Of Iraqi Ambassador and French honour for Pakistani entrepreneur

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Salahuddin Haider

IRAQI Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Ali Al-Rehmani has said that ties between his country and Pakistan have been centuries old, are fraternal in nature, and will continue to grow from strength to strength.
His speech at the breakfast meeting of the Karachi Council for Foreign Relations Monday was first remark from any Iraqi official of authority on bilateral relationship. Dr Ali spoke briefly, but that had a reason. Iraq is trying to recover from the trauma it suffered after two successive attacks under the US administration of George Bush Family. But it was matter of immense pleasure to see Iraqi Ambassador, a pleasant personality, jovial and delightful company, talking about Pak-Iraqi ties.
He did not have much to say for when Iraq, one of the holiest places for the Muslims of the world, with Imam Abu Hanifa, and Pir Ghousul Azam Gilani, and the cradle of civilization for history well beyond memory, is hectically engaged now in reconstruction and rebuilding. Obstacles are many, but he felt happy that Iraqi forces had been able to recover Mosul and other places of importance from ISIS, commonly called Daish.
Former Naval chief, Admiral ® Shahid Karimullah made a brief speech, emphasizing the fraternal ties with Iraq and assuring him of Pakistan’s unstinted support in its endeavours to regain its lost glory. General Secretary Ahsan Mukhtar Zuberi proudly dwelt on the strong bonds between Pakistan and Iraq, saying Iraq was the first country to recognize Pakistan in 1947, and in 2003 Pakistan disapproved action against brotherly country.
Coming to second event, which was really heart-warming, for an eminent Pakistani entrepreneur Bashir Ali Mohammad, Chairman of a leading textile mill, was conferred the Ordre National du Mérite’ (National Order of Merit), founded in December 1963 by President Charles De Gaulle, the coveted award is one of the most prestigious and French decorations awarded by the President of the French Republic on the recommendation of the government.
It is ranks after the ‘Légion d’Honneur’ (Legion of Honour), which is generally bestowed upon French citizens. The creation of this Order had two objectives: to replace the large number of ministerial orders previously awarded by the ministries; and to create an award that can be awarded at a lower level than the ‘Légion d’Honneur’.
French citizens as well as foreign nationals, men and women, can be inducted into the order for distinguished military or civil achievements and services rendered to project France and to promote her interests. The President of the French Republic is the Grand Master of the Order and appoints all its members by convention on the advice of the Government of France. Currently it has a worldwide membership of more than 187,000.
The French Ambassador to Pakistan, Martine DORANCE, a charming lady, at a dinner party, held at the residence of French Consul General in Karachi Francoise Dollarso, conferred the award on Bashir Ali Mohahmmad, legendary figure, having been virtual finance minister of Benazir Bhutto in her second stint in office, and his advice was sought by many governments, including of present prime minister Nawaz Sharif, In citation, the Ambassador eulogized the tremendous services, Bashir Ali Mohammad, regarded in high esteem by all and sundry, for building the economic ties between Pakistan and France, and for his own services to the country and global business in Textile sector, which is the biggest foreign exchange earner of the country. She paid him eloquent tribute. Responding to the warmth and grace shown for him, Bashir Ali Mohammad, thanked the French President and the Government for honouring him. He said he was overwhelmed Te ceremony was also attended by eminent business including Arif Habib, FPCCI chief Tufail Zubair, former State Bank Governor for two terms, Dr Ishrat Hussain, consuls general of Bangla Desh Noor-e-Helal Saifur Rehman, and Switzerland, a number of leading lights of the city.
That such an award will be conferred on a Pakistani is a tribute in itself to Pakistan, which ought to be lauded by the government in Islamabad, and all those who take pride in their country and its human resource.