Fresh puff of air in suffocating atmosphere of Karachi
First, these receptions were like fresh puff off air in the suffocating atmosphere of Karachi, where spring has already begun.Evenings have,indeed, been extremely pleasant here, and that perhaps was the reason for the Russians and the Swiss to insist on formal dress code for their functions. Since long, the old, colonial or the bourgeoisie style of being formal in lounge suits at these diplomatic receptions, has been discarded because of the humid months for most part of the year. But end of January and the first half February, have been through a winter touch, forcing people to take their woollies out. Sometime it is really enjoyable to wear suits and formal thick dresses. But even traditionalists like Japanese or the French, have now learnt to be casual at their functions, except when it is Queen’s birthday party in April by the British or the French national days.
However, the Russian consul general, Andrey Demidov had a wonderful, exciting party at his office-cum residence to celebrate his country’s security day. An enlightened crowd turned out to be treated to a film about the old Russia, and then to a lavish dinner at the backyard lawns. A galaxy of luminaries, diplomats, businessmen and journalists were there. They thoroughly enjoyed the film and the Russian hospitality.
Andrey is an extremely pleasing personality, and wins friends quickly with his inimitable smiles, and love and affection which has been his hallmark. He looked after his guests individually, making sure they remain comfortable. Present there, were the Korean consul general In-Ki Lee, a thorough gentleman, ready to mix and interact with people in true Korean style, known for their hospitality and kindness. Korea has made enormous progress to be among the Asian economic giants. The Russian diplomats were in their full strength to take care of their guests. Among them were Sergey Kuznetsov , the director and vice consul of the Russian consulate,senior expert DmitriyBogdanov,Deputy Director Alexey Savin, the Italian consul Roberto Franceschinis. The second in command of the UAE consulate, Pakistani businessman and Chile honorary consul Anwar Saleh Mohammad,British Deputy High Commission, Francis Campbell, smiling and in jovial mood which has been his style while meeting people. He probably has been the most hectically involved in shuttling between London and Karachi. Francis not only talked to MQM leader Altaf Hussain on telephone to congratulate him on the grand rally of the party of October 30, but went and personally saw him also. Altaf Hussain is a pleasing personality, very hospitable and good listener, he made no secret of that.
Andrey looked happy at the rapidly improving ties between his country and Pakistan, and was glad at the remarks made about the Pak-Russian cooperation by foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar. The most delightful part of the evening was singing of national anthems of Russian Federation and Pakistan by young Russian children of 5 to 8 years of age group. They just were fantastic, smartly attired, and singing the anthems with perfection. The audience gave them a standing ovation.
Barely two days after that, the Swiss consul general Didier Boshung played host to a grand reception at his residence to a dinner party on the occasion of his country’s ambassador Christopher Bubb. Tall and lanky Swiss envoy, spent three days in Karachi. He is a delightful personality, and has been working to enhance the relationship dimension between Islamabad and Berne. He has been here for four years, coming from New York where he was his country’s consul general with ambassador’s rank. He was happy that the Swiss companies, for many, many years, have been contributing to Pakistan economic progress. Switzerland is a marvelous country. Its success was witnessed when it managed to remain secure and neutral with wars all around its territory during the second world war. Even today it is a delight to be in Switzerland. There are prospects for promotion of economic ties in energy sector with the Swiss. Perhaps three new investors may soon like to be in Pakistan.
The German consul general Dr Klinner, and his deputy head of the mission Rolf Traut too were there. He has been in Pakistan for five months. The US general William Martin, german,Italian, Korean, diplomatic corps members were there. It was warm party, Pakistani businessmen, Pakistan’s former high commissioner to UK, Kader Jaffer, the APNS leader Kazi Asad Abid, the resident editor of the Pakistan observer in Karachi, Faisal Malik, and many others graced the occasion.