Prime Minister and US envoy steal the show
This principle was seen in action in a well attended reception hosted by the US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter and his charming spouse Dr. Marilyn Wyatt to celebrate the 236th anniversary of US Independence Day Celebration. Ostensibly, Munter was keen to avail this opportunity to give a solid statement on renewal of the strained ties following Operation Geronimo on 2nd May last.
Pakistan itself showed the same keenness as evident from the presence of Prime Minister Sayed Yusuf Raza Gilani as the chief guest, putting aside all protocols to convey a message of amity and seriousness. Both Gilani and Munter were magnanimous and high-minded to the delight of over 1000 invitees.
Speaking on the occasion Munter commended Pakistan in the strongest terms by stating that it is a nation founded on visionary and universal ideals. “ The great founder of your nation, Muhammad Ali Jinah, spoke eloquently of his vision of Pakistan. He said,” You are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or cast or creed; that has nothing to do with the business of the state,” quoted Munter admirably the Father of the nation Qauid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinah. Munter conceded that “ Our two nations are going through a rough patch in our relations. These are times of a trial for both of us. But I believe that though our nations may at times take divergent courses, we aspire toward common goals: peace, freedom, tolerance, and democracy. Our values make us more alike than different.”
Responding to this speech, Prime Minister Sayed Yusuf Raza Gilani said friendly and cooperative ties between Pakistan and the United States would continue to grow through increased cooperation in diverse fields and greater people-to-people contacts. Gilani also conceded a strained relations by stating “ All relationships go through challenging times. The real challenge is to convert them into opportunities for the mutual benefit of our two countries and peoples.” He went on to state that Pakistani people could never forget the large scale and immediate response of the US government and the American people to assist and provide relief to the victims of the devastating earthquake of 2005 and the 2010 worst floods in history that ravaged the country.
The American diplomats were visibly moved by the speech of the prime minister. They commended his statesmanship, magnanimity and deft handling of an extremely difficult and grim situation.
The feature of this diplomatic function is the unprecedented security measures. The invitees were asked to park their cars in the Jinah Convention Center (JCC) and that American shuttles would take them to the US Embassy and return them to their cars upon the conclusion of the function. But one could see another highly positive feature. American diplomats in large number were queued from JCC to the residence of Ambassador. Each shuttle was escorted by a diplomat to give company to the invitees and show them respect.
The American diplomats were very courteous, gentle and kind. Tens of other American diplomats were also mixing with the guests at the huge tent erected in the garden. A group of young Americans sang the national anthems of Pakistan and the United State upon the arrival of Prime Minister Sayed Yusuf Raza Gilani.
Ambassador Cameron Hunter, Dr. Marilyn Wyatt, DCM Richard Hogland, USAID Coordinator Ambassador Robin Raphel, Spokesperson Ms Courtney Beale, and many senior American diplomats and military personnel freely mixed with the invitees and looked well after them.
The atmosphere was festive. People were relaxed and enjoyed the hospitability of Ambassador Cameron Munter and Dr. Marilyn Wyatt. It was a highly successful, well organized, and memorable function.
A large number of people from different walks of life attended the function including diplomats, representatives from business community, politicians and journalists.
Federal Minister of Information and Broadcasting Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Minister for Petroleum Dr. Asim Hussain, Minister of State For Foreign Affairs Ms Hina Rabbani Khar were also in attendance.