates, their agents and observers. However, in order to ensure transparency of the results process, EU observed that it was vital that the authorities issue and enforce instructions to display detailed results in polling stations, immediately after counting is complete, and to publicly display a detailed breakdown of polling station results at the constituency level as soon as the tabulation process is complete. The EU also suggested to swiftly post the detailed polling station results on the Internet.
The EU also urged the Pakistan authorities to ensure that complaints and appeals are dealt with in a timely, effective and transparent manner. EU suggested that there should be access to an independent means of redress. The EU renewed its call for the immediate release of political detainees including judges and lawyers as an essential step in restoring confidence in the independence of the judiciary, rule of law and democratic process. The EU held that such a step would represent an important step in creating a free and open pre-electoral environment.



National Day of Brunei Darussalam celebrated
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor IR



Islamabad: On the occasion of the 24th National Day of Brunei Darussalam, the High Commissioner Mr. Pehin Colonel( retired) Abdul Jalil Ahmad and Madam Hajah Umi Kalthum Binti Pehin Dato Haj Mohammad hosted a grand reception at Shamadaan Hall, Serena Hotel. The Chief guest was Professor A.J. Khan, Federal Minister of Population planning and his spouse. Upon the arrival of the chief guest the national anthems of Pakistan and Brunei Darussalam were played. On both sides of the Shamadaan Hall, there were two big screens showing the development achieved by Brunei Darussalam in every walk of life.
Both the chief guest Mr. Khan and the High Commissioner Mr. Amad mixed freely with the guests. A large number of diplomats from Muslim , Arab, and Western nations attended the function. Prominent among the envoys was the Dean of Diplomatic Corps Mr. Sapar Berdiniyazov, the Deputy Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and the Dean of Arab diplomats Mr. Ali Awadh Asseri and the Dean of the African Union Mr. Abdu M. Heggi.
Mr. Asseri looked cheerful for obtaining a Master Degree in International Relations. His master thesis was discussed at the National Defence University (NDU) . Asseri did well in defending his thesis and impressed his examiner and the audience. He obtained 97 percent marks for excellent thesis he presented on the Saudi Role in Fighting Terrorism. Asseri is planning of publishing his thesis both in English and Arab language.
You could also spot Mr. Heggi who has just come from Eritrea after spending long holiday at home. There were also large number of diplomats, intellectuals and civil and military officials.
The atmosphere was serene. People have the opportunity to meet with diplomats after a long interval in which the situation was intense due to elections and post-election scenario . Most diplomats were relieved for holding a peaceful, free and fair elections. However, the main theme of discussion was : who would become the prime minister and the nature of the coming coalition. The interesting aspect is that none could give any prediction. Some people were also speaking of a "dark horse." Other diplomats were drawing parallel between the PPP and PML(N). Many were of the views that the hung parliament has produced some very complicated political situation that warrants compromise, co-existence, moderation and wisdom.



National Day of Kuwait celebrated
Dr. Jassim Taqui, Deputy Editor IR


Islamabad: On the occasion of the 47th National Day of the State of Kuwait, the Ambassador and Mrs. Aziz Al- Dehani hosted a grand reception at Shamadaan Hall, Serena Hotel. The chief guest was the Federal Minister of Human Rights Ansar Barni along with four Federal Ministers including Minister of Information Mr. Nisar Memon, Minister of Labour Mr. Nisar Gaman , Minister of Commerce Mr. Shahzadah Munnu and Minister of Minority Affairs Mr. Raj Tridiv Roy . A large number of envoys and diplomats from Arab , Muslim and Western world attended including the Dean of Diplomatic Corps Mr. Sapar Berdiniyazov, the Deputy Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and the Dean of Arab diplomats Mr. Ali Awadh Asseri and the Dean of the African Union Mr. Abdu M. Heggi.
The elegantly dressed and smiling American Ambassador Ms Anne Patterson was the center of attraction. Her policy of promoting national reconciliation seem to be a success though she never speaks about it. Throughout the function Ms Patterson was surrounded by diplomats, officials and representatives of print and electronic media. Ms Anne Patterson is very popular in diplomatic function due to her soft discourse , kindness and apt handling of people. I asked her spouse , Mr. Patterson, as to what is the secret behind Ms Anne's popularity? He quickly said, "she listens attentively to everyone."
In an exclusive interview with Pakistan Observer, Mr. Al- Dehani paid rich tribute to Pakistan for taking active part in the liberation of Kuwait along with coalition forces in 1991. He also commended Pakistan in de-mining the liberated Kuwait, showing the real spirit of brotherhood and friendship. Speaking on the bilateral relations, Al-Dehani said that the bilateral relations was growing in every field. He particularly mentioned the increasing number of skilled Pakistani manpower , who are taking active role in the development of Kuwait. Al-Dehani was very pleased with the turnout of large number of people. In fact Shamadaan Hall was House full.
Al-Dehani extended his thanks to the people of Pakistan for their goodwill and support to the people of Kuwait during the invasion and for taking part in the celebration of the National Day that marks the independence of Kuwait in 1961. He said the celebration includes public meetings, a firework display and people getting together to eat, drink, sing and dance, and generally celebrate their national identity. Traditional dress is usually worn for the occasion.
This year , Kuwait celebrates its 47th National Day and 17th Liberation Day amidst more media and press freedom. Kuwait is ranked in the first place among Arab states in freedom of expression .
The diversity of media channels is widening in Kuwait, where democracy prevails. What distinguishes press in Kuwait is that print media is owned by individuals and there is no censorship, and thus reporters and columnists can express their opinions and views freely.
Moreover, the private newspapers and satellite channels are monitoring the government's performance. They also provide a forum for the people to discuss their issues and make their voices heard.
There was a festive mood in the function. The theme among the guests was the future cabinet and a possible transformation in the political dispensation. Diplomats were flooded with so many rumours that they keep wondering as what is next ?!


Admiral Mike Mullen on three-day official visit
Defends continued US military aid to Pakistan
Dr. Jassim Taqui, Deputy Editor IR



Islamabad: The US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff is paying a three official visit. He would hold talks with high military officials on military cooperation between the two countries. His visit comes at a time when the Senate Armed Services Committee today requested a report on the effectiveness of US -funded Pakistani operations against an insurgency spreading along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Mullen is known by his pro-Pakistan stance in the Pentagon.
The US Senators appealed to the Pentagon's top civilian and military officials for further analysis of the military aid during a hearing today, which convened a day after the top U.S. intelligence official described Pakistan as facing an existential crisis due to a spike in deadly terrorist attacks over the past year.
Appearing before the panel today, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates echoed concerns that Director of National Intelligence John M. (Mike) McConnell expressed yesterday before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
"I think it's a fairly recent development and probably was brought home most vividly to them by the assassination of Mrs. Bhutto, that this is a serious threat," Gates said, referring to the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto following a Dec. 27 political rally.
Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed asked Gates if he agrees with McConnell's assessment that al Qaeda, using Pakistan's federally administrated tribal areas as a safe haven, is growing in its capacity to attack regional U.S. forces.
"I think that (he) is correct in saying that al Qaeda is taking advantage of the safe havens on the Pakistani side of the Afghan border to expand and train for attacks," the US secretary said. "There's clearly no doubt that they have the intent of attacking the United States, and frankly, I think that's one of the reasons why you're seeing a major push of equipment into Pakistan over the next 24 months."
Pakistan's military relies on Washington for roughly a quarter of its entire $4 billion budget. There have been storied, denied by Pakistan, stating "much of the funding appropriated to bolster the Pakistani military's efforts against al Qaeda and Taliban extremists is being misused."
Gates told the senators that U.S. military aid has supported some 90 Pakistani army operations and allows about 100,000 troops to be positioned in Pakistan's northwest region. "Based on the information available to me, I think they are using U.S. funds appropriately," he said, disputing allegations made by section of US media.
Gates said Pakistanis must first gain validation from the U.S. embassy in Islamabad that an operation supports U.S. military and security objectives. Subsequently, U.S. Central Command validates its military legitimacy and cost before the Defense Department provides final authorization.
The committee agreed with the secretary's suggestion that Navy Adm. William J. Fallon, commander of U.S. Central Command, prepare a report on the U.S. investment in Pakistan's army. Senators asked that Fallon prepare the findings before his expected appearance before the panel in March.
Navy Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told senators their request is timely, given that threats emanating from Pakistan are "expanding and turning inward." Mullen said he had had specific conversations with Fallon on the effectiveness of U.S.-subsidized Pakistani operations, noting to the panel the importance of continued financial support.
Mullen is a professional soldier. He commanded three ships: the gasoline tanker USS Noxubee (AOG 56), the guided missile destroyer USS Goldsborough (DDG 20), and the guided missile cruiser USS Yorktown (CG 48).
As a Flag Officer, Adm. Mullen commanded Cruiser-Destroyer Group 2, the George Washington Battle Group, and the U.S. 2nd Fleet/NATO Striking Fleet Atlantic.
Ashore he has served in leadership positions at the Naval Academy, in the Navy's Bureau of Personnel, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and on the Navy Staff. He was the 32nd Vice Chief of Naval Operations from August 2003 to October 2004.
His last operational assignment was as Commander, NATO Joint Force Command Naples/Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe.
Adm. Mullen is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School and earned a Master of Science degree in Operations Research from the Naval Postgraduate School. He became the 28th Chief of Naval Operations in July 2005.


Iran opposes unilateralism
Dr. Jassim Taqui, Deputy Editor IR


There are deep religious, cultural and regional commonalities between Iran and Pakistan . The future bilateral ties are solid and positive. Iran supports Pakistan in the fight against terrorism. We need to further broaden political, parliamentary, commercial, cultural and economic relations. In a quarter century struggle, Iran established a political system based on a delicate balance between Islamic and historical identity and exigencies of modern institutions of governance. Geography plays important role in foreign policy formulation. Iran is the only country, which connects energy-resource rich areas of the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea. It borders 15 countries. Three major wars in Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq and situation in the Middle East indicate Iran is located in an uneasy security environment.
These were the main features of public talks entitled "Iran's Middle East Policy" by Dr. Manouchehr Mohammadi, Deputy Foreign Minister for Education and Research, Islamic Republic of Iran. The talk was organized by the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI). Mr Inam ul Haque, caretaker Foreign Minister and chairman, ISSI, was the chief guest. The Director General of ISSI Dr. Shireen Mazari acted as moderator.
Large number of scholars, intellectuals and diplomats attended including the envoy of India, Cuba, Korea, Argentine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mohammadi highlighted that Muslim countries had been the biggest victims of terrorism. Mr Inam ul Haque affirmed Pakistan's support for Iran's nuclear programme and highlighted how Iranian negotiations with the IAEA have been satisfactory.
Speaking on the main features of Iranian Foreign Policy, Mohammadi maintained that it sought to affirm Iranian identity, which was a product of an interaction between Persian culture and Islam. Further, he stated that Iranian foreign policy was based on multilateralism with an outlook that emphasises the importance of the Muslim World. In addition, Mohammadi talked about the historical reality of Western plots against the nations of the Muslim World.
Dr Mohammadi called for a withdrawal of all foreign forces from Iraq. He held that the violence and increase of terrorism in Iraq was a proof of the American's failure and that security affairs should be handed to the democratically elected government of Iraq advocating his confidence in Iraq's ability to provide security and stability.
On Afghanistan, Mohammadi said that both Pakistan and Iran shoulder joint responsibility to establish peace and stability in the region highlighting the need for mutual co-operation between states in dealing with drug trafficking and terrorism.
Concerning the Middle East, Mohammadi stated that there was a great moral confusion with regards to current discourses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict expressing his concern for the current situation of Palestinians in Gaza. He condemned the crimes of the Zionist regime against the Palestinians.
In the Question and Answer section, Mohammadi said that in Islam, sects did not exist, only different schools of thought, and that the current sectarianism in Iraq was a product of foreign intervention. He pointed out that there were no problems between Sunnis and Shiites in Iran and that as governor general of Sistan Baluchistan he had not dealt with one case of sectarian violence. He once again reiterated the connection beween sectarianism and foreign hegemonic plans using the example of Iraq and Lebanon.
Mohammadi also denied that Iran was assisting the Taliban expressing the opinion that it was historically the US that supported the Taliban not only to counter the Soviet invasion but also to deter the spread of the Iranian revolution. He said that Afghanistan had been a graveyard for empires and that the US entered a quagmire in Afghanistan. He pointed that the US had merely made this accusation as an excuse to cover up failure in Afghanistan confirmed by the resurgence of the Taliban.
In answering a question on Iran's theocratic system, Mohammadi described Iran as a "Theo-Democracy" and that the existence of elections and choice between the two political factions of reformists and fundamentalists were proof of Iran's democratic credentials. He continued by highlighting the fact that Iran's government had always been chosen by the people and that no group or institution dictated to the Iranian people as compared to the way powerful lobby groups function in the US. He presented the Iranian political system as a successful marriage between democracy and religion.
The Director General of the ISSI, Dr Shireen Mazari concluded the talk by thanking Dr Mohammadi and said that there was scope for improvement between the two nations. She pointed out the success of the Iranian revolution in surviving the Western-backed invasion from Saddam Hussein and that the revolution has the support of the Iranian people, a reality which the West still failed to understand. She expressed her disappointment of Pakistan's inability to unite with states such as Iran to provide security in the region and keep out extra-regional forces. She finished by highlighting the need to resolve differences and to continue bilateral relations between Pakistan and Iran.


US strategic partnership with Pakistan to continue
Dr. Jassim Taqui, Deputy Editor IR



Islamabad: Pakistan is a key ally in the war against terror. This visit is the most important one in my military career. We are working hard to build partnership in the war against terror. We commend the Pak Armed Forces and appreciate their sacrifices in the war against terror. We respect the sovereignty of Pakistan. We would never in anyway attack or invade Pakistan. I believe that Pakistan's military had secured the country's nuclear arsenal. I'm very comfortable that nuclear weapons are secure and that proper procedures are in place. I'm not concerned that they are going to fall into the hands of any terrorists.
These were the main features of a crowded press briefing by Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff held today at Serena Hotel. Large number of print and electronic media both domestic and foreign attended the press conference. Ambassador Ms Ann Patterson, Counsellor of Public Affairs Ms Kay Web Mayfield and other top officials of the US Embassy also attended. Dr. Elizabeth O. Colton, Press Attaché and Spokesperson of the US Embassy acted as a moderator.
Admiral Mullen was positive, sharp, focused, serious and in full command during question-answers session. He answered all the questions except an irrelevant one on "political talks" with the Pak military leaders, which he dismissed by stating that he held no political discussions. Admiral Mullen seemed comfortable with his talks with the top leadership including President Pervez Musharraf, Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani, Gen. Tariq Majeed and Gen. Khalid Kidwai. He also recalled his earlier visit to Pakistan in April last year, when he was the Naval Chief of the United States.
Admiral Mullen started the press briefing by offering his condolences on the February 7 crash of the Pak helicopter in South Waziristan, killing 7 senior military leaders. He stated that the tragic incident showed how dangerous was the business of the armed forces. Mullen, in the process, commended the Armed Forces of Pakistan and their sacrifices in the war against terror. He described the situation in the border area "very , very tough" stating that both nations were the victims of terrorism and extremism.
The top US military commander maintained that the threat of Islamic extremism was growing in Pakistan and that the country's leadership was keenly aware of the challenge facing the nation. He said that much of the discussion centered on the situation along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, where Pakistani forces have been battling Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters.
Answering a question on his talks with top military leadership, Mullen said that the discussion was focused on the border areas. He described the threat in the border areas as "going up," and expressed his concern about that. He went on to state, "We are both concerned about that. Certainly in my meetings today, all the leadership expressed concern about being able to eliminate that threat over time." He reiterated that the situation in the border regions was very grim and that Pakistani forces "are making very real sacrifices in this war."
Mullen declined to answer a question published by section of Western media that Mullah Omar was in Balochistan by stating that he was not aware of the report.
Commenting on the strategic partnership between the United States and Pakistan, Mullen stated that military to military relationship, training and military assistance to Pakistan would continue. He confirmed that the military assistance of the United States to Pakistan since 2001 was "focused in right areas," and that while reviewing in more details how the money was spent he would like "to see the conditions minimized."
Answering a question on involving Taliban in the peace talks, Mullen dismissed the proposal on the near term stating , "lethal enemies would not cease."
Earlier, Mullen thanked the COAS Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani on extending this invitation and said that he was encouraged by his steps in fighting terrorism. Mullen three-day visit, is his first since becoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs last year. He travels to the city of Peshawar on Sunday to meet with commanders of the Pakistani 11 Corps, which is fighting in the border area.


The Dean honours Mazzottas
Dr. Jassim Taqui, Deputy Editor IR


Islamabad: "The Italian Ambassador Roberto Mazzotta and his spouse Paola Passerini Mazzotta have been all around. They together attended every function. They showed that they continue to be in love and ever inseperable," these were some most romantic comments by the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps Mr. Sapar Berdiniyazov in a farewell party he also arranged to two other ambassadors. However, the Ambassador of UAE Mr. Ali Muhammad Hamad Al- Shamsi could not attend since he was in Karachi to receive his President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zaid. The Charge d' Affaires of Denmark Mr. Finn Theilgaard was quickly recalled by his government. Hence, the Mazzottas were the shining stars and the center of attraction.
As usual, the Berdiniyazov was at his best with his sharp comments, witty style and bossy command to all and sundry: pay courtesy calls to each other, interact with your colleagues, pay your dues to the Dean Office… The Dean was, however, full of praise to Roberto and his spouse. He kept on counting their contribution to promoting the bilateral relations, their active involvement in diplomatic circles, their commitment to their job and social interaction. In the process, the Dean also conveyed his forgiveness to the two absent envoys and appreciated their role in promoting the bilateral ties with Pakistan. He was smiling, forgiving and in a jovial mood !
" Thank you Dean. Let everyone knows that fifty percent of my success is due to my fifty percent," answered back Roberto looking at his spouse Paola, who looked pleased, smiling, expressing her joy with some beautify body language.
Mazzotta went on to highlight the transformation he worked hard to bring about in bilateral relations during his tenure. This includes substantial increase in the volume of trade from 650 million EU in 2003 to over one billion EU in 2007. Roberto also highlighted the Italian investment in the fields of gas, transportation, communication, auto industry and tourism. Besides, Roberto contributed to signing bilateral agreements on cooperation in science and technology, culture and anti-narcotics.
Large number of envoys attended this function, showing the popularity and respects Mazzottas enjoy among the diplomatic community.
Despite the tragic death of the US Diplomat Mr. Keith C. Ryan, the US Ambassador Ms Anne Patterson attended the function. Envoys crowded around her offering their condolences and asking her many questions. Anne looked composed, courageous and self-confident. She answered all queries in a calm , diplomatic and confident manner.
The other person who was introduced with a big bang was the High Commissioner of Bangladesh Ms Yasmeen Murshed. She was very keen to know what Diplomatic Focus wrote about her before landing in Islamabad. Later the write up was faxed to her. With her rich political and academic background , Ms Murshed is expected to play a match-winning inning during her stay here.


Lieberman Reassured by Gen. Kidwai's briefing on safety of nukes
Dr. Jassim Taqui, Deputy Editor IR


Islamabad: I am reassured and impressed by the briefing of Gen. Khalid Kidwai on the safety of Pak nuclear weapons. I will communicate the same to "some" members of the US Congress who expressed concern about nuclear weapons. Gen. Kidwai is a professional and patriotic soldier. Both President and Prime Minister assured that elections would be held on February 18 and would be free, fair and transparent. I came here to reaffirm that both parties of the Congress are keen to promote broad-based and long-term relationship with Pakistan. I also contacted the spouse of late Chairperson of PPP and expressed my condolences with him and members of his family.
These were the main features of the press briefing by US Senator Mr. Joseph Lieberman, Chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, which is responsible for the oversight of the Department of Homeland Security and assuring the efficiency and effectiveness of the Federal Government. The crowded press briefing was held at Serena Hotel and supervised by Ms Kay Webb Mayfield, Counsellor for Public Affairs, US Embassy. Dr. Elizabeth O. Colton, Spokesperson of the US embassy and Press Attaché acted as a moderator while Ms Megan Ellis coordinated the press conference as Assistant Press Attaché.
Mr. Lieberman spoke confidently and in a highly positive and constructive tone with an implicit warning of the grave consequences if elections were not held in a free, fair, transparent and credible manner.
He started his briefing by informing the press on his meetings with almost everyone who matters in Pakistan including President, Prime Minister, cabinet members, representatives of the supreme court, civil society, political parties and high ranking military officers.
Speaking on the latest statements by US presidential candidates, Lieberman conceded that there existed disagreement but not a split in the bilateral relations and considered such "moments of disagreements" natural between the allies. He, however, said that the United States and Pakistan shared values and common interests.
Lieberman described the US relations with Pakistan as "very important," and said that the American assistance to Pakistan would continue "as ally and in the national interests of the United States" provided that the government of Pakistan continues to uphold the common values especially in adhering to the principle of freedom of the press and civil rights, and holding free, fair, transparent and credible elections, while answering redundant questions from the press.
Answering another question he said that he raised the question of lifting ban on two TV stations with President Pervez Musharraf and stated that the President promised to consider his request.
Attempting to explain the thinking among members of the Congress, Lieberman stated that questions pertaining to limiting civil rights were very serious in the US Congress and that he attempted to tone-down the language of the bills in the US Congress on these issues.
Elaborating on his talks with President and Prime Minister, he said that both spoke with clarity and force that elections would be held on February 18 and would be free and fair. Lieberman highlighted the consequences if the elections were not transparent both in Pakistan and on bilateral relations. Said Lieberman "Consequences in Pakistan would be more division. In the United States, the Congress would undoubtedly take some action against Pakistan." Taking an optimistic note, Lieberman noted that Pakistan was passing through "difficult and controversial moments but these could be a source of strength."
Speaking on the situation in the border areas, Lieberman said that the United States and Pakistan were cooperating to defeat extremism.
Answering a question on the assassination of late Chairperson of PPP, Ms. Benazir Bhutto, Lieberman said that his visit to Pakistan was not BB specific. He said the US would continue to work with the Govt. of Pakistan, but our relationship would be with the people of Pakistan. He reiterated that the US administration did not favor any particular political party and was interested in fairness and transparency of the upcoming legislative election since they determine the future, cohesion and stability of the people of Pakistan.
Commenting on the fight against terrorism, Lieberman stated that the ongoing cooperation between the two countries on fighting terrorism would continue. While disagreeing with some policies of the Bush administration, Lieberman supported the US policy on Iraq and Afghanistan in national interest. He conceded that the war in Iraq was badly managed for three years but noted that visible changes were introduced. He predicted that Al-Qaeda in Iraq would suffer a humiliating defeat in the near future.
Earlier, Lieberman talked briefly on his visit to Afghanistan. He said that he was impressed by the positive development in the bilateral relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan.


Oxbridge lecture highlights poverty and character
Dr. Jassim Taqui, Deputy Editor IR


Islamabad: At this critical juncture of the history of Pakistan, we need to address the poverty issue that is behind all social ills. We have to address all forms of poverty: economic, educational, political, intellectual, sentimental, perceptional, social and ideological. Various forms of poverty are responsible for intolerance, extremism, terrorism, sectarian violence and lack of progress and development.
These were the main feature of a lecture delivered by Mr. Irshad Ullah Khan, Rhodes Scholar and Secretary General of Sir Sayed Memorial Society. Members of the society, thinkers, intellectuals and diplomats also attended the lecture. Prominent among the envoys who grace the occasion were the Indian High Commissioner Mr. Satyabrata Pal and the Swedish Ambassador Ms Anna Karin Enestrom.
Mr. Khan urged the rich to invest on wide scale in education , health and empowerment of women through charity on a wide scale to contributed in the poverty alleviation side by side with the public sector. He urged all political parties to introduce land reform and to fight feudal system that enslaves people and deprive them of their basic fundamental human rights.
The lecture generated a lively debate especially from Mr. Iqbal Muhammad Shafi, President of The Sir Sayed Memorial society and a contemporary of the founder of Pakistan Quaid-i Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah(RA). Mr. Sahfi summarized the real issue by the lack of adherence to the teaching of the Quaid . He lamented the planners for failure to inculcate the spirit of "character" in our education system. To remind everyone of the responsibility to follow the guidance of the Quaid-i-Azam, Mr. Shafi reproduced from his memory the famous statement of the Quaid, " Education does not merely mean academic education. You have to build the Character of our future generations which means Highest Sense of Honour, Integrity, Selfless Service to the Nation and a Sense of Responsibility."

Saudi Embassy denies providing security to Nawaz Sharif
Dr. Jassim Taqui, Deputy Editor IR


Islamabad: The Saudi Embassy in Islamabad has denied news items published in a section of press, not in Pakistan Observer, that Saudi Arabia was providing security for the former prime minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif.
A press release issued by the Saudi Embassy in Islamabad has stated that neither the Government of Pakistan nor any individual including the former Prime Minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif had asked Saudi Arabia to provide security. The statement went on to say, " While Pakistan's unity, solidarity and sovereignty remain a priority consideration with Saudi Arabia, and while it would do every thing possible to extend its total and unflinching support, it has full confidence in the expertise and ability of the Government of Pakistan to look after these matters."
While reiterating full support to the efforts to secure stability, security and development in the country, the press release stated that, whenever called upon, Saudi Arabia would stand with the leadership, the government and the people of Pakistan as a true and time-tested friend and brother.
In an exclusive interview with Pakistan Observer, the Saudi Ambassador Ali Awadh Asseri was relaxed in his spacious and elegant office. He spoke candidly on the bilateral relations and expressed confidence that the nation would overcome the present critical stage. Speaking on the bilateral relations, Asseri stated that the ties between the two countries were very cordial, special and unique. He went on to state that the relationship was given a special thrust following the visit of the Custodian of the two Harams King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al- Saud and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Sultan. He recalled that the two sides had signed five comprehensive agreements on promoting the cooperation between the two countries in virtually every field especially political, economic, trade and investment.
Speaking on the warmth of the relations , Asseri maintained, " My residence is not merely the Saudi House. It is also a " Pakistani House" where leaders of all political parties including Opposition , and high civil and military officials meet at various occasions and in a very congenial atmosphere that reflects harmony, unity and solidarity of all segments of the Pak society." He reiterated that Saudi Arabia does not side with any particular party, adding "we deal with whosoever selected by the people of Pakistan."
Asseri emphasized the importance of tolerance and mutual accommodation and said that difference of opinion and diversity are a blessing for any nation since this would lead to a healthy evolutionary process and the elective uplift of the society.




A farewell party to Shahid Kamal
Dr. Jassim Taqui, Deputy Editor IR


Islamabad: In a high profile party, the Ambassador of Argentine Mr. Rodolf J. Martin Saravia, paid rich tribute to Ambassador Shahid Kamal, Additional Foreign Secretary( American) and Mrs. Samina Kamal on the occasion of his appointment as ambassador of Pakistan to Germany. Elite of Foreign Office, Diplomatic Crops and business community attended the party including the British High Commissioner Robert Brinkley, Mrs. Mary Brinkley, High Commissioner of Canada Mr. David B. Collin, Mr. Peter Bodde, DCM, the Embassy of the United States, Tariq Osman Haider, Ms Reihana Haidar, Secretary, Scientific and Technology Research Mr. Parveez Butt, Director General( America) Sohail Mahmood, Director General, IISS Dr. Shireen Mazari, Zibber Mohiuddin, President and Country Manager of Ericsson, and Nasser Jaffer, Chief Executive of Jaffer Brothers ( Private ) Limited.
Saravia highlighted the pioneering role played by Shahid Kamal in promoting the relations with Argentine and how helpful he had been in brining a transformation to the bilateral relations. Saravia promised that next year, there would be many joint projects between the two countries. He disclosed that a senior diplomat from Argentine would visit Pakistan in September to explore more avenues of cooperation. Saravia also commended Mr. Tariq Osman Haider who retired a few days ago. However, Rihana Haidar told this writer that the government decided to re-employ Mr. Haidar as expert due to his outstanding performance when he was in charge of UN and Economic Coordination for the last 5 years.
Responding to the kind words of Sarvia, Mr. Shahid Kamal commended the spirit and dedication of the Argentine Ambassador to his profession and how hard he worked to bring the two nations closer in virtually every field. He said, "I am not a stranger to this residence. I have been here several times and I value the friendship of Saravia, his hospitality and deep involvement in building bridges of understanding and cooperation between Argentine and Pakistan. In the last two years, Mr. Saravia has done a remarkable job... He is the right man in the right place. He worked hard to promote relations in political, economic , trade, science and technology, art and cultural fields."
Recalling his visit to Argentine last year, Mr. Kamal said that he found Argentine a remarkable country and witnessed from his hotel some fascinating sunrise seen. He hoped that the sun would continue to rise in Argentine and help enlighten the bilateral relations.
Saravia is sensitive and highly skilled diplomat. Wandering in his elegant house, I noticed his obsession with art as evident from large number of paintings he possess and the way he displayed them in every corner of his residence. In a sense, his residence itself becomes a unique and beautiful painting.
Saravia is a man of art and inquiry. To my mind, every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and pursuit, is thought to be aimed at some good. And for this reason, the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim.


 

Introducing Croatian and Ethiopian Ambassadors
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)

Pakistan is a country that lies between Arab Sea and Himalayas. And between Arab Sea and the Himalayas the whole world exists. These were the main features of a brief speech of the Croatian Ambassador Professor Esad Prohic in a dinner hosted by the Ambassador of Sudan Dafaffa Allah Elhaj Ali Osman at his residence on the honour of the Croatian Ambassador and Ethiopian Ambassador Dr. Tawfik Abdullah Ahmed, who have presented today their credentials today.
Earlier Mr. Osman welcomed the two non-resident ambassadors to Pakistan and advised them not to be “mere tourists” and to spend more time in this “very important country.” Osman went on to state, “Being a non-resident Ambassador of Sudan to Bangladesh, I am keen to visit Dhaka every year and spend longer time to promote the bilateral relations. I was moved by the comment of the President of Bangladesh who told me that he wanted to see more of me in Bangladesh when I presented my credentials to him.”
Giving his impression about Pakistan, Mr. Osman said, “You have a great people here and a friendly country that I have always cherished. Pakistan is passing through a critical phase. But I am sure that the people and the leadership here are wise enough to rise and get out of the problem.”
The functions was also attended by the Chief of Protocol Mr. Mohammad Nazir, DG African Affairs in Foreign Office Mr. Shahid Kiyani, Director, African Affairs Mr. Sajjad Haider Khan, Deputy Dean of Diplomatic Corps and Dean of Arab diplomats Mr. Ali Awadh Asseri and the envoys of Algeria, South Africa, Kenya, Libya, Algeria, Nigeria and Mauritius. Also in attendance from the Sudanese Embassy were the military attaché Maj. Gen. Abdalla Osman Yousif and DCM Osman Abu Fatima Adam.
Speaking to Pakistan Observer, Mr. Prohic said that he would work hard to reopen the Croatian Embassy here which was closed down due to austerity measures. Similarly Mr. Ahmed was determined to promote political, trade, investment and cultural ties between Ethiopia and Pakistan. He pointed out that there were many Pakistani investors in Ethiopia especially in the sugar and pharmaceutical industries. He stated that there were tremendous potential to promote the bilateral relations between Ethiopia and Pakistan.

USAID Al-Falah shine hope
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)


MOTHERS shall breast-feed their children for two whole years if they wish to complete the period of breast-feeding. They should be maintained and clothed in a reasonable manner by the father of the child. None should be charged with more than one can bear.” ( The Cow- 233).
With that blessed verse of the Holy Quran, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched today a five-year, $60 million flagship programme on child spacing called ‘Family Advancement for Life and Health’ (FALAH).
“FALAH is a visionary program that applies lessons learned during the past 40 years about how to deliver family planning services effectively and explores new solutions to the many challenges facing Pakistan’s family planning programs,” said Anne Aarnes, the Mission Director of USAID in Pakistan. “What we learn from the FALAH program will help parents to space the births of their children and will significantly benefit Pakistani families.”
USAID’s FALAH program focuses on revitalizing the family planning efforts in Pakistan. The program will increase the accessibility and use of contraceptives and birth spacing that will help in reducing high rates of maternal and infant mortality in Pakistan.
FALAH is being implemented by a number of Pakistani and international organization with Population Council, a US-based research organization, leading the consortium. It is being implemented in 20 districts in Pakistan. These include: Gwadar, Jaffarabad, Kech/Turbat, Khuzdar, Lasbela, and Zhob in Balochistan, Battagram, Buner, Charsadda, Lakki Marwat, Swat, and Upper Dir in NWFP, Dera Ghazi Khan and Jhelum in Punjab, and Dadu, Ghotki, Larkana, Sanghar, Sukkur, and Thatta in Sindh.
Support for this project is part of the $1.5 billion in aid that the US Government is providing to Pakistan over five years to improve economic growth, education, health, and governance and to assist with earthquake reconstruction.
Mr. Peter Donaldson, President, Population Council came from New York especially to participate in the function. Key note address was delivered by the Guest of Honour Dr. A. J. Khan, Federal Minister of Population Planning. In a thought- provoking speech, Khan stressed on breast-feeding , women education, child care and coordination between the ministries of Population Planning and Health in achiving a growth rate of 1.3 percent by 2015. Presently, the growth rate is 1.83 percenty as compared to 1.2 percent in Iran.
The chief guest Mr. Ejaz Rahim, Federal Minister for Health commended the USAID and Al-Falah. He supported the proposals of Dr. A.J Khan and called for evolution of leadership in public health, social welfare and education. He ended his speech with a beautiful quotation by stating , to the enthusiastic applause of a large audience in the Marriot Hotel , “ We are small people serving great causes. But because the causes are great, some greatness of these causes will fall upon us.”
The atmosphere was serene and shone hope. One noticed that in this function, one speaker after another commended the work of Ms Anne Aarnes , Mary Skarie and their teams in the USAID in the field of child-spacing and reproductive health programme.

National Day of Iran celebrated


Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)

On the occasion of the National Day of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Ambassador and Mrs. Nayereh Shakeri hosted a grand reception at the Embassy. A large number of people attended. The chief guests were the Federal Ministers of Social Welfare and Finance Mr. A.J Khan and Salman Shah respectively . There were many other prominent figures including Gen. Yaqub Khan, Akran Zaki, Qazi Hussain Ahmad, Liaquat Baloch, Dr. Shireen Mazari, Agha Murtaza Pooya, Sayed Sajid Ali Naqvi, and Anver Baig.
Large number of envoys and military attaches along with their spouses attended the reception including the Dean of Diplomatic Corps Mr. Saper Berdiniyazov, the Dean of the Arab Diplomatic Corps Mr. Ali Awadh Asseri along with large number of Arab, Muslim, Asian , African and Latin American ambassadors. One could also spot the Chinese Ambassador Mr. Luo Zhao Hui .
Many Western and European envoys were in attendance including the High Commissioner of Australia Ms Zorica McCarthy, the Ambassador of Austria Dr. Michael Stigelbaur, the Ambassador of Belgium Mr. Michel Goffin, the Ambassador of Cuba Mr. Gustavo Machin Gomez, the Ambassador of France Mr. Regis de Belenet, the DCM of the Germany Embassy Ms Ina Lepel, Ambassador of Greece Petros Mavroidis, the Ambassador of Poland Mr. Krzystof Febnicki, the Ambassador of Russia Sergey Peskov, the Ambassador of Sweden Ms Anna Karin Enestrom and the Ambassador of Switzerland Mr. Markus Peter.
One could also see large number of religious leaders, scholars, intellectuals along with high civil and military officials. Representatives of both print and electronic media were invited.
There was a festive mood in the function. A group of students of the Iranian school in Islamabad played the national anthems of Iran and Pakistan to the applause and delight of the audience. One could also listen to a special Iranian music throughout the function.
As usual, Mr. Shakeri was all around looking after his guests with his usual smile and hospitality. The noticeable aspect of this reception is the presence of the spouses of the Iranian diplomats. Probably, Sahkeri was deliberately sending a message that the Iranian revolution empowered the women as per the injunctions of Islam though the Iranian women wear the customary veils.
The theme that most guests were speaking about was the next general elections with conflicting theories and rumours all around. None, however, could give any coherent and solid analysis of the rapid domestic development. Almost all seem to be lost in the political ambiguity prevailing in the domestic scene.

 

 

The 7th ISSI- IPIS Bilateral Dialogue
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)

In the opening session of the dialogue between the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI), and the Institute of Political and International Studies (IPIS), Tehran, Dr Shireen M. Mazari, Director General, ISSI, welcomed the Iranian delegation and emphasised the need to assess the bilateral relations between the two countries and figure out where to go in the future. Dr M. Mohammadi, Deputy Foreign Minister for Education and Research, Islamic Republic of Iran, contributed to the opening session by saying that 2008 was a crucial year where many regional and international developments were taking place which had direct impact on both Iran and Pakistan. Global powers were reshaping their policies towards the Middle Eastern region, which was essentially the Muslim world. He emphasised the role of think-tanks for giving valuable input to policy makers at this juncture.
During the first session of the seminar titled “Nuclear Proliferation Issues,” the Iranian speaker talked about the Iranian nuclear programme at length and explained its peaceful nature. He explained the reasons why Iran was pursuing nuclear energy when it had vast reserves of oil and gas which included the need to diversify the country’s energy resources in the face of growing energy consumption and increasing population. He also pointed out that the need to develop an indigenous nuclear fuel cycle arose from a lack of assurance of supply from Western sources and the absence of an international mechanism of supply. The fact that Iran was referred to the Security Council despite extensive cooperation from Iran arose from political motivations, not technical problems in Iran’s nuclear programme. He said that Iran’s referral to the Security Council on account of non-compliance with the safeguards obligations was illegal, and a third round of Security Council sanctions against Iran were unjustified and were counterproductive. The Pakistani speaker pointed out a shift in the focus in non-proliferation issues in the post 9/11 within the US and its allies – a shift from non-proliferation to a focus on the nuclear programmes of certain countries and that the hype about non-state actors and terrorist acquiring nuclear weapons was irrational and should be dismissed on technical grounds. Regarding the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, it was stressed that making India-specific safeguards agreements would further weaken the non-proliferation regime. The session concluded by stressing that the discriminatory approach to non-proliferation had to be dispensed with.
In the second session titled, “Regional Security Issues, relating especially to Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf” both the Iranian and Pakistani side identified the need for local mechanisms to deal with the various problems that continue to plague region.
In this context special reference was made to the situation in Afghanistan and the need for an indigenous regional mechanism to resolve the various problems that the country is faced with. In summing up, the session chair termed Iran and Pakistan as natural partners on account of their common history, culture and religion and that both the countries had the ability to foster a better understanding amongst the countries of the region. He said further that the importance of the elements of soft power had been ignored too long and in this context the time was ripe for both countries to make diplomatic overtures to promote cooperation in the fields of culture and economics.
In the third session titled, “Bilateral Pakistan-Iran relations” the speakers focused on dynamics of bilateral relations between Pakistan and Iran ranging from economics to defence cooperation. The speakers also enumerated the irritants and cleavages in the relationship due to sectarian problem, Afghanistan, nuclear issue and states alliances with extra-regional powers that encounter the relationship. They also emphasized the need to develop people to people contact on enhanced level and greater economic cooperation between the two countries.
 

US Presidential nomination: Tuesday remains protracted battle

Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)

Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton faced a protracted battle while John McCain took charge of the Republican race after the “Super Tuesday” presidential nominating contests in 24 U.S. states. The 2008 elections is the first elections in the United States that started campaigning one year ago. The candidates traveled everywhere, giving hundreds of speeches and asking American people to vote for them in primaries and caucuses . To become party’s nominee for President, a candidate must win support for a majority of delegates to the party’s national convention in the summer 2008. Economic issues, healthcare, and education are the main issues in the US elections. Foreign policy plays a minor role.
These were the main features of a lecture delivered by Dr. Elizabeth O. Colton titled Super Tuesday: 2008 Path to the White House at the Lincoln Reading Lounge, National Library, Islamabad. The function was organized by Ms Constance Jones, Counsellor for Cultural Affairs, US Embassy. It was largely attended by students from various Universities in Islamabad and select group of print and electronic media.
Prior to the lecture, a documentary on the US elections viewing the evolution of the election process since 1787 to date was shown.
Dr. Colton , the Press Attaché, and Spokesperson of the US Embassy was at her best. She combined her academic and diplomatic experience and skills to give detailed outlines on the complicated Presidential elections. During the lecture, Dr. Elizabeth highlighted the relationship between politics and media. She made the subject look simplistic due to her creative style and academic background.
Ms. Colton maintained that the mixed results, with all contenders in both parties scoring at least five wins, were set to prolong the nominating races. She emphasized the importance of campaigning to urge every citizen to use his right to vote and that the two major parties would continue asking people to come out of their houses and offices to vote or to use absentee voting for those who could not access voting stations.
The interesting aspect in Colton’s lecture is the increasingly important role of the media in the Presidential elections since images leave their influence on the people. Colton went on to state, “Presently, politics does not exist without media.”
However, Colton cautioned students of political science that “polls, surveys, and projection by media are very generalized,” maintaining that large number of people can change their minds at the polling stations. Nevertheless, Colton held that such media innovation could give a good overview though not the accurate picture.
Talking on the exit polls, Colton undermined their accuracy also “since you could not be sure that the people polled told you the truth.”
Colton was candid and neutral in the question-answer session. Her answers were solid and final. Linguistically, Colton signifies “final arbiter and settler of disputes.”
The atmosphere was congenial , academic and creative. Dr. Colton has written two books. One was on the 1988 presidential elections. The second was on Creativity in writing. The last book, however, makes Dr. Colton very distinguished both among academic and diplomatic circles.

 

 

Dhaouadi honours Mazorttas
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)


I am pleased to state that my tenure in Pakistan has been appreciated beyond the European Union circles. While I am leaving Pakistan, I want to express my good wishes and prayers that Pakistan would overcome the present situation. Twenty years ago I was stationed in Tunisia as Charge d’ Affaires. I witnessed some important events including the transfer of power from Al Habin Bourkeiba to President Zeineddin Ben Ali. Thus I am not an outsider to Tunisia. I would like to express my profound thanks and appreciation to the Ambassador of Tunisia Mr. Zouhaier Dhaouadi for his generosity and kindness to my and my spouse Paola.
These were the main features of a brief statement of the outgoing Ambassador of Italy Mr. Roberto Mazzotta in a luncheon hosted on his owner and his spouse Paola Mazzotta by the Tunisian Ambassador Mr. Zouhaier Dhaouadi at his residence.
Earlier, Dhaouadi paid rich tribute to Mazzotta for promoting the bilateral relations between Italy and Pakistan and hoped that Roberto and Paola would be in touch while in their new post in Switzerland.
Close friends of Dhaouadi were invited to the function including the Syrian Ambassador Dr. Riaz Ismat, the Lebanese Ambassador Mr. Wafic Muhammad Rehaime, the Jordanian Ambassador Mr. Saleh Jawarna , the Ambassador of Sultanate of Oman Mr. Mohammed Said Mohammed Al-Lawati popullary known Abul Muqudad, the Ambassador of Kingdom of Bahrain Mr. Mohammad Ebrahim Mohammad Abdul Qadir, Ambassador of Austria Mr. Michael Stingelbauer who speaks fluent Arabic, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina Mr. Damir Dzanko and Ambassador of Greece Mr. Petros Mavroidis, who served earlier in India for two years and is well versed in the affairs of the South Asian subcontinent.
Alberto has been a story of success during his eventful tenure in Pakistan. He has worked hard over the last four years to promote the bilateral relations and to also bring Pakistan closer to the European Union. He would be always remembered as a good friend of Pakistan who used his vast experience and diplomatic skills to build a solid foundation for a better relations in virtually everyfield.
For many, Roberto is a story of bright fame among the diplomatic circles. Linguistically, Roberto is the Italian rendering of Robert, which Means “bright fame”, derived from the Germanic elements hrod “fame” and beraht “bright”. The Normans introduced this name to Britain. It belonged to three kings of Scotland, including Robert the Bruce who restored the independence of Scotland from England in the 14th century.
The author Robert Browning and poets Robert Burns and Robert Frost are famous literary bearers of this name. Also, Robert E. Lee was the commander of the Confederate army during the American Civil War. One wishes Roberto and Paola continued bright fame while serving in Switzerland.
 

Sri Lanka’s 60th anniversary of Independence celebrated
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)

Relations with Pakistan are very special. The first visit undertaken by President Mahinda Rajapaksa after assumption of office was to Pakistan in 2006. In 2007 the Foreign Minister Rhitha Gogollagama visited Pakistan followed by visits of Foreign Secretary , Minister of Foreign Trade and Minister of Investment promotion. In 2005 Pakistan signed its first ever Free Trade Agreement with Sri Lanka, which has helped boost trade from $ 250 million to$ 1 billion. This shows the strength of the excellent relations between the two countries . The two nations cooperate in international fora. For example, Sri Lanka opposed suspension of Pakistan from membership of the Commonwealth Council in November 2007. At present the two nations are negotiating A Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement(CEPA). The two countries also cooperate in the fields of investment, education, research, exchange of scholars, archaeology, agriculture and defence.
These were the main features of a speech delivered by the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka Dr. W.B Dorakumbure in a breakfast- reception he hosted at his residence to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka.
It was an extra-ordinary reception since it took place at 8 a.m. The Federal Minister for Minority Affairs Mr. Raja Tridiv Roy was the chief guest and was at the residence exactly on time . About 100 person representing the staff of the High commission and Sri Lankan community in Pakistan along with their spouses and children also participated in the impressive event.
The function included Flag Hoisting, playing national anthem and prayers by Buddhist, Muslim and a Christian members of the High Commission to the welfare, progress and unity of the people of Sri Lanka. Most of the function took place in the open. It was followed by a breakfast inside the warm and hospitable residence of Dr. Dorakumbure, who also read the message of the President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaska on the occasion.
When asked as how she arranged the “Sri Lankan special breakfast”, Mrs. Hema Kumari Dorakumbure stated that she along with spouses of the diplomats made the lavish breakfast for the entire community. Kumari overwhelmed everyone with her imposing presence, kindness and generosity.
Group Captain K. V. B Jayampathy, Defence Adviser concluded the function by extending his thanks and appreciation to Dr. and Ms Dorakumbure for arranging the impressive function. Later, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka stated that a grand reception on the occasion would be held on 15th February in a five star hotel.
 

Armstrong promotes alliance of civilizations

Dr Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)


Islamabad—The plurality in Islam should bring about similarities with other religions and not conflicts with them. Extremism is not confined to the Muslims. Europe itself witnessed the crusades against the Muslims in the 11th and 12th centuries and hatred against Jews subsequently. Modernity brings violence as evident from the European history. Modernity in Europe brought wars that killed over 70 million during 1914-1945.
These were the main features of a lecture delivered by the renowned scholar and author Ms Karen Armstrong titled “Clash of civilization: Myth or Reality.” The lecture was sponsored by Agha Khan Foundation to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the accession of His Highness Agha Khan to the Ismaili Imamat on 11th July, 2007. The lecture was held in Shamadan Hall, Serena Hotel. Hundreds of people including envoys, diplomats, scholars, intellectuals and elite of Islamabad and Rawalpindi attended the function.
I have never seen such imposing presence, organization and interest in an academic lecture that seemed to be some major event in the Federal Capital. This brings hope to Islamabad in particular and Pakistan in general, which live in a state of fear and anxiety due to the phenomenal rise of extremism, sectarian violence, suicide bombings and intolerance.
Armstrong narrated how she developed personal interests in Islam. Elaborating, Armstrong highlighted the plurality in the holy Quran , the vision of tolerance, peace, mutual accommodation and co-existence with all other faiths. She also talked briefly on the importance of the Sufi movement and the universal teaching of love of all mankind.
Explaining the reasons behind the current crisis in the Muslim world, Armstrong maintains that moderation requires independence and creativity, which is largely missing among the Muslims. She holds that the Muslims remain to be dependent and follow imitation rather than creativity. And unless they change this attitude, the status quo would continue unabated.
Armstrong talked extempore. She was in complete control. Her arguments were swift and took a narrative form. She was candid. She was bold in identifying deficiencies inaccuracies and biases among Western and Muslim societies and scholars alike.
Before concluding her lecture, Armstrong made a point to test the tolerance of her audience by quoting Gandhi stating, “ If you want change, you yourself should symbolize change.”
While one agrees with this notion, the fact is that the holy Quran said exactly the same thing 14 centuries ago. Said the holy Quran, “ Verily, God does not change people’s condition unless they change their inner selves.”( Ar-Rad-11) . This verse is far more comprehensive since it also implies that God does not withdraw His blessing from any people unless their inner selves became corrupt just as He does not bestow His blessings upon willful sinners until they change their inner disposition and become worthy of His blessings. In its wider sense , this is an illustration of the divine law of cause and effect, which dominates the lives of both individuals and communities. This verse also explains the rise and fall of civilizations and makes the same dependant on people’s moral qualities and the change in their inner selves.

The Dean honours Mazzottas

Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)

The Italian Ambassador Roberto Mazzotta and his spouse Paola Passerini Mazzotta have been all around. They together attended every function. They showed that they continue to be in love and ever inseperable, these were some most romantic comments by the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps Mr. Sapar Berdiniyazov in a farewell party. He also arranged to two other ambassadors.
However, the Ambassador of UAE Mr. Ali Muhammad Hamad Al- Shamsi could not attend since he was in Karachi to receive his President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zaid. The Charge d’ Affaires of Denmark Mr. Finn Theilgaard was quickly recalled by his government. Hence, the Mazzottas were the shining stars and the center of attraction.
As usual, the Berdiniyazov was at his best with his sharp comments, witty style and bossy command to all and sundry: pay courtesy calls to each other, interact with your colleagues, pay your dues to the Dean Office… The Dean was, however, full of praise to Roberto and his spouse.
He kept on counting their contribution to promoting the bilateral relations, their active involvement in diplomatic circles, their commitment to their job and social interaction. In the process, the Dean also conveyed his forgiveness to the two absent envoys and appreciated their role in promoting the bilateral ties with Pakistan. He was smiling, forgiving and in a jovial mood !
“ Thank you Dean. Let everyone knows that fifty percent of my success is due to my fifty percent,” answered back Roberto looking at his spouse Paola, who looked pleased, smiling, expressing her joy with some beautify body language.
Mazzotta went on to highlight the transformation he worked hard to bring about in bilateral relations during his tenure. This includes substantial increase in the volume of trade from 650 million EU in 2003 to over one billion EU in 2007. Roberto also highlighted the Italian investment in the fields of gas, transportation, communication, auto industry and tourism. Besides, Roberto contributed to signing bilateral agreements on cooperation in science and technology, culture and anti-narcotics.
Large number of envoys attended this function, showing the popularity and respects Mazzottas enjoy among the diplomatic community.
Despite the tragic death of the US Diplomat Mr. Keith C. Ryan, the US Ambassador Ms Anne Patterson attended the function. Envoys crowded around her offering their condolences and asking her many questions. Anne looked composed, courageous and self-confident. She answered all queries in a calm , diplomatic and confident manner.
The other person who was introduced with a big bang was the High Commissioner of Bangladesh Ms Yasmeen Murshed. She was very keen to know what Diplomatic Focus wrote about her before landing in Islamabad. Later the write up was faxed to her. With her rich political and academic background , Ms Murshed is expected to play a match-winning inning during her stay here.
 

Seminar on family planning
Dr Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)

Islamabad—The Health Office Director for USAID, Pakistan, Mary Skarie reiterated here Tuesday the “USAID’s commitment to help improve the health and well being of the people of Pakistan.”
“Healthy mothers and children are a key component for a more prosperous Pakistan,” said USAID’s Mary Skarie, while addressing a seminar on expanding contraceptive choices and child spacing methods for Pakistani families – especially mothers and children.
The seminar was jointly organized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Population Welfare.
“Expanding choices in birth spacing and increasing the availability and variety of contraceptive methods will ensure healthier mothers, babies, families and lives,” said Mary Skarie.
USAID’s new $60 million family planning and reproductive health programme, Family Advancement for Life and Health (FALAH), focuses on incorporating family planning into health and services. The programmes will increase the accessibility and usage of contraceptives and birth spacing, which can help reduce Pakistan’s high levels of maternal and infant mortality.
FALAH is being implemented in partnership with the Government of Pakistan in 20 districts across all four provinces of Pakistan. These include: Gwadar, Jaffarabad, Kech/Turbat, Khuzdar, Lasbela, and Zhob in Balochistan; Battagram, Buner, Charsadda, Dir Upper, Lakki Marwat, and Swat in NWFP; DG Khan and Jhelum in Punjab; and Dadu, Ghotki, Larkana, Sanghar, Sukkur, and Thatta in Sindh.
Support for this project is part of the $1.5 billion in aid that the U.S. Government is providing to Pakistan over five years to improve economic growth, education, health, and governance and to assist with earthquake reconstruction.
 

Bidding farewell to Simon Butt
Dr. Jassim Taqui, Deputy Editor IR

islamabad—The occasion was sad but inevitable. It was bidding farewell to the Deputy High Commission of the British High Commission Mr. Simon Butt who has been very popular among diplomatic community and elites of the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. All credit to the British High Commissioner Mr. Robert Brinkley and Mrs. Mary Brinkley for hosting a grand reception in honour of Mr. Butt and also to introduce Mr. Ray Kyles as new Deputy High Commissioner. As usual, large number of diplomats and close friends of Mr. Butt were invited. In fact the elite of diplomatic community, scholar, intellectuals and think tank were invited. This time, nobody would subject you to electronic search or ask you to deposit your mobile. The British were confident and self-assured.
The good news is that Mr. Simon Butt has been promoted as Ambassador. After staying sometimes in London, he would be the new British Ambassador to Lithuania. Mr. Butt does deserve this feat. He has been outstanding in Islamabad. During his stay here, Mr. Butt made so many friends. With his modesty, kindness, and cheerful personality. One would always feel at ease talking to him.
People would always remember Simon Butt for simple reason. Linguistically, Simon is a famous name that is derived from Latin, which means “hearing.” Butt is another very common Pakistani name. In a sense, his name implies that he is a Pakistani fellow, who would always hear your voice, sentiments and affection.
I have watched Simon Butt silently helping poor and needy, I respected his noble way and hence refrained from writing on the subject. He is a likable person that you would like to be your friend. One would never forget his human gesture, intellect and understanding. One wishes that Butt would achieve success in his new post. Let me embrace you for the last time with my words again; for my voice could fail me, diminish, wane!
 

Turkey to initiate new move on Cyprus

Situationer
Dr Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)

TURKISH President Abdullah Gul is back in action. He continues to be concerned over the  unjust siege being imposed on the people of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus( TRNC).  It is reliably learnt that during the meeting to be held in New-York,  he will  discuss TRNC  with the  UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon . Turkey has worked out a new plan  to find a comprehensive and peaceful settlement  of the Cyprus issue taking into account  the relevant UN resolutions.
  Gul is coordinating his initiative with the  President of TRNC Mehmet Ali Talat  who recently visited  Ankara  and held in-depth talks with Gul on the initiative . The new initiative  would hopefully take its  shape  after the election in Greek Cypriot side. The upcoming Greek election is vital since it will determine the fate of Cyprus problem. Therefore  TRNC and Turkey  are watching  the situation and monitoring the electioneering campaign in Greek Cyprus.
  Mehmet Ali has shown unprecedented flexibility with the hope that TRNC, Turkey and United Nations would combine to convince the European Union to be onboard in the efforts to resolve this complicated issue.  
  The people of TRNC  continue to face hardship , living under economic siege and political isolation. The situation would have  deteriorated considerably but for the sustained Turkish economic and political support to this proud and moderate nation.
  In this globalized world, economic development can be realized by cooperation within the framework of mutual relations. TRCS lacks this benefit. TRNC is living with the dilemma that the Turkish Cypriots are distinct entity, yet they are considered by Greek Cyprus and EU as non-entity. They are internationally isolated . They cannot establish  diplomatic relationship with the rest of the  world. Pressure would be instantly used against any country that dares to establish ties with Nicosia , trades with it or even to organize flights directly to TRNC. Everything should be done through Turkey. The Turkish Cypriots  are not allowed to trade with the rest of the world. Now, their universities are also isolated by EU  through the veto powers of Greek Cyprus. Unfortunately, every effort is being made to make the people of TRNC live in total isolation unless they accept one-sided conditions of Greek Cyprus.
  President of TRNC has offered a solution to the Cyprus issue. The new initiative is based on the idea of establishing a new partnership state which is based on bi-zonality and political equality. This plan would gradually lead to the integrations of the two nations through trade, joint venture and economic development.
  One hopes that the United Nations  would promote this solution  since it is  in perfect harmony with the UN Charter and relevant  resolutions passed by the world body.

Benazir Bhutto was a towering leader of Pakistan: Asseri
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)

The Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Mr. Ali S. Awadh Asseri visited the Pakistan People’s Party Secretariat in Islamabad to condole the death of the chairperson of PPP Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. On this occasion, he also wrote his comments in the visitors’ book.
The Saudi Ambassador wrote: “The brutal and dastardly assassination of our sister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto has saddened the leadership, the government and the people of Saudi Arabia immensely.
She was a towering and acknowledged leader of Pakistan and her tragic departure has left a void in the country”.
He continued: “We pray to Allah to rest her soul in eternal peace and grant her family and admirers the courage to bear the irreparable loss with fortitude”.
Later, Asseri called Asif Ali Zardari, the Co-Chairperson of Pakistan People’s Party, and condoled the tragic death of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. He prayed for the salvation of the departed soul and hoped that the family and the party would be able to overcome the grievous loss.
Asseri informed Zardari that he was not able to personally visit Naudero to convey condolences on behalf of the leadership, the government and the people of Saudi Arabia because of the security situation.
He informed Zardari that a letter of condolence from the Saudi monarch Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz on the sad demise of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had been addressed to the President of Pakistan . A copy of the letter was also forwarded to Mr. Zardari .
Zardari thanked Asseri and requested him to convey his appreciation and gratefulness to the leadership, the government and the people of Saudi Arabia for their kind sentiments on the tragic assassination of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.

 

Ms Yasmeen Murshed Bangladesh’s new High Commissioner
Dr Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)

Islamabad—Look out! There is something coming. Women diplomats are coming in large number to Pakistan. It seems that this is a new era for Islamabad whereby everyone should be ready to cope with the mindset of eve and fully understand it. According to the DCM of the High Commission of Bangladesh Mr. Allamma Siddiki, Ms Yasmeen Murshed would be the new High Commissioner of Bangladesh.
Ms Murshed is expected to come on 23rd December, 2007. She would be the sixth Ambassador after the ambassador of the United States Ms Anne W. Patterson, the High Commissioner of Australia Ms Zorica McCarthy, the Ambassador of Kenya Mrs. Mishi Masika Mwatsahu, the Ambassador of Norway Ms Aud Marit Wiig, and the Ambassador of Sweden Ms Anna Karin Enestrom.
Mrs. Yasmeen Murshed was born in Calcutta on 19th May 1945, the eldest child of Khwaja and Begum Binoo Zakiuddin. Her father a distinguished central banker was a scion of the Dhaka Nawab Family which has had a long association with public service and political life in South Asia. Her grandfather, Khwaja Shahabuddin, had an illustrious virtually continuous career in government from the early 1920s until his retirement in 1965. Her grandmother, Begum Farhat Shahabuddin, was among the first Muslim ladies in public life in Bengal when she was elected to the Bengal Legislative Assembly in 1938.
Her mother’s family comes from Bogra and her maternal uncle, Mr. Habibur Rahman, was a well-known member of the Pakistan cabinet in the 1960s.
Mrs. Murshed’s late husband, Syed Tanweer Murshed, was a nephew of the Chief Justice of the then East Pakistan High Court, Syed Mahbub Murshed and youngest son of Syed Manzoor Mursned and Begum Hasina Murshed. The latter was also a pioneer in the sphere of public service among Muslim ladies because she was also a member of the Bengal Legislative Assembly in 1938. Syed Tanweer Murshed was a member of the cadre services and held several important government posts ill the Ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs until his premature demise in 1988.
Mrs. Murshed has two children, Syed Maher Murshed and Syeda Madiha Murshed. They serve as Directors of Scholastica (Pvt.) Ltd., as well as a number of related concerns.
Mrs. Murshed had her early education at the Viqarunnisa Noon School in Dhaka. Subsequently, she completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Master’s Degree in Economics at the University of the Punjab during her husband’s posting in Lahore and Islamabad.
Mrs. Murshed began her career in education as a teacher in various institutions such as the Karachi Grammar School, The Islamabad Model School for Girls and the Government College for Women, Islamabad from 1967 to 1971. However after returning to Bangladesh she began teaching small groups of students at home. This led to the establishment of Scholastica Tutorial in 1977 which was the earlier name of the well known school, Scholastka.
She is working as the Chairperson of the Board of Management of Scholastica, the largest private English medium educational institution in Bangladesh. It offers primary to higher secondary level instruction and prepares students for the London University General Certificate of Education Examinations at the Ordinary and Advanced Levels.
Mrs. Murshed is also the Chairperson of other associated companies which have been set up by her son Syed Maher Murshed. These are Etcetera Bangladesh (Pvt.) Ltd., Office and Home Solutions (Pvt.) Ltd., Scholastica Transport Services (Pvt.) Ltd., Printcraft Company Limited and a training and development institution known as Services for Professional Education and Enterprise Development (SPEED).
Apart from being an eminent educationist Mrs. Murshed has an excellent track record of activities in national socio-political development efforts. In the early nineties she undertook a very significant role through the Centre for Analysis and Choice (CAC), a non-partisan think tank, to help consolidate the democratic process and improve the status of women in Bangladesh.
Ms Murshed also assumed the posts of Minister of Women and Children Affairs and Minister of Social Welfare.

 

Qatar’s National Day celebrated
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)

Islamabad—On the occasion of the anniversary of the accession of Sheikh Jassim bin Mohamed bin Thani, the founder of the State of Qatar to rule of the country, which is also the National Day of Qatar , the Ambassador Mr. Hamad bin Ali Al-Hinzab hosted a grand reception at the Shamadan Hall, Serena Hotel. A large number of people attended the functions including all Arab envoys and military attaches, African, European and American diplomats, high civil and military officials and elite of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
The administration of Serena aided with the dynamic Naima Sarfaraz did a commendable job in making perfect arrangements for the guests. You could see on the main dais a huge flag of the State of Qatar along with the photos of the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al- Thani and His Excellency President Pervez Musharraf. On either side of the Shamadan Hall there were two big screens each showing the story or the rise of Qatar. The first shows Qatar as industrial estate. The second highlighted the natural resources of Qatar.
Upon the arrival of the chief guests, the national anthems of Qatar and Pakistan were played. The chief guests were the Federal Minister of Environment Sayed Wajid Hussain Bokhari, the Federal Minister of Commerce Shahzada Alam Monno, and General Hamid Rabnawaz, GHQ. Those who were on the dais were the Deputy Dean of Diplomatic Corps, Dean of Arab Diplomatic Corps Ambassador Mr. Ali Awadh Asseri, the Ambassador of Yemen Mr. Abdul Elah Mohamed Hajar, the Ambassador of Syria Dr. Riad Ismat, the Ambassador of Tunisia Mr. Zohaier Dhaoudi, the Ambassador of Sudan Mr. Daffa Alla Elhag Ali Osman, the Ambassador of Lebanon Mr. Wafic Muhammad Rehaime, the Ambassador of Jordan Mr. Saleh Jawarna, the Ambassador of Tajikistan Mr. Saidov Saidbeg Boykhonovich, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain Mr. Mohamed Ebrahim Mohamed Abdulqader, the Ambassador of Kuwait Mr. Aziz Al-Dihani , former ISI chief Gen. Hamid Gul and the Editor-in-Chief of Pakistan Observer Mr. Zahid Malik.
Standing closer to the dais were two important blond diplomats namely the elegant and witty Ms Kay Webb Mayfield, Counsellor for Public Affairs, US Embassy, who is here for only four months. I have the privilege to be the first to introduce her literary intellect in this column. Next to KWM stood the charming new Ambassador of Sweden Ms Anna Karin Enestrom along with her spouse.
All credit goes to Mr. Hamad Bin Ali Al-Hinzab. He is a likable person and very popular among diplomatic community. He is a perfectionist, amicable and generous. During a short period of 2 years and seven months in Islamabad, he made his impression. He has supervised huge relief operations to the victims of the earthquake and floods in collaboration with the Qatar Charity. He is working to bring billions of dollars of Qatari investment to Pakistan. One may well witness a landmark in the bilateral relations through the visit of His Royal Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani to Pakistan.
 

Independence Day of Kazakhstan celebrated
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)

Islamabad—On the occasion of the 16th anniversary of the Independence Day of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Ambassador and Mrs. Bakhytbek Shabarbayev hosted a well-attended reception at Shamadan Banquet Hall, Serena Hotel.
The Chief Guest was the Federal Minister for Environment, Syed Wajid Ali Shah Bukhari. On the Chief Guest dais, along with the chief guest and the Ambassador of Kazakhstan, other celebrities were also assembled, namely: the Ambassador of the Russian Federation, Mr. Sergey N. Peskov, the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Mashaalah Shakeri, the Ambassador of Azerbaijan Mr. Eynulla Madatli, the Ambassador of Tajikistan, Mr. Saidov Saidbeg Boykhonovich, the Editor in Chief of Pakistan Observer, Mr. Zahid Malik and the owner of Online Mr. Mohsin Beg.
This is one function whereby I have noticed the five permanent members of the UN Security Council were represented by their Ambassadors, namely the Ambassador of the United States Ms Ann W. Patterson, the Ambassador of the Russia Federation Mr. Sergey N. Peskov, the Ambassador of France Mr. Regis Belenet, the Ambassador of United Kingdom Mr. Robert Brinkley and the Ambassador of People’s Republic of China Mr. Luo Zhao Hui.
There were a large number of Arab, Asian, African and European envoys and military attaches and their spouses. With it, the Deputy Dean of Diplomatic Corps and the Dean of Arab Diplomatic Corps, the Saudi Ambassador, Mr. Ali Awadh Asseri was visible. The journalists were surrounding him, seeking his comments on the Hajj flights and the latest domestic developments.
The Serena Hotel was especially decorated with a huge poster bearing the photos of the Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and President Pervez Musharraf. There were two huge screens on either side of the Shamadan Hall, one of which was showing the life of the Kazakh President and his achievements. The second screen was showing the story of 16 years of struggle to transform Kazakhstan into a modern state and its relations with the regional states. Kazakhstan is the second largest among the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). It is the ninth largest country in the world. Its borders extends to about 12187 km with Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. This shows its vital strategic location and its important role in the CIS.
Given its proximity to Pakistan, Islamabad has been trying to further improve economic and trade relations with Kazakhstan especially when it has opened up on OIC. Pakistan aspires to establish joint ventures with Kazakhstan especially when it has successfully transformed into market economy. It is also attracting huge investments from European countries and members of CIS.
 

Asseri honours Shaukat Aziz and Gen Ehsan ul Haq
Dr Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)

Islamabad—The Saudi Ambassador and Dean of Arab Diplomatic Corps has been very active recently. As a Dean of Arab Diplomatic Corps, Asseri has been arranging meetings with the leaders of major political parties to listen to their views and to urge them to forge unity of ranks. Asseri rightly believes in the concept of “unity in diversity” and considers it the most rewarding aspect in any multi-ethnic and pluralistic society.
Having known Asseri since he came to Pakistan in February, 2001, I can say that he is a man of principles. He is always loyal to his friends whether in power or outside it. Hence, his grand dinner party to honour the former prime minister Mr. Shaukat Aziz and former JCSC Gen. Ehsan ul Haq is a testimony to this wonderful principle of love and loyalty to his friends.
Asseri has this time invited selected friends in a grand manner. The most prominent figure who graced the occasion was the Chairman JCSC Gen. Tariq Majid along with other high ranking military officials who all were in civilian dress. Among the politicians, you could see Ch. Shujaat Hussain, Mr. Mushahid Hussain, and Mr. Nisar Memon.
From the diplomatic community, prominent invitees were the fascinating person of the chief of Protocol Mr. Nazir Hussain, who gave the function a special aroma of sophisticated etiquette, the charming and elegantly dressed US Ambassador Ms Anne W. Patterson, the Norwegian Ambassador and her spouse, Swedish Ambassador Ms Pelle Enarsoon and her spouse, the Ambassador of Qatar Mr. Hamad Bin Ali Al-Hinzab, the Ambassador of Bahrain Mr. Mohamed Ebrahim Mohamed Abdulqader, and the Ambassador of Kuwait Mr. Aziz Al-Dihani.
From the business community one could spot Mr. Sadruddin Hashwani and Mr. Humayoun Gohar.
From the intellectuals, Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmad, Professor of International Relation at the Quaid-i-Azam University was visible with his smile and soft discourse. Dr. Ishtiaq has extensively written articles in the Pakistan Observer on various current issues in international relations.
From the media, four giant editors were invited including Mr. Zahid Malik, Editor –in-Chief of Pakistan Observer who is very close to Mr. Shaukat Aziz , Mr. Salim Bokhari, the Editor of The News, Mr. Arif Nizami, the Editor of The Nation and Mr. Zafar Abbas the Editor of Dawn.
As usual, Asseri showed his Arab generosity in abundance and looked after his guests in his spacious and elegantly decorated residence. This time you would find the Saudi spouse Ms Aishah Saad taking active part in supervising the sitting arrangements and serving system coordinating with Mr. Nasim Abbasi, Banquette manager of Marriot Hotel and his men to ensure perfect service. Ms Aishah Saad is very kind and social person. She helps Asseri in his own functions as well in the special parties for the Saudi and Arab women. She sometimes responds to the numerous jokes of Asseri with a witty and punchy comment, showing that she is fully in charge!!
Speaking on the occasion, Asseri paid rich tribute to Mr. Shaukat Aziz and to Gen. Ehsan ul Haq for their contribution in promoting the bilateral relations. Asseri disclosed that his family knew Gen. Ehsan ul Haq long time ago when he was Major on deputation in Saudi Arabia. Ever since, the relations between the two went from one strength to another.
Mr. Shaukat Aziz, who is a brilliant speaker, gave a short speech in which he extended his thanks and appreciation to the Custodian of Haramain Sharifain King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, the i leadership of the brotherly Saudi people for their keen interest in the prosperity and welfare of the people of Pakistan. He recalled that prior to his stint as premier, he served for three years in the City Bank, Saudi Arabia.
 

Bahrain National Day celebrated
Dr Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor IR

Islamabad—On the occasion of the National Day of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Ambassador and Mrs. Nuran Mohamed Abdul Qader hosted a reception at the Shamadaan Hall, Serena Hotel. A large number of the elite of Islamabad and Rawalpindi attended. Almost all Arab envoys, along with their spouses, were in attendance. Envoys and diplomats from Asia, Africa, Europe and other western nations were also visible in the function. The chief guest was the Federal Minister of Environment, Syed Wajid Hussain Bukhari. The most prominent of the invitees, however, were General Tariq Majeed, Chairman JCSE and Admiral Muhammad Afzal Tahir.
Those who were assembled along with the chief guest included the Dean of Arab Diplomatic Corps Mr. Ali Awadh Asseri, the Ambassador of Qatar, Hamad Bin Ali al Hinzab, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Jordan, Mr. Saleh Jawarnah and the Ambassador of the State of Kuwait, Mr. Aziz al Dihani
Both print and electronic media were represented in large number, including the Editor in Chief of Pakistan Observer, Mr. Zahid Malik. One could also observe scholars, intellectuals, serving and retired military high-ups along with foreign office officials. There were strict security measures inside and outside the Serena Hotel, however, people continued to come to the function in large numbers.
The imposing presence of the elite of Islamabad and Rawalpindi is a testimony to the popularity of the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain who is the first ever ambassador accredited to Islamabad. Earlier, the diplomatic representation was on the Consulate level. The elevation of diplomatic relations has come following close political and military cooperation between the two countries that was initiated early this year.
The strategic position of the Kingdom of Bahrain, its proximity to Pakistan and the increasing cooperation between the two nations in the fight against terrorism have bought them closer, particularly when the two navies of Pakistan and Bahrain are coordinating their operations to monitor terrorists on the high seas.
Pakistan looks forward to further improve trade, economic and financial cooperation with Bahrain. The Kingdom of Bahrain is considered to be the financial hub of the Middle East. Its strategic location, moderate polity and friendly investment atmosphere have combined to make it the safest base for financial institutions from all over the world. It is ranked as the freest economy in the Middle East and North Africa region by the US-based Heritage Foundation. It is ranked first in the Arab world in UNDP Human Development Index. Therefore, the decision of the policy makers of Pakistan to strengthen financial and economic relations with Bahrain is a necessity that previous governments have tended to ignore.
Pakistan stands to benefit from strengthening trade and military ties with the Kingdom of Bahrain since its strategic location and proximity to Pakistan would enable Islamabad to have access to the key markets of the region. So far the volume of trade is very low and does not reflect the determination of the leaderships of the two countries to elevate the bilateral trade. However, Mr. Abdul Qadir is working hard to increase the volume of trade and investment. There is a vibrant and hard working Pakistani community in Bahrain, including labor, skilled, highly skilled and technical personnel working in virtually every field in Bahrain and contributing to the uplift of this brotherly country.


 

German Ambassador commends Pak role in fight against terror
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)

Islamabad—Germany acknowledges the role of Pakistan against terror. We fully cooperate with Pakistani friends who made tremendous effort in fighting international terrorism. Pakistani army has lost so many precious lives while fighting terror in a volatile region. We have worked with Pakistan and Afghanistan. G8 under German Presidency and initiative invited the Foreign Ministers of Pakistan and Afghanistan for the first time in the history of G8 to Berline.
Our objective is to promote ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan, reiterating strong commitment to security, stability and lasting peace in the region. In 2007 the G8 has focused on stronger global economy and Africa, environmental and development issues, NPT, international fight against organized crime and terrorism, reduction of global macroeconomic imbalances, and commitment to open market and freedom of investment.
These were the highlights of a press briefing given by the German Ambassador Dr. Gunter Mulack along with the Press Counsellor Mr. Patrick Heinz who acted as a moderator on the occasion of the end of German Presidency of G8 on 31st December. The Ambassador of Japan Mr. Seiji Kojima and his Press Counsellor Mr. Yo Fukayawa also joined the press briefing since Japan will take over the Presidency of G8 on 1st January, 2008.
G8 or the Group of Eight comprises Germany, France, Canada, Italy, Japan, Russia, United States of American and United Kingdom. Each country assumes the leadership of G8 for one year starting 1st January on rotation bases.
Mullack underlined the importance that Pakistan and Afghanistan work together to promote peace, security and development in the region.
He said that G8 under the Germany Presidency and initiative extended invitation to former foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri and his Afghani counterpart during the current year for three time to help promote bilateral relations between both of them against the common enemies of terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crimes.
He further said that G8 countries committed themselves to work closely with the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan in support of their endeavour through concrete projects and targeted assistance in various fields including reconstruction, agriculture, enhanced bilateral and regional trade particularly with Central and South Asia.
In his briefing Kojima stated that Japan would hold the summit meeting of G8 in the beautiful island of Toyako during 7-9 July 2008. He said that Japan would continue the German initiative on Pak-Afghan dialogue and assistance in consultation with other members of the group. He also appreciated the effort of Pakistan in the war against terror and said that Japan is an important donar that sanctioned substantial money to assist Pakistan in the fields of education, development and poverty alleviation. According to him, Japan would emphasize four issues during its presidency of G8 including environmental and climate change, major issues on world economy, development and political issues especially those relating to counter terrorism.
Answering a Pakistan Observer question on writing off the debts of Pakistan and other developing countries, Mulack said it was a bilateral issue and pertained to United Nations and major donors and not G8 specific.
However, Kojima responded to the question by saying that Japan rescheduled substantial debts of Pakistan following 9/11 and expressed his admiration to the way the government of Pakistan reduced the public debt.
Kojima evaded answering a question pertaining to efforts of China to join G8 and said the issue could be discussed by the member states comprising G8.
On the issue of energy, gas pipeline and Pakistan’s decision to acquire nuclear reactors from China, Mulack state that they were bilateral issues while Kojima pointed out that Japan was interested in energy security and assisting Pakistan in power projects including the construction of transmission lines to help overcome loss of 30 percent of electricity.

 

Guess who is coming to Algerian dinner!!
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor IR

As usual, whenever you visit the elegant residence of the Algerian Ambassador, Mr. Nadir Larbaoui you find surprises and a special gesture. This time, the galaxy of the foreign ambassadors along with spouses and high officials were carefully selected to bid a farewell to Ambassador of UNDP Mr. Jan Vadermoortele and his spouse Maria Aida. Larbaoui also welcomed new ambassadors including Anna Karin Enestron of Sweden, C.E Sette Costa of Brazil, Krzystof Febnicki of Poland and Shin Un of South Korea.
Prominent of high officials who attended the function included Dr. Mohammad Amjad, Federal Minister of Inter-Provincial coordination and Mrs. Shireen Moiz, Additional Secretary of the Middle East and Africa in Foreign Office.
There were large number of ambassadors and spouses. Prominent among them were the elegantly dressed US Ambassador Ms. Anne W. Patterson who looked cheerful and spent most of the time talking with virtually every invitee. Ms Anne has become very popular among the diplomatic and Pakistani elite during a very short period of her presence in Islamabas due to her humbleness, kindness and love for Pakistan. I had the privilege of being the first to notice that she was dressed in green and white, the colours of the flag of Pakistan in the first function she attended by the Dean of Diplomatic Corps Mr. Sapar Berdiniyazov. My observation proved to be correct since Ms Anne Patterson is presently engaged in highly positive engagement with the leaders of major political parties to bring about national reconciliation.
Others who attended the dinner were the French Ambassador Mr. Regis de Belenet of the “Cultural Diplomacy” fame, the black beauty, the High Commissioner of South Africa Mr. Daniel Jabulani Mavimbela and his spouse, the charming ambassador of Cuba Mr. Gustavo Machine Gomez who promised to send the third article to Building Bridges, the smiling Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco Mr. Mohammed Rida El Fassi with his charming spouse Monia, the tall and friendly Ambassador of People’s Republic of China Luo Zhao Hui, who is presently playing basketball, the Ambassador of Turkey Mr. Engin Soysal, the Ambassador of Netherland Mr. Cornelis Wihelmus Andreae and his spouse Christine Blanche Marie Francoise Gervoson, the Ambassador of Italy Mr. Roberto Mazzota, the Ambassador of Hugry Mr. Bela Fazekas and his spouse Agnes, the spouse of Indian High Commission Mrs. Shreedevi Nair Pal, who is called by spouses of the envoys accredited to Pakistan “the iron woman,” and Mr. Moahm,ed Ebrahim Andulqader, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Larbaoui in his brief speech paid rich tributes to Mr. Jan Vadermoortele and his spouse Maria Aida for the excellent work they did during the earthquake. He also welcomed the new ambassadors stating that Pakistan was passing through “interesting moment” and hoped and prayed that the people and leadership of Pakistan would overcome all difficulties. He prayed for the welfare , solidarity and prosperity of Pakistan.
Larbaoui has the advantage of speaking fluently in Arabic, French and English languages. You could see him around looking after his guests from one table to another. He stole the show by his warmth, hospitability, pleasing personality and diplomatic skills.
 

Celebrating 74th Birthday of Japanese Emperor
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor IR

On the occasion of the 74th birthday of His Majesty Emperor Akihitio , the Ambassador of Japan Mr. Seiji Kojima hosted a grand reception in the Marriot Hotel. A very large number of elite of the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi attended the function. It was simply House Full. You could not find a place to park your car outside the Marriot. Inside the majestic Marquee Hall, you could hardly move. Mr. Sadruddin Hashwani, Mr. Webster and Asad Shah were around to look after a fairly large crowd.
Four federal ministers were the chief guests on the occasion including Federal Minister of Inter-provincial Coordination Mr. Amjad Khan, Federal Minister for Environment, Local Government and Rural Development Sayed Wajid Bokhari, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Mr. Nisar A. Memon, Federal Minister for Minorities Mr. Raja Tri Dev Roy and Federal Minister for Population Welfare Mr. A.J. Khan. One could also see heavy weight personalities in the reception including Gen. Mohammad Yousef, Gen. Talat Hussain and Irshad Ullah Khan. Also in attendance were many prominent personalities including a large number of Arab, African, Asian and European envoys, military attaches and diplomats along with their spouse. A large number of print and electronic media were also represented including the Editor-in-Chief Mr. Zahid Malik.
There was a festive mood in the function despite the cold weather and rapid domestic developments. The large number of people who attended including diplomats , high civil and military officials, scholars, intellectuals and politicians speak volume of the success story of Mr. Kojima and his hard work in promoting the bilateral relations between the two countries. Mr. Kojima has worked hard to promote political, economic, trade and cultural relations. During the last three years, Japanese companies invested $ 160 . The two countries would soon sign the Avoidance of Double Taxation, a step that would further promote Japanese investment in Pakistan.
In the field of trade Japan’s export increased from $ 501 million in 2001 to $ 1.7 billion in 2006 while Pakistan’s export to Japan has not shown any improvement since 1991 when it reached $ 650 million. It stands at a mere $ 208 million in 2006. Mr. Kojima keeps on his untiring efforts to encourage the Pakistani private sector to take more interests in Japan’s huge domestic market and exports more. One hopes that he business community would avail the Japanese services and advises and increase their exports to Japan. One also prays to the succeed of Mr. Kojima in his noble mission further promoting trade ties between the two countries.
The themes discussed by the guests and diplomats were many including the upcoming legislative elections, the visit of Asseri to the deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan, the sudden departure of Benazir Bhutto to Dubai and Nawaz Sharif to Lahore and the Charter of Demands between APDM and ARD. One could also hear many rumours that are not qualified for publication.
 

Welcome to Dongmakgo
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)

The Embassy of the Republic of Korea in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture screened in the mesmerizing Auditorium of PNCA an award-winning Korean Film. Starting the show, the Korean Ambassador Mr. Shin Un underlined the importance of feature films as cultural links that promote understanding and cultural thinking between peoples. A documentary film titled Yeosu was also shown. The Republic of Korea is spending billions of dollars on developing this city to host Expos-2012.
All credits to Mr. Shin Un for his effort to promote the cultural exchange between the two countries.
Named Welcome to Dongmakgol, the film is an exciting anti-war beauty . Set amidst the backdrop of the 1950 Korean War, this critical film explores the converging paths of a group of bitter enemies, who find a new life r in the peaceful mountain village of Dongmakgol .
This accidental gathering of staunch enemies ( 3 North Koreans, 2 South Korean and an American) begins when a US pilot called Smith crash lands on the outskirts of Dongmakgol, and is taken in by the locals, who despite some hilarious language difficulties, try their best to make the American feel right at home. Smith is soon joined by the last surviving members of a doomed squad of North Korean soldiers who also joined the group back to the village. Of course, the North Koreans get a little hot under the collar when two South Korean soldiers and the comical medic Moon - end up at the peaceful hamlet as well. The villagers, who don’t have a clue that war is ravaging their country, are left wondering just what all the fuss is about.
After an intense standoff involving the soldiers that quickly turns hilarious thanks to the confused and innocent t reactions of the villagers, a stray hand grenade accidentally destroyed the village’s food stores in a moment of utter confusion .
Realizing the severity of their actions, the two sides form a tentative truce, agreeing to help the villagers restock the warehouse. Although puzzled by the villagers’ way of life, the soldiers soon understand that they have found a kind of utopia, where ideology means nothing and the sins of the past can be left far behind. But just as they start to settle into this peaceful new world, outside forces threaten to destroy Dongmakgol.
Welcome to Dongmakgol has a perfect script. It mixes tragedy with comedy making you laugh, cry, and feel engaged. It’s the kind of anti-war film that feels neither heavy-handed nor facile. Despite its setting, it’s not so much a movie about Korean reunification, but instead focuses on the idea of peace in general, using the North and South conflict as a way to point out the absurdity of war. The charm of the theme is that it communicates itself powerfully without preaching.
What is perhaps most striking about Welcome to Dongmakgol is its ample use of humor and magical realism to weave its charming little tale. Although serious in its message, the film balances its more sober aspects with a healthy dose of comedy.
The performances are perfect, from the leads down to the supporting cast. And while the American is usually given the short shrift, even Smith figures heavily into the narrative, becoming an active participant in the plot even though his character has no idea what anyone is saying.
The climax comes when the adversaries combine together to fight for the sake of the village ignoring all their differences and enmities.
The climax and the message of the film becomes evident in the last scene. The soldiers reject temptation of escaping the village alive and opt to defend it, knowing well that they had zero chance of survival. Thus while the film desists war, it glorifies the soldiers who observe military honour and sacrifice their lives defending the innocent civilians from a certain holocaust.

 

Anne W Patterson plays a reconciliation role
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)

The US Ambassador Ms Anne W. Patterson is engaged in a commendable reconciliation role. Here objective is to evolve a national consensus based on moderation and commitment to democratic norms especially when Pakistan is passing through a transitional phase from controlled to fully democratic system. According to Ms Anne the best way to deal with the grim political scene is that political parties should take part into upcoming legislative elections.
In this regard Ms Anne met the leader of PML (N) Mr. Nawaz Sharif in Lahore and reiterated American interest in “free, fair and credible elections.” During her discussion with Mr. Nawaz Sharif, Anne emphasized US “neutrality on the outcome of Pakistani elections,” calling for “the candidates and the people to fully participate in the elections” scheduled for January 8, 2008 .
Ms Anne is playing a neutral game. On the one hand she welcomed President Musharraf’s assurance to lift the state of emergency on December 16 “as it is an essential step to get Pakistan back on the path to democracy.” On the other, Anne noted that other “restrictions also need to be lifted” to allow free elections. Anne argued “For elections to be credible, detained members of political parties and civil society must be released. The media must be free to report on events and share their opinions with the public. “ While in Lahore, Ms Anne also paid a courtesy visit on former chief minister Punjab Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and discussed similar issues with him.
Earlier, Ms Anne held talks with the Chairperson of PPP at Karachi. She broke the taboo of ignoring Islamists by holding a meeting with Maulana Fazlur Rehman, head of the Jamiat-ulema-Islam party and deputy chief of the Muttahida-Majlis-e-Amal. Anne’s meeting with Maulana Fazlur Rehman came a day after she held talks with opposition leader Ms Benazir Bhutto. Ms Anne Patterson and Maulana Fazlur Rehman discussed a range of issues, including the importance of having free and fair elections and the significance of lifting the state of emergency,” according to the spokesperson of the US Embassy Dr. Elizabeth O. Colton.
It was Anne’s second meeting with Maulana Fazlur Rehman. The first was before the imposition of emergency rule on November 3. Anne plans more meeting with other leaders of main political parties.
This is a highly positive and neutral role being played by Ms Anne Patterson. One hopes that she succeeds in her noble mission of bringing about a national reconciliation. Anne deserves rich tribute for her concern on Pakistan and keenness to ensure a stable Pakistan through urging political parties to listen to the voice of reason and take part in the upcoming legislative elections.

 

Anne Patterson speaks on media and responsibility
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)

The right of the people to speak out through a free press is a hallmark of a democratic society. Journalism is challenging in all societies. At the same time, journalists have a responsibility to exercise this freedom with the highest standards of professionalism and integrity. The relationship between a government and the media must be based on the recognition of each other’s responsibilities and obligations and an adherence on both sides to their respective roles. The government must grant the media unfettered access to public information. In the United States the role of media is constantly debated.
These were the highlights of a brief speech delivered by the US Ambassador to Pakistan Ms Anne W. Patterson to the national conference of the South Asian Free Media Association Pakistan.
Speaking on the American freedom of press, Anne said , “ America’s freedom of the press is enshrined in our constitution, in our First Amendment– that there shall be no law abrogating or limiting or preventing freedom of the press. Accordingly, we do not have any state control of the media.”
Anne described the press in the US as “ self-appointed monitor of official life, recorder of public events, and unofficial arbiter of public behavior. The constitution’s protections and the tradition of liberty enjoyed in the United States have allowed public expression to flourish.” Explaining the US perception of media in Pakistan, Anne said “In 2006, President Bush noted during his visit to Pakistan that Pakistan still has a distance to travel on the road to democracy but praised the lively and generally free press.”
Quoting the US President George W. Bush, Anne said that he noted that Pakistanis were free to criticize their government, and that there were a number of political parties and movements that regularly challenged the government, and noted, “These institutions of civil society are fundamental to a thriving democracy.”
Anne held that in this age of information revolution, no news can be suppressed. Narrating her own experienced, Anne said “While the media was restricted in Pakistan, it operated freely in the United States and other countries. International broadcast, print, and internet news media highlighted Pakistan’s political situation, arrests, and media crackdown. I saw the crackdown on the Karachi journalists on three different international channels within ten minutes.”
Giving tribute to Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Anne pointed out that one of President Musharraf’s greatest achievements was the flowering of a free and vibrant media. She went on to state, “ This is a permanent change in Pakistan and cannot be reversed, whatever steps might be taken by the government. The United States has urged President Musharraf since November 3 to lift the state of emergency, restore the media, release those detained, and return to constitutional rule. As we noted, we have been particularly concerned about the punitive economic measures taken against local media.”
Praising the media in Pakistan, Ms Anne maintained “ Pakistan’s media outlets are full of vibrant and talented journalists. Pakistani news organizations increasingly provide a constructive channel for debate and dissent. These media organizations are also businesses and contribute to the economic growth of the country.”
On the issue of Democracy, Ms Anne stated, “ It is heartening to note that Pakistan is resuming its strides towards democracy. We welcome the changes made by President Musharraf this past week – the relinquishing of his military post and assumption of his position as civilian president. And we welcome President Musharraf’s assurance that he intends to lift the Emergency on December 16th.”
However, Anne quoted US Secretary of State Ms Condoleezza Rice as saying , “In a democracy the citizens should have the assurance that the policies of their government will be held up for criticism by a free and independent press without the interference of their government.”
Relating freedom of Press to accountability, Anne said , “The United States supports press freedom worldwide. The United States values freedom of the press as a key component of democratic governance. Democratic societies, including our own, have many faults, but eventually they are accountable. There is almost nothing in our country that is not revealed in the press sooner or later. This is a critical element in accountable democratic governance.”
According to Anne’s perception of Press, it fosters active debate, provides investigative reporting, and serves as a forum to express different points of view, particularly on behalf of those who are marginalized in society. Anne went on to commend journalists around the world for the important role they play and for their commitment to the free exchange of ideas. She particularly saluted those in the press who courageously do their work at great risk.
Giving a wider perception of global duties to the press, Anne contended, “ The press is often a target of retaliation by those who feel threatened by freedom of expression and transparency in democratic processes. Journalists are often the first to uncover corruption, to report from the front lines of conflict zones, and to highlight missteps by governments. This work places many journalists in danger, and it is the duty of governments and citizens worldwide to speak out for their protection and for their vital role in open societies.”
Anne called upon the government of Pakistan to quickly lift the remaining curbs on media and permit broadcasters to resume their programming, stated that the media must be free to report on events and share their opinions with the public. Anne concluded her speech by stating how she admired the Pakistani media.
Said Anne “I am a great admirer of the Pakistani news media. I read many English newspapers every day, receive translations of Urdu papers, watch TV and listen to the radio. I enjoy all the media in Pakistan and applaud all for the independent media.”
 

Netherlands to show artistic creative process at PNCA
Dr. Jassim Taqui, Deputy Editor IR

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is organizing a mime show “MIMO” in collaboration PNCA (Pakistan National Council of the Arts) on Wednesday 28th November at 7.00pm at PNCA National Art Gallery Auditorium.
Founded in 1986, Teatro Munganga is a Dutch theatre company based in Amsterdam. Teatro Munganga has made total theatre characterised by a creative poetic and very physical theatre language. The group combines emotion, expression, acting, music, dance, puppets, surprising backdrops, props and humour to tell stories that illustrate the magic and poetry of life.
The groups will perform its newest creation: Mimo. A solo wordless performance, performed and directed by Carlos Lagoeiro. Mimo is aimed at the over sixes. Mimo has reached a stage in his life where he can no longer hold onto (painful) memories from the past. His memories are interfering with his life and he decides to put some things to rest from his childhood.
This quest takes Mimo on a journey to the four corners of the globe. He gradually puts his painful memories to rest and in the process grows in a positive manner. The central themes are letting go and acceptance.
There is always educational material accompanying the plays so that students can further explore the themes dealt with in the performance after the theatre visit. Keeping this in mind the morning after the performance of “MIMO” on 29th November at 11:00 am, there will be a talk on the Creative Process of MIMO given by Marion Hoekveld (visual artist and Carlos Lagoeiro (actor - director). This “talk” is a special event addressing all the theatre groups and visual artists in the city.
 

Celebrating Algerian armed struggle
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor IR

ON the occasion of the anniversary of launching of armed struggle for independence from the colonial rule, the Ambassador of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria and Mrs. Nadir Larbaoui hosted a grand reception at Serena Hotel.
A large number of people attended the function including Arab, African and European envoys, military attaches, diplomats, foreign office and military high officials, and large number of scholars, intellectuals and elite of the twin cities.
The Chief guest was the Federal Minister of Information Mr. Nisar Memon along with the Federal Minister of Environment and Local Government Sayed Wajid Bokhari and Federal Minister of Provincial Coordination Mr. Mohammad Amjad. Prominent among those who attended were: Ch. Shujaat Hussain, Mr. Mushahid Hussain, Mr. Akram Zaki, Mr. Anver Baig, and Mr. Ahsan Iqbal.
The Shamadan Hall was simply House Full, speaking volume of the popularity of Larbaoui. His pleasant personality, humbleness, self-confidence and smile make him very likeable .
Larbaoui has made his impression very forcefully in Pakistan due to his diplomatic skills, pleasing personality and humbleness. He is known to be witty, impressive and knowledgeable.
During his stay in Pakistan of more than three and half years, Larbaoui proved himself to be highly successful in promoting the bilateral relations in virtually every field. He is a brilliant political analyst. I remember that in his first week in Islamabad, he would give a political sketch of a seasoned expert on South Asia.
Probably, it is this combination of insight, diplomatic skills and pleasing personality that makes Larbaoui one of the most successful and popular diplomats among diplomatic community and Pakistani circles in the Federal Capital.
The occasion was very special. It is very deal to every Pakistani especially when Pakistan was among the first who recognized Algerian Armed Struggle under the leadership of FLN.
Having lived under French colonial rule that attempted to suppress their Arab and Islamic identity, the Algerian people under the leadership of FLN started War of Independence, between 1954 and 1962. And during that period of 9 years, the Algerian people suffered over 1.5 million martyrs. However, the struggle led to Algerian independence from France.
The Algerian War of Independence is one of the most important decolonization wars. It was a complex conflict characterized by total war against the French colonial forces wherever they existed in Algeria. Nothing could deter the FLN and Algerian people despite massive abuse of power by the French army and its puppets in Algeria, random killing, humiliating treatment and torture of Algerian freedom fighters.
Effectively started on 1 November 1954, the movement shook the French Fourth Republic’s (1946–58) foundations and led to its collapse. Under the directives from Guy Mollet’s government, the French Army initiated a campaign of “pacification” of what was still considered at the time to be fully part of France.
This “public order operation” quickly grew to a size where it could be called a full-scale war. Algerians, who at first were mostly in favor of peace and tranquility, turned increasingly toward the goal of independence. The war of independence was widely supported by other Arab countries and, more generally, by worldwide public opinion especially when the Algerian people were brutally crushed by the colonialist forces.
The Algerian War of Independence created instability inside France itself . Soon, the French Fourth Republic was dissolved with Charles de Gaulle’s return to power during the May 1958 crisis. De Gaille quickly founded the Fifth Republic and the established a new Constitution.
De Gaulle progressively shifted in favor of Algerian independence, seeing it as inevitable. He thus engaged in negotiations with the FLN, leading to the March 1962 Evian Accords which led to the independence of Algeria.
 

Turkey comes to the rescue of TRNC
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor IR

Lefkosa ( Nicosia) :While Turkish government continues to support a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue , Ankara stood firmly with TRNC by refusing to open its sea ports and airports to Greek Cypriot aircrafts and vessels.

Given, the negative attitude by Greek Cypriots, Turkey postponed normalizing bilateral relations with southern Cyprus. Turkey also used its veto against Greek Cyprus's membership to several international organizations and of the Wassenaar Agreement until South Cyprus shares power with TRNC.

Turkey protested against the agreement concluded between southern Cyprus and Lebanon on delimitation of the maritime exclusive economic zone as well as the defence cooperation agreement the Greek Cypriot government concluded with France.

On the other hand European Court of Human Rights gave an interesting judgment on the Xenides-Arestis case. In its follow-up decision of December 2006, the Court accepted, in principle, the Immovable Property Commission established by the Turkish Cypriot Community as a legitimate domestic remedy. The Court could not address all the relevant issues concerning the effectiveness of this remedy due to lack of agreement between the parties on the issue of just satisfaction.

UN process and ports issue

Regarding the stuck United Nations process , it is expected that the Turkish government will continue to support the launching of full-fledged negotiations on a comprehensive settlement, for which the 8 July 2006 agreement between the leaders of the two communities on the island should be the basic ground.

 

Pakistan commended for supporting TRNC

Dr Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)

Lefkosa—The Turkish Republic of North Cyprus(TRNC) highly appreciates the support of Pakistan for its just cause. When I recently visited Pakistan, I was received as a head of State. Pakistan is the second best country in supporting TRNC after Turkey. We are full of hope that these bilateral relations would lead to the lifting of the economic siege and isolation of TRNC. The Turkish Cypriots(TC) have accepted the 2004- Kofi Annan Plan to resolve the Cyprus issue on the basis of power sharing but the Greek Cypriots (GC) rejected it following securing admission to the European Union on 1st May, 2004. Since then, the GC side is defying the UN body by deliberate attempts to isolating us economically.
These were the main features of the press briefing of TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat while speaking to 45 delegates from all over the world a day before the 24th anniversary of the establishment of the TRNC.
Mr. Talat spoke at length and in a candid way on the history of the Cyprus issue, appealing to all delegates to urge their respective countries to cooperate both bilaterally and in international bodies to eliminate unnecessary restrictions and barriers that both have the effect of isolating the TC and impeding their development.
Giving a long history of cooperation with UN body, Talat maintained that TC side adopted a constructive approach and took concrete unilateral steps designed to break the impasse in the UN-sponsored UN peace process and to build confidence between the two communities. Talat pointed out that the idea to establish technical committees between TC and GC sides was originally suggested by Turkish Cypriot side, with a view to overcome the difficulties that arise in the daily lives of the two communities.
Earlier in the morning, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Turgay Avci briefed the delegates on the same issue giving a detailed background of the issue, appealing to the world community to help TC break the state of siege and isolating even as TRNC has complied with all relevant UN resolutions and peace plans including that of former UN Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan.
Avci highly appreciated the support extended by Pakistan and urged international community to help TC end the unjust economic siege and isolation arbitrarily imposed on TRNC. He also appreciated support by OIC and Arab League and hoped that it would translate into concrete steps to end the economic siege and isolation of TRNC.
The delegates were taken to EMU University which is internationally recognized. It is located on the outskirts on the Venetian walled city of Gazimagusa. In EMU University a two-hour seminar was arranged to highlight the attempt of the GC to academically marginalize EMU by excluding it from Scholar Exchange Programme of EMU and depriving it from funds including those needed for vital archeological research.
EMU is a pioneer in the area with more than 1000 faculty members coming from 35 countries. There are 15000 students in the university from 68 various nationalities. EMU has been approved by Higher Education Council of Turkey. It is full individual member of the institutions like the European University Associations, Community of Mediterranean Universities, Federation Universities of Islamic World and International Association of Universities.
A tour was arranged to Gazimagusa City. It is estimated that over 30000 tourists visit TRNC annually. The education sector contributes roughly $400 million to the national economy.
 

TRNC gives a message of defiance
Dr. Jassim Taqui

Lefkosa (Nicosia)—The President of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus( TRNC) Mr. Mehmet Ali Talat presided over a military parade in the capital. Delegates from all over the world including Europe, the United States and Muslim countries also took part in the parade. One could see there different delegates from Pakistan each one of them holding high both Pak and Turkish Cypriot flags. Representatives from almost every section of the civil society also took part in the parade. A large number of civilians were lined on both sides of the main road in the capital in a festive mood along with their spouse and children to cheer the armed forces of TRNC. People were singing and dancing to celebrate the 24th anniversary of establishing the TRNC. In about 3 hour parade people were singing national songs, reciting poetry, raising slogan of patriotism and applauding their armed forces. A contingent of senior Turkish Cypriots led the parade in an unusual spirit of nationalism and self-esteem that infuses inspiration to the rising young generation of the island.
The people and leadership of TRNC seem in high morale despite sustained attempts by Greek Cypriots to isolate them economically and politically since May 2004 when they were admitted to the European Union. The feature of the parade is a strong contingency of a smartly dressed commandos and modern army and air force. The parade is seen by many observers here as a reminder to the adversary of TRNC that the armed forces are ready to defend the motherland at any cost and that the policy of siege and isolation would definitely backfire.

Pakistan commended for supporting TRNC
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor IR



Lefkosa( Nicosia): The Turkish Republic of North Cyprus(TRNC) highly appreciates the support of Pakistan for its just cause. When I recently visited Pakistan, I was received as a head of State. Pakistan is the second best country in supporting TRNC after Turkey . We are full of hope that these bilateral relations would lead to the lifting of the economic siege and isolation of TRNC. The Turkish Cypriots(TC) have accepted the 2004- Kofi Annan Plan to resolve the Cyprus issue on the basis of power sharing but the Greek Cypriots (GC) rejected it following securing admission to the European Union on 1st May, 2004. Since, then, the GC side is defying the UN body by deliberate attempts to isolating us economically.

These were the main features of the press briefing of TRNc President Mehmet Ali Talat while speaking to 45 delegates from all over the world a day before the 24th anniversary of the establishment of the TRNC.

Mr. Talat spoke at length and in a candid way on the history of the Cyprus issue, appealing to all delegates to urge their respective countries to cooperate both bilaterally and in international bodies to eliminate unnecessary restrictions and barriers that both have the effect of isolating the TC and impeding their development.

Giving a long history of cooperation with UN body, Talat maintained that TC side adopted a constructive approach and took concrete unilateral steps designed to break the impasse in the UN-sponsored UN peace process and to build confidence between the two communities. Talat pointed out that the idea to establish technical committees between TC and GC sides was originally suggested by Turkish Cypriot side, with a view to overcome the difficulties that arise in the daily lives of the two communities.

Earlier in the morning, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Turgay Avci briefed the delegates on the same issue giving a detailed background of the issue, appealing to the world community to help TC break the state of siege and isolating even as TRNC has complied with all relevant UN resolutions and peace plans including that of former UN Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan.

Avci highly appreciated the support extended by Pakistan and urged international community to help TC end the unjust economic siege and isolation arbitrarily imposed on TRNC. He also appreciated support by OIC and Arab League and hoped that it would translate into concrete steps to end the economic siege and isolation of TRNC.

The delegates were taken to EMU University which is internationally recognized. It is located on the outskirts on the Venetian walled city of Gazimagusa. In EMU University a two-hour seminar was arranged to highlights the attempt of the GC to academically marginalize EMU by excluding it from Scholar Exchange Programme of EMU and depriving it from funds including those needed for vital archeological research.

EMU is a pioneer in the area with more than 1000 faculty members coming from 35 countries. There are 15000 students in the university comprised of 68 different nationalities. EMU has been approved by Higher Education Council of Turkey. It is full individual member of the institutions like the European University Associations, Community of Mediterranean Universities, Federation Universities of Islamic World And International Association of Universities.

A tour was arranged to Gazimagusa City. It is estimated that over 30000 tourists visit TRNC annually. The education sector contributes roughly $400 million to the national economy.

 

Time to recognize Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor IR


Lefkosa: The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus(TRNC) continues to be the victim of double standard policy of the United Nation. A large number of states were ready to recognize TRNC, however, the EU and UN pressure are so tremendous that none could have the gut to say "enough is enough." Consequently, TRNC continues to rely on Turkey to facilitate its contacts with the international community.

The UN itself suffers from indecision . A UN Referendum in to merge the two countries was rejected by the Greek Cypriots and accepted by the Turkish Cypriots in 2004. Since then, the European Union has declared its intentions to assist in reducing the economic isolation of Northern Cyprus and begun giving the nation aid. Also, following the failed referendum, travel restrictions between the Turkish Northern Cyprus and Greek Cyprus have been significantly eased.

The TRNC continues with its contacts with various states to secure formal recognition to allow for formal foreign relations to flourish.

At the present time, only Turkey maintains a formal embassy in the TRNC, while the TRNC has an embassy and consulates in Turkey. In various other countries, the TRNC has representative offices which serve as de facto embassies and consulates. Turkey represents the TRNC's interests in countries without such offices. In Northern Nicosia (the Turkish Cypriot administered northern half), both the British High Commissioner to Cyprus and the United States Ambassador to Cyprus have their formal residences.

Azerbaijan and the Gambia have recently announced their willingness to eventually formally recognize the TRNC. They so far have not followed through, but their contacts have increased. Also, diplomats from other countries have recently officially visited the TRNC Embassy in Ankara to hold meetings with the TRNC Ambassador. The latest nation to state their intention to positively change their policy towards TRNC is Paraguay.

Honorary Representatives are also appointed by the TRNC in various other cities to represent the TRNC and to assist the primary TRNC Representative Offices.

Ozgur Party (Minority partner in the TRNC Government) Leader Turgay Avci serves as the Foreign Minister (as well as Deputy Prime minister). He replaced Serdar Denkta? (son of the former Turkish Cypriot President Rauf Denktas) on 27 September 2006.

Encouraged by UN, the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus (GCASC) refuses to give any official status to the government of the TRNC, and actively dissuades any other country from doing so.

The TRNC President is referred to simply as the "Turkish Cypriot Leader" by the Cyprus Government, the EU and the United Nations. It is however interesting to note that under the 1960 Constitution of Cyprus, the Leader of the Turkish Cypriots is regarded as the Vice-President of the Republic of Cyprus with wide veto powers, but this status has not been acknowledged by the Cypriot government since December 1963. Due to this stance, the TRNC refuses any official recognition of GCASC .

Negotiations between both Cypriot communities have been complicated by the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union in 2004. The TRNC views the EU accession as illegal as they had not been consulted (as the 1960 constitution stipulates), and that GCASC does not represent the Turkish Cypriot populace. Legally, the EU regulations cover the whole island, but in practice, only the southern portion of the island enjoys the benefits of EU membership.

The GCASC has used their EU position to veto promised aid packages from the EU to the TRNC, and is using its membership to add pressure on Turkey to end their support for the TRNC. This is being viewed in an increasingly negative way by countries such as Britain and the United States.

The UN and EU pursue hypocritical and double standard policy . On the one hand they refuse to recognize TRNC on the plea that it was separated from unified Cyprus. However, they quickly recognized Bangladesh in 1972 after it broke off from Pakistan. Similarly, the UN recognized Israel, which usurped huge territories of Palestine since its creation in 1948 and continues even today to deny the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to statehood.

Under these conditions, it is about time that the member-states of OIC should collectively recognize TRNC and end the illegal siege against its people. Pakistan should take the lead and set an example before all and sundry.

 

Syria: a depoliticized society
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor IR


Damascus: You have to be a poet to write on Syria . This is not an ordinary country. It is Bilad Al-Sham with history that dates back to 5000 BC. Having stayed one week in the Damascus , Homs and Hama, freely mixing with diverse people and officials including high military officials in Military Academy, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ali Habib Mehmood, Minister of Defence Gen. Hassan Torkomani , Minister of Culture Dr. Riaz Na’san Agha, and Director General of Dar Al-Assad for Culture and Arts Dr. Nabil Allou, I rediscovered Sham in my third visit to this beauty.
Invariably, all people are full of life, energy and optimism. They are highly educated and well read. Almost all people I interacted with perceive danger from Israel and its allies but they are full of commitment not only to resist aggression but also to liberate their occupied Golan Heights.
The rest is life as usual. There is a tremendous willingness among people to lead their normal life. Their energy zooms at day time. However, their evening is full of relaxation, songs and music. Intellectuals, thinkers and artists are prominently dominating life style, making a stimulating effect on the rest of the society. You could see in their publications and TV programmes variety of celebration, romance, the creative arts, social and cultural activities, and business matters.
The beauty is that the majority liberal class co-exist with conservatives and minorities. All sections of the society communicate well with each other. You can find high degree of tolerance and mutual accommodation.
One common factor you find in Sham is a depoliticized society. This is possible because of the ancient history of Sham that makes you fall in love with it at the first sight. Syria ( Sham) is called in Arabic “the beating heart of Arabism.” It is a world of fantasy , wide diversity of culture and fascinating multitude of natural charm. In Syria ( Sham) you can see deserts, valleys, citadels, bazaars, antiquities and castles. It is in this country that you can see the trail of the silk merchants between Mediterranean Sea and Mesopotamia.
Living in this stunning beauty has moderated the society and made them superior to political polarization, extremism and fanaticism. And all those who tried to drift from the cultural world of Sham were swept away by the intellect, culture and logic of the majority enlightened people and the melody of music.
The wonderful weather, the fascination of environment and rich cultural heritage have all combined to polish the people, lift them higher through their cultured discourse, intellect and education. The diversity of the land is telling on the people . They are surrounded by stunning natural scenery, rugged mountains, green plains, vast deserts, quiet swimming beaches, mountain peaks perpetually covered with snow and fertile valleys. It is beauty all around. The beauty of Mother Nature that embraces wonderful souls and beautiful minds.





Celebrating the Independence Day of Poland
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor IR


On the occasion of the Independence Day of the Republic of Poland and the Armed Forces Day, the Charge d’ Affaires a.i. and Mrs. Wieslaw Kucharek hosted a grand reception at the Crystal Ball Room, Marriot Hotel. A large number of people attended the function . The Chief guest was the Federal Minister for Frontier Affairs (SAFRON) Sardar Yar Mohammad Rind. Envoys from European Union along with European military attaches were in attendance along with other ambassadors and military attaches from Arab countries with their spouses. One could see in the function the tall, charming and smiling Ms Ina Lepel, DCM of German Embassy who has come back after spending holidays in Germany. Presently, she is the boss in German Embassy.
Among other popular figures who enjoyed the functions was the lovable Swiss Military Attaché Colonel Hans Eberhart and his “silent beauty” Ms Erika. They, a long with other music lovers, enjoyed 20 minutes performance by the renowned Polish flutist Ms Jdwiga Kotnowsky along with the young pianist Kotnowska . The duo enthralled the audience playing the eternal “Common Fantasy” and “Mazurka”.
Music is one of the most thrilling aspect of our lives. It communicates a universal language that influences our inner self and subconscious. For some unknown reason , we deeply interact with the sound of music that transcends language and border and settles deep in our soul. Music can alter our mood, emotion and psychology. The music brings us joy and serenity, soothes our weary nerves, lifts us up whenever we are down. It was a wonderful gesture by Mr. and Mrs. Kucharek to be innovative and to arrange a short show of music at a time when the nation faces a grim situation.
There were many prominent figures in the function including Mr. Akram Zaki, Sadruddin Hashwani, Prince Aurangzeb, Dr. Abrar ul Hussnain Sayed, Sayed Ahmad of Gulf Group of Diplomatic Duty Free Stores, Sardar Omar Durrani of Omar Travels and Ms Shakuntala Ishwer of Giouanni International(PVT) LTD that deals exclusively with Marketing and Market Research for diplomatic corps in Islamabad.
The atmosphere was serene. The theme was the state of emergency and its fallouts. Most diplomats seemed to be at complete loss to understand the motives and the outcome of the state of emergency. They could not comprehend what was going on and what would be next in a turbulent turn of events on the domestic scene.

 

Introducing Saleh and Aziz

Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor IR

The Dean of the Arab Diplomats and Deputy Dean of Diplomatic Corps Mr. Ali Awadh Asseri is active again. In his spacious and green residence, Asseri hosted an impressive sitting dinner to introduce two new Arab ambassadors, namely Saleh Jawarna the ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Mr. Aziz Al-Dihani, the Ambassador of the State of Kuwait. Asseri invited all Arab ambassadors and heavy weight officials of the Foreign Office including: Mr. Sher Afgan Khan, Special Secretary, Mr. Ghalib Iqbal , D.G. Middle East, Mr. Zahid Raza Khan- Director, Arab, Mr. Nazir Hussain, Chief of Protocol and Mrs. Shireen A. Moiz——Addl. Secy. (ME). Mr. Zahid Malik was the only editor-in-chief invited to the function.
In his usual way, Asseri delivered a welcome address in which he highlighted the importance of Pakistan and how friendly the people were towards the Arabs. He advised Saleh and Aziz to enjoy the scenery and the diversity in Pakistan. Asseri described Saleh as 65 percent Pakistan since Mr. Jawarna has been in Pakistan in various capacities since 1970s.
The witty Saleh responded by saying that he was 100 percent Pakistani. Indeed, Saleh Jawarna is one person who really loves Pakistan and takes keen interest in promoting bilateral relations. He speaks fluent Urdu in addition to English, Russian and Arabic. Having known Saleh since late seventies, I would say that he established strong ties with Pakistanis more than foreign diplomats. Most of his friends are now in very high position and keep inviting him. Saleh is composed, soft-spoken , calm with a peculiar smile. You always find him in high spirit and excellent mood.
I have already introduced Mr. Aziz in earlier column, who has a fairly long experience in foreign service. He is coming to Pakistan at a very critical stage whereby things are happening at a very rapid pace. One of his relative spoke very high of his capabilities, efficiency and dynamism.
Both Saleh and Aziz appreciated the initiative of the Dean of Arab diplomats and highlighted the historic ties between their countries and Saudi Arabia. Both spoke on promoting Arab-Arab ties and employing the same in promoting Arab-Pak bilateral relations.
The Algerian ambassador Mr. Nadur Larbaoui was unusually quiet but not for a long time. He suddenly suggested a joke and made Asseri and the Sudan ambassador Al-Haj Dafallah Ali Othman narrate jokes but he himself kept detached from joke- narration. However, Larbaoui added a new dimension to the function, making it cheerful and very special.
 

Celebrating the 74th Malaysian Armed Forces Day

Dr. Jassim Taqui

Deputy Editor IR

 

Islamabad:  On the occasion of the 74th Malaysia Armed Forces Day, the Defence Adviser Colonel and Mrs. Roslan Saruan hosted  a reception at the Crystal Ballroom, Marriot Hotel. A large number of military, air and naval attaches, ambassadors and diplomats and elite of the twin cities Islamabad and Rawalpindi attended the party. The Chief guest was Lt. Gen. Javed Zia along with high ranking military officers. All Arab military  attaches were present in addition to the ambassadors of  Sultanate of Oman, Yemen, Tunisia Algeria, and Iran along with his military attaché. One could see the Indians taking keen interest in the function with Aid Adviser Group Captain Rahul Dhar and Naval Adviser  Captain Sanjay Bhalla.

 

 

 

The Canadian and British military attaches were present along with their charming spouses who were engaged in a "linguistic discourse" with this writer. However, no names or visiting cards could be changed! No political theme. Just language and linguistics with emphasis on etymology, the pioneer linguists like Eugene Nida and Noam Chomsky.

 

 

 

The surprise is the presence of the Ambassador of the State of Kuwait  Mr. Aziz Al-Dihani. He belongs to the renewed tribe of Mutairi. He is also linked with the famous tribe of Otaibi that produced Hazrat Halimatul Sadiah (RA) the foster mother of the holy prophet Mohammad( PBUH). Al-Dihani served for 15 years in China. He is coming from Libya. He is waiting to introduce his credentials to President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

 

 

 

The atmosphere was tense as most of the guests showing concern to the rapid and unfolding developments that is storming Pakistan. Almost all Arab and Muslim military officials were praying for the unity, and integrity of Pakistan. The main talk was the meeting of President Musharraf with about 100 envoys in the Presidency that lasted for about one hour.

 

Radolfo’s last party before daughter’s wedding
Diplomatic Focus
Dr. Jassim Taqui, Deputy Editor (IR)


We are here to welcome the Ambassador of Brazil and Mrs. Carlos Sette Camara Da Fonseca, the US Ambassador Ms Anne Patterson and her spouse Mr. David Patterson. This is my last party before the wedding of my daughter Dolores to Juan Manuel Esperson on November 24, 2007 at Buenos Aires, Argentina.
I am sure that Mr. and Mrs. Fonsica would enjoy their stay in Pakistan. As you see, I have brought together America and Latin America on one table.
These were the highlights of a short but witty speech delivered by the Ambassador of Argentina Mr. Rodolfo J. Martin-Saravia in a sitting dinner he hosted at his residence. By now Mr. Rodolfo has become very popular with his freshness, smile and optimism.
Responding to the speech Mr. Fonseco said that it was a special moment to be in Pakistan. He added, “Pakistan is the most simulating country and I look forward to cement the bilateral relations between Brazil and Pakistan. “
The elite of diplomatic community attended the function including US Ambassador Ms Anne Patterson and her spouse Mr. David Patterson, Ambassador of Cuba Mr. Gustavo Machin Gomez, Ambassador of Portugal Dr. Antonio Jose da, Ambassador of Spain Mr. Mr. Jose Maria Robles Fraga and his spouse Anna Robles Fraga, Ambassador of Holy See Archbishop Adolfo Tito C. Yllana, Mr. Osman Waheed, Ms Gillo Hussain, Sayed Hussain, Ms Marta Ortigao, Mr. Riaz Kohkhar and his spouse Shabas Khokhar, Lt. Gen, Yaqoob Khan, Mr. Zenab Omar, Ambassador Sohail Mehmood, Ms Mehr Naqvi, Ms Monica Settle Camara, Mr. Tuba Khan, Senator Enver Baig, Ms. Farah Naz Isfahani, Ambassador Sarvar Naqvi and Mr. Zafar Bakhtarwri.
The atmosphere was serene. Despite grim internal situation, Mr. Rodolfo added a scent of aroma to the gathering due to his joyous spirit , sense of humour and optimism. And that was the last party of Rodolfo before the wedding of his daughter Dolores. One wishes Mr. Rodolfo and his family happy times and pleasant daughter’s wedding with a renewed romantic enlightenment !! Rodolfo always thinks younger and lives better and longer. Linguistically, Rodolfo is derived from the German Rudolf, which means “famous wolf.”

 

Syria would keep all options open
Dr. Jassim Taqui, Deputy Editor IR


Damascus : Syria would keep all its option open in the next International Meeting For Peace (IMFP) to be held in November or December at Washington. So far the IMFP is ambiguous. We do not really know as to what prompts Washington to hold IMFP? Is it to impose one-sided peace on Arabs? Is it related to the US elections? Or is it aimed at bailing out Olmert from his present political crisis. ?

These were the highlights of an exclusive Interview with a high level Syrian military official while speaking exclusively to this writer her in Damascus. The official sought anonymity one day a head of a close-door seminar here. Pakistan Observer is the only paper from Pakistan invited to this closed-door seminar. More than 20 thinkers, scholars and military experts are invited to the IMFO from various parts of the world.

The official was very critical of the present state of indifference of the major power in matters pertaining to occupied Golan Heights. He stated that the Syrian government and people would never abandon the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people including total Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Palestinian and Arab territories including Al-Quds Al-Sharif, Golan Heights and Shab'aa Farm, the right of the Palestinian people to return and compensation and the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian State.

Having met various officials and lectured in the Syrian Military Academy, I could see that the Syrians are self-confident and fully committed to their stance. One could see the photos of President Bashar Al-Assad everywhere in Damascus along with the legendary Syrian leader late Hafiz Al-Assad. People here are so proud of the stance of Bashar Al-Assad, who has emerged to be as a prominent leader of the Arab and Muslim worlds.

Assad has shrewdly tackled the Americans and the Israelis and foiled their tactics to implicate Syria in acts that Damascus never committed. According to another Syrian specialist from Lebanon, Mr. Naqquash, " there are very serious documents that implicate some very close allies of the US administration in assassination of former Prime Minister of Lebanon Mr. Rafique Al-Hariri and the latest foiled attempt on the leader of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah. While attempting to kill Nasrullah over 100 of his supporters were killed. " However, Mr. Naqquash declined to give more details so that " the adversaries of Syria and their allies inside Lebanon and outside it would be taken by surprise and fully exposed for engineering false cases against Syria and its leadership. I promise you the documents would cause a huge stir in Arab and international political scene. The entire world would know the true truth very soon. "

 

Asseri commends Pak Army, ERRA
Dr. Jassim Taqui, Deputy Editor IR


I highly commend the spirit of Pak Army and Earthquake Re construction and Rehabilitation Agency (ERRA) for their tremendous effort in alleviating the suffering of the earthquake victims. Asseri also highlighted the close cooperation of ERRA with Saudi relief agencies, particularly Saudi Public Assistance for Pakistan Earthquake Victims (SPAPEV). Under the instruction of the Custodian Haramain Shareefain, King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Saudi Arabia was the first state to respond to Pakistan’s call. We are religiously and morally committed to support Pakistan and to sustain this support.
These were the highlights of a speech delivered by the Saudi Ambassador, Mr. Ali Awadh Asseri, in a function organized by SPAPEV, which was chaired by the Federal Minister for Railways, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad. Prominent figures who also attended the function included Dr. Khalid Othman, Deputy Director General SPAPEV Islamabad, Lt. General Farooq Ahmad Khan, Chairman ERRA and Mr. Abdu Attian, Director General International Islamic Relief Organization Islamabad.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Khalid Othman highlighted the details of the Saudi relief to the earthquake and flood victims, estimated at USD 500 million. He pointed out that King Abdullah and the Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif Bin Abdul Aziz supervise SPAPEV and take keen interest in the welfare, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the affected areas.
Lt. General Farooq Ahmad Khan paid rich tribute to King Abdullah, the Saudi leadership and the people of Saudi Arabia for their generous assistance that saved over five million victims of the earthquake. He also commended Asseri for his close and intimate interaction with ERRA.
Sheikh Rasheed stole the show by his usual witty style, stating that the Pak Saudi relations should not be described as all weather relations, but “Brotherhood of all seasons”. He disclosed that he maintained a photo with the former Saudi Ambassador Riaz Al Khateeb since his childhood, symbolizing his love and affection to Saudi Arabia.
He paid rich tribute to King Abdullah, leadership and Saudi people. He described Asseri as “the smartest ambassador I have ever seen in my life” stating that Asseri would be elected unopposed as a member of the national assembly or senate if he contested the election in Pakistan.
Dr. Abdu Attian highlighted the present relief assistance to Balochistan, stating that SPAPEV was sending a consignment of 36 trucks of relief goods for the flood affectees, consisting of 1000 tents, 1000 quilts, 1000 tarpal, 1000 plastic sheets, 1000 heaters and 5000 parcels of foodstuff. Each parcel contains 20 kg rice, 10 kg beans, 5 kg ghee and 2 kg powder milk.
The function concluded when Dr. Khalid Othman presented merit certificate from SPAPEV to Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad.

 

Celebrating Egyptian Armed Forces Day
Dr. Jassim Taqui, Deputy Editor IR

Islamabad—On the occasion of the 34th anniversary of the Great October War Victory( Egyptian Armed Forces Day) the Defence Attaché Group Captain and Mrs. Hesham Mohamed Abdel hosted a reception at the Crystal Ball Room of the Marriot Hotel.
The chief guest was Lt. Gen. Shahid Siddique Termizi, Secretary Defence Production. A large number of the high ranking military officials also attended including Gen. Mohammad Mustapha. Almost all Arab ambassadors and military attaches were also in attendance.
Prominent e non- Arabs figures who attended the function were Colonel Han Eberhart and his charming spouse Ms Erika. The couple are very popular among diplomatic community due to their pleasant personality and spirit of humility and friendship. Finally, they are back after spending 5 weeks of R&R in Switzerland.
Another famous duo who attended the function were the Iranian Ambassador Mr. Mashaalah Shakeri and military attaché Brigadier Abbas Amirbokaei along the ambassador of Uzbekistan Oybek Arif Usmanov and the ambassador of North Korea Ri Yong Hwan who speaks Urdu fluently. Senior journalist were also invited in large number.
Mr. Sadruddin Hashwani spent a long time in the function, while Assad Shah was on his toes receiving the guests and directing them to the Crystal Ball Room.
The October victory would remain a landmark in the contemporary history of Egypt. In this war the Egyptian forces raising the slogan of Allah-o-Akbar crossed the fortified Suze Canal and retained their occupied lands.
They taught Israel and its allies a lesson that they would never forget and shatter the myth of the invincibility of the Israeli army.
In an exclusive interview with Pakistan Observer, the Egyptian ambassador Mr. Hussein Kamel Haridy disclosed that the legendary leader Gamal Abdel Nasser put the plan of crossing the Suez Canal. Its code was Granite II but implemented by late Egyptian leader Anwar Al-Sadat. Haridy recalled that former Israeli defence minister Moshe Dyane stated after the 1967 war that he expected Nasser to call him. Nasser answered,” No voice should be louder than the voice of the liberation battle.”
In 1967, Haridy was a member of the Socialist Youth Organization, which was amalgamated with the People’s Defence Forces . He undertook a military training and specialized as Light Machine Gunner. In February, 1973 Haridy graduated from the War College and joined Artillery Corp, which played a pioneering role in the October War. He was associated with Marshall Abdel Halim Abu Ghazala who was the commander of the 2nd Army. Haridy had the honour of being entrusted the task of communicating the artillery war plan to the Defence Ministry. He also witnessed the missile war on the Israeli position on October 22, 1973.
Answering a question of his impression on the October War, Haridy stated, “ I spent the best period of my life, preparing the October War and crossing the Suez Canal. They Egyptian Army was capable of advancing to the Egyptian international border. However, substantial US support to Israel was the major hindrance… Also, the former US Secretary of State Mr. Henry Kissinger told Sadat, “ The United State would never permit the soviet weapons to dominate the US-made Israeli weapons.”


 

The October Spring of Spain
Dr. Jassim Taqui, Deputy Editor IR

On the occasion of the national day, the Ambassador of Spain and Mrs. Anna Robles Fraga hosted a reception in their lush garden in Diplomatic Enclave I, where they reside. A large number of people from different walks of life, including the elite of the Twin Cities, attended the function . There was a festive mood among the guests.
They enjoyed the generosity and kindness of Mr. Mrs. Fraga. During their short stay in Islamabad of about two years and seven months, the couple made their impression as evident from large number of guests attending their function.
The Chief Guest was Mr. Faisal Saleh Hayat, along with Prof. Victor Mushtaq, who cut the cake to commemorate the occasion, with the applause of the audience, who virtually the entire garden. Mrs. Anna Fraga was busy cutting pieces of the huge cake, and serving it to guests.
Some prominent figures attended the function, including Mr. Akram Zaki, Mr. Mohammad Ismail Qureshi, Mr. Muazzam M. Malik, Allama Prof. Ejaz Mehmood Qadri, Allam Inayat Ali Shakir, Gen. Talat Masood and Asma Khan of the Citizen’s Foundation.
The function was dominated by large number of envoys and High Commissioners, including the Dean of Diplomatic Corps, Mr. Sapir Berdiniyazov and the Dean of the Arab Diplomats, Mr. Ali Awadh Asseri and the US Ambassador, Ms. Anne Patterson.
Mr. Al Nashir Jamal, Chairman of Agha Khan Foundation, and his spouse were the most sought after couple at the function. I asked Mr. Jamal whether he knew the meaning of his name, which is Arabic meaning “the beautiful bearer of good news.” Jamal conceded the same and stood out among the guests. Meanwhile, the DCM of the German Embassy, Ina Lepel joined the discussion. We soon discovered that she herself is a linguist, speaking German, Russian, Georgian and Thai fluently. She is currently learning the Urdu language.
Lepel was joined by the German Ambassador, Mr. Gunter Mulack, who speaks fluent Arabic, and is a linguist in his own right. Lepel intervened to state that she also knows the Arabic language. It looked very strange that in a diplomatic function, diplomats were more open and even more interested to discuss language, linguistics and culture rather than politics. However, politics always dominates diplomatic functions. A diplomat approached the author and sought anonymity to give the following concluding sentence: “Benazir said if she came to Pakistan, she would send Qadeer to Vienna and Americans to Wana”.

 

A cultural trip with Simon Butt
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor (IR)

It was the love ad sincerity of Asad Khan that made the trip possible. Mr. Asad Khan is a retired, but ever green, chairman of a British multinational group in London. He is privileged to be the official photographer of Queen Elizabeth , Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Mother, late Shah of Iran and late King Hussain. Asad Khan combined with Mr. Anwar Haroon, Chairman of Quaid-e-Azam Memorial Foundation to invite Mr. Simon Butt , Deputy High Commissioner of the British High Commission in Islamabad to a morning trip to Murree.
During the short trip, the group stopped at the Christian Cemetery. We were shocked to see the deteriorating condition of the cemetery, where some historic British nationals are buried. One could venture to state that the indifference of the local administration to maintain the cemetery that dates back to 1903 is responsible for virtually burring an important history of Pakistan. Mr. Butt and the group spent sometimes at the cemetery. The group relived a rich history of Pakistan that dates back to early nineteenth century.
The groups moved then to the beautiful site of Quaid-e-Azam Memorial Foundation, where mother nature was at its best . You could see nature in the most captivating state of beauty. The weather was perfect. You could feel that you have attained the inner beauty and inner perfection by interaction with the surrounding.
The most fascinating feature of the trip is a strange spiritual overlapping between the members of the group. All were fans of some giant British and Hollywood actor and actresses. Asad Khan was at his best, combining with Mr. Butt to remember some classic movies like My Fair Lady( Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn). Asad Khan was the still photographer of My Fair Lady. When you visit his residence, you would find some fascinating photos of Vivien Lee at her peak in Gone with the Wind and Roman Holiday.
I had the privilege of discussing with Mr. Simon Butt English Literature, poetry and linguistics. Later, we combined with Asad Khan to pay tribute to some outstanding actors and actresses including David Nivin, Lord Oliver( Sir Lawrence Oliver) who is the all time greatest actor, Cavin Spacy and Boby Daren.
I have rediscovered Mr. Simon Butt. Here is one of the most educated and learned diplomat I have ever met. What makes him very special is his humility, tenderness and kindness. You simply love his company and his discourse. When you listen to him speaking on literature, you simply forget politics and its complications. Literature teaches you the purest form of discourse and intellect. It is a world in its own right. It affects the soul and imposes its beauty on every man, creating positivism that would shield you from every evil in the universe.

 

Freedom and democracy should be established in Palestine
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor IR

To commemorate Al-Quds Day, the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mr. Mashaalah Shakeri hosted an Iftar-cum-dinner party at his well-designed and neatly kept residence. Large number of people from different walks of life attended the function. Prominent among those who attended were Raja Zafarul Haq, Anver Baig, Sayed Sajid Ali Naqvi, Agha Murtaza Pooya, Liaquat Baloch, Irshad Ahmad Khan, Al-Nashir Jamal and many other dignitaries. Large number of envoys from Arab and Muslim world were in attendance especially ambassadors of Egypt, Syria, and Iraq.
There were 23 envoys of GRAHM ( Group of Resident Asians Heads of Missions) including the Dean of Diplomatic Corps Mr. Sapar Berdiniyazov and Dean of Arab Diplomatic Corps Mr. Ali Awadh Asseri. Other prominent ambassadors who attended were the British High Commissioner Mr. Robert Brinkley, Ambassador of Japan Mr. Seiji Kojima and the Korean Ambassador Mr. Shin Un.
In an exclusive interview with Pakistan Observer, Mr. Shakiri highlighted the core issue of Al-Quds Al-Sharif and said, “It is the duty of every Muslim to support the just cause of the Palestinian people…Al-Quds Al- Sharif is the 2nd Qibla for the world of Islam and a pillar of unity among them, therefore, it is the collective responsibility of the Muslim Ummah to support the just Palestinian cause and the inalienable rights of the Palestinians to return and to self-determination. We support the cause of all Palestinian people irrespective of their race or religion. Let us work together to support our Palestinian brothers. Freedom and democracy have to be established in AlQuds Al-Sharif.” Shakiri looked cheerful and in an excellent mood . He made some perfect arrangements for iftar and dinner. He mixed freely with his guests and greeted everyone. He showed some unique generosity that is distinct of the cultural heritage of Persia.
The other highlights of the function were the distribution of a booklet containing the message of Ayatullah al- Uzma Sayyid Ali Khamnaee, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran on Palestine and excerpts from the address of the Iranian President Dr. Mahmood Ahmadinejad to the 62nd session of the United Nations General Assembly.
 

Role of women in politics
Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor IR

Women should take part in legislation for five major reasons. They are more ethical species, and voters believe in that. They have a different perspective and will compliment that of men’s. They have distinctive skills that are good for home and businesses. They differ with men on modes of expenditure. Women are better peacemakers than men.
These were the main features of a talk given by Ms. Ann E. W. Stone at Lincoln Corner, International Islamic University (IIU). Dr. Ijaz Shafi Gilani, Advisor to the President of IIU, presided the talk and acted as a moderator. The audience was a select group of local government legislators and activists of PAIMAN Alumni Trust Fund. The talk lasted for three hours in two sessions. PAIMAN - an Urdu word meaning promise – is an NGO that focuses on social and political uplift of grassroots communities in general, and women in particular. It is active in rural areas where women and underprivileged are marginalized.
Stone spoke extempore on how to train and prepare women for contesting elections. She touched basic issues on fund raising and campaigning for the elections.
She over-emphasized that every candidate should study the strength and weakness of the adversary and establish effective contrast with her/him. Women were advised to state their manifesto in a powerful written form, assemble volunteers, study how much votes are required to win, how much money is needed for election campaign, and how to generate the same from the people of the constituency and more importantly, how to make a difference when a given candidate wins the election.
Deliberating on how to write letters to the neighbors and friends of a given constituency, she stated that each letter should have a headline less than fourteen words and that a sentence in that letter should not contain more than fourteen letters.
The letter should have a maximum of five paragraphs. It should be accompanied by a return envelope. The style should be simple and easy to read.
The letter should generate attention, interest, desire and action by the addressee. The theme should be credible, urgent, based on facts, and come through proper timing.
In the second session, participants were asked to leave the auditorium. Each one of them was allowed to come in and to give a one minute speech to the audience presuming that they are the potential voters. Each candidate was given advise that she/he should look self-confident, composed, convincing, and addressing the issues of her/his constituency. Each was advised to start by introducing her/his name, specifically asking for votes, showing the illiterate voters her/his election symbol, and ask them a personal favor to bring more voters to the polling station.
Ms Stone maintained that she started taking part in politics when she was five years old protesting a directive by a train conductor to segregate black from white. Ann opened her first company in March 1982, she set out not only to be a financial success, but to change the Market place for the better. Building on her previous political work in Central America and the UK in the 80s and 90s, Ann has now conducted business and political consulting and analyses in more than a dozen European countries as well as countries in Africa and the Far East.
The entire function was organized and coordinated by Ms. Constance Colding Jones, Cultural attaché of the US embassy. Ms. Jones, who has been in Islamabad for just two weeks, promised to hold more cultural functions and to build bridges of understanding between the two countries. IRC of US embassy also participated in arranging this talk. Mr. Umar Farooq, reference specialist of IRC introduced fact sheets on information resource center Islamabad.

 

The October Spring of Korean Republic

Dr. Jassim Taqui
Deputy Editor IR

On the occasion of the National Foundation Day and the Armed Forces Day, the ambassador of the Republic of Korea and Mrs. Shin Un hosted a reception at their residence in Diplomatic Enclave II.
One could feel a second spring on this beautiful day. The reception was held in the spacious and lush garden that Mr Un paid extraordinary care to maintain, filling it with multi colored flowers and roses of various kinds.
His garden of flowers and roses is shaded by tall trees. The two combined to resurrect the October spring, full of scents and beauty.
The Chief Guest was President of the PML, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, who along with Professor Mushtaq Victor, cut the cake on the occasion. Also present were Mr. Akram Zaki, Javed Bhatti, Gen. Talat Masood, Rana Tariq Javed, Sardar Nasrullah Dareeshak, Saleem Saifullah, Allama Inayat Ali Shakir and many other dignitaries. A large number of envoys and military attaches from Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and South America were also present.
The large attendance of the function tells you a story of success of Mr. Un, who has worked hard to strengthen bilateral relations. Mr. Un was in high spirits, maintaining that Korea used to be known as the “Land of the Morning Calm” with a five thousand year history and fascinating geographic features. However, in the third millennium, Korea is witnessing “economic calm” with gigantic progress and diversity of its society.
Mr. Un draws a parallel between Korean Civilization and Gandhara Indus Civilization. Based on this perception, the two countries have positively interacted. Korea is today the twelfth largest trading partner of Pakistan with trade volume touching $1 billion annually.
Korea supported Pakistan when jolted by the earthquake on October 8, 2005. The Korean government provided $14.56 million worth aid for the victims of the earthquake. Additionally, Korea loaned Pakistan $ 20 million to assist rehabilitation and construction of the earthquake devastated area.
Korea has encouraged its private sector to invest in Pakistan. The total volume of Korean investment is about $200 million. Prominent Korean companies are active in Pakistan, including Daewoo, Hyundai, Samsung, LG Electronics and Samboo Constructions.
Mr. Un looks forward to cementing relations through cultural exchanges, investment in natural resources, human resources and transfer of technical know-how to Pakistan.

 

The Germans give a message of hope
Dr. Jassim Taqui, Deputy Editor IR

To celebrate the Day of German Unity, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany and Mrs. Gunter Mulack hosted a grand reception at the Shadman Hall, Serena Hotel. Large number of people attended. The Chief guest was the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Khurshid Kasuri. There were also many prominent figures in the function including Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir SardarAtique, former ISI Chief Gen. Assad Durrani, Chairman Tehrik-e-Akhuwat-e-Islami Allama Inyat Ali Shakir, Sheikh Mansour(PPP), Palwasha Behram, Secretary General Foreign Affairs Committee(PPP), Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University and many others.
A large number of European, Arab and African envoys, diplomats and military attaches were also in attendance including the Dean of Diplomatic Corps, the dynamic Sapar Berdiniyazov. You could also see the ambassadors of Yemen, Syria Algeria, Morocco , Libya and Tunisia.
Both print and electronic media were represented. Prominent among them were the Executive Editor of Pakistan Observer the charming and elegantly dressed Mr. Gauhar Malik and the Editor of the prestigious magazine Horse and Horsemen Mr. Adil Shah, who has attained an international fame through his excellent magazine. You simply get fascinated by glancing at the super quality photographs and write ups in Horse and Horsemen.
As usual, the Germans were majestic in their hospitability. You could see Mr. Mulack and his spouse standing to greet every guest along with the charming DCM Ms Ina Lapel, Mr. Gerhard Gelhausen and Mr. Klaus G. Muller and his beautiful spouse.
The good news is that the German Press Counsellor Mr. Hans is back. Having noticed the display of Metro, I asked him to introduce me to this giant Cash & Carry MNC. With no time, he introduced me to four high officials of Metro, namely Mr. Giovanni Soranzo, James Scott, Rein Vervoort and Pervaiz Akhtar. In an exclusive interview with Pakistan Observer, Sornazo stated that Metro is investing $ 200 million in Pakistan in the initial phase. First the company would start in Lahore this month. By the end of December, Metro would be in full operation in Islamabad. Ultimately, Metro would establish a network throughout Pakistan. The investment would be multiplied rapidly since Metro believes that there is a great potential for investment in Pakistan. Soranzo went on to state , “Metro is number one international self-service wholesale- and expanding. It offers an extensive selection of high quality products at competitive prices in line with the motto “Professional serving professional.”
All credits should be given to the duo Mulack and Lepel for working so hard to promote German investment in Pakistan, building bridges of understanding, strengthening the bilateral ties and proving to everyone that Pakistan is lively and investment friendly nation. Mulack and Lepel are thus sending a message of hope to every Pakistani.

Qatar Charity launches Rs. 5.5 million Iftar Programme in Pakistan

Dr. Jassim Taqui, Deputy Editor IR

Islamabad: Qatar Charity, a Doha based international humanitarian organization, has launched its Rs.5.5 million Iftar-Programme for distribution of food items among poor families and deserving individuals in various parts of Pakistan during the holy month of Ramadan.

Mr.  Hamad Ali Al Hinzab, Ambassador of the State of Qatar was the chief guest in the launching ceremony of the programme held in the head office of Qatar Charity in Islamabad, while Muhammad Ouahi, Qatar Charity Country Director, and a large number of social workers and representatives of relief organizations were present on the occasion.

According to the Iftar Programme of the organization, 29,556 meals are going to be distributed among students of various institutions, patients and their attendants in various hospitals, daily-wagers and people on duty like Police personnel and hospital staff in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

Under the food-items distribution programme, Qatar charity is set to distribute 2,623 food-packs, 20 kg each, containing rice, flour, sugar, pulse, cooking oil, dates, salt and basin etc. The food items packs are being transported to Bagh district of Azad Kashmir for distribution among earthquake affected families. 719 such packets will be distributed in Bagh, Kashmir, 539 packets in Kharan, Balochistan, 479 packets in DG Khan Punjab and 886 packets in Kohistan, Charsadda, Mardan and Afghan refugees' camps in NWFP.

Speaking on the occasion, the Ambassador of Qatar H.E. Hamad Ali Al-Hinzab appreciated the efforts of Qatar Charity in Pakistan and said that Arab contributions for the uplift of poor masses are increased more than 10 times in the holy month of Ramadan as compared to routine donations. The Ambassador hoped that such activities will substantially contribute in bringing people of the two brotherly countries together and will pave way for strengthened relations between Qatar and Pakistan.

Muhammad Ouahi, Qatar Charity Country Director talked on this occasion about the contribution of Qatar Charity in Pakistan and said that his organization is playing a pioneering role in coordination between donors from Qatar and the deserving people in Pakistan. He pledges to double his organizations' efforts for supporting victims of the earthquake in AJK and NWFP and enhance its activities in the social and development sectors.

 

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