A goodwill visit to Canada

BESIDES official delegations which visit foreign countries from time to time to promote bilateral relations, cooperation and trade, prominent figures from different fields can and are doing quite appreciable work to promote and highlight positive, soft, moderate and forward looking image of Pakistan and its peace loving people before the comity of nations while inter-acting in or the country with the people. This is what world renowned Pakistani artist, social crusader, peace activist and philanthropist Jimmy Engineer has been doing quite actively, sincerely and successfully for some time.
Jimmy Engineer, who regards himself as unofficial goodwill ambassador of Pakistan, has just completed his month long goodwill visit to Canada on a positive note. During the visit, Jimmy Engineer participated in a number of well-attended functions and events in Mississauga (Ontario), Toronto and Ottawa. During his yet another frequent goodwill tour of foreign countries, as a first major activity displayed his selected creative work at The Mall, Erin Mills Town Centre in Mississauga Ontario.
On the opening day of more than a week long paintings exhibition, Jimmy Engineer talked about life illustrating his thoughts and motivation behind his paintings and also answered questions from the audience including large number of Pakistani community members as well as local artists, art lovers and diplomats.
He told the well appreciative and responsive audience that the sole purpose behind his different countries frequently and displaying his creative art work there has been and is to tell the world at large that Pakistan has great people, great people and great artists.
He said displaying his art work in foreign countries indeed carry a message as lots of people do not know much about Pakistan this is the best way to come here and convey the message before such gatherings.
Jimmy Engineer said he wears four hats as a social worker, an artist, a human rights worker and peace activist and try to live these four lives together, as an artist I am an idealist person, as a social worker I have to be very compassionate as I have to help the people, as a human rights activist I have to fight for the people’s rights so I have to be aggressive and as a peace activist I have to talk about peace.
Display of his selected creative art work was organized by his cousin Neely Engineer and it was a great success as pretty large number of Pakistani community members and locals from different walks of life kept visiting it every day it was in progress. Prominent figures who were present at the inauguration of the exhibition included Senator Salma Attaullah Jan, MP Iqra Khalid, MP Khalid Rasheed, Consul General of Turkey in Canada Erdeniz, President Flato Developments Inc Shakir Rehmatullah, President Canada –Pakistan Business Council Samir Dossal, Founder and Chief Executive officer of Mindshare Workspace Mississauga Robert Martellaci, President of Ontario Zorastrian Neville Patrawala and Consul General of Pakistan Imran Siddique among many others.
By and large, they said that the visiting world renowned artist, a social crusader and and a philanthropist from Pakistan Jimmy Engineer who has dedicated his life for causes and his paintings have been highly appreciated not only in Pakistan but also all over the world wherever he has displayed his art work, through his art work he spreads the message of peace and harmony and promotes soft and positive image of Pakistan and its people, each of his paintings duly highlight the different aspects of the lives of the people, their struggle and achievements to which he is deeply attached and committed.
Over the last about four decades, Jimmy Engineer has created more than 3000 paintings, 1000 calligraphies and 1500 drawings which are in museums and private collections in more than 60 countries including Italy,France, Denmark, Switzerland, Russia, India, China, Yugoslavia, Japan, Australia, Canada, Britain, Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Singapore, Sweden, Belgium, Abu Dhabi , Dubai (UAE), Austria, Spain, Thailand, Philipines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Kenya, Turkey, USA and of course Pakistan around the world. Many of his paintings have remained undocumented as he has been giving countless of these away to charities to raise money for good causes.
As a social crusader, he has to his credit introducing the concept of awareness, fun and food programmes for mentally retarded, physically handicapped, deaf and dumb children by entertaining them in posh hotels and restaurants and other places of entertainment in Karachi, Lahore and also in Sri Lanka and has held more than 100 solo walks raising awareness about myriad issues, mainly relating to serious disadvantaged children, widows and orphans as well as to the hardships and the endemic health problems they continue to endure.
The art display of Jimmy Engineer was duly covered and appreciated by the Canadian press and tv terming it as quite successful.
Jimmy Engineer also attended a function in Toronto entitled “Artists for World Peace” which was organized by the Universal Peace Federation and the Women’s Federation for World Peace at which he along with two others was conferred with the certificate as The Ambassador for Peace in appreciation and acknowledgement of his service and contributions as a peace activist. He also addressed the gathering on the occasion and also answered questions from the guests present.
Both the Universal Peace Federation and Women’s Federation for World Peace enjoy consultative status with the ECOSSOC of the United Nations.
He also earned a rare honour by visiting the Canadian Senate along with the President of the Canada-Pakistan Business Council Samir Dossal in Ottawa where he was duly recognized by the Speaker who drew the attention of the Senators to the presence in the Visitors Gallery of Jimmy Engineer and also Samir Dossal who are the guests of Senator Salma Attaullahjan and welcomed them to the Senate of Canada on behalf of all the Senators. The invitation to the special guests at the Senate of Canada is considered to be a tradition to honour people who have rendered extraordinary services in their respective fields.
Senator Salma Attaullahjan had hosted an event at the Parliament to appreciate and recognize the artistic works of Jimmy Engineer. Afterwards, Samir Dossal thanked Senator Salma Attaullahjan for formally recognizing him and Jimmy Engineer at the Senate proceedings and appreciated her hospitality and their introduction to so many Senators. In response, she said that she was happy to play host to world renowned Pakistani artist Jimmy Engineer in Ottawa who had also presented her with a print of his incredible paintings.
The Canada-Pakistan Business Council has also acquired two wonderful works of art of Jimmy Engineer which are part of his “Peace Series” for the collection of the Royal Ontario Museum.
The paintings have been selected by Museum Curator Deepali Dewan who said the plan for displaying the so selected paintings is already in the pipeline. Talking to this scribe on telephone from Ontario prior to leaving for Houston, USA, to visit his elderly parents there and stay with them till returning to Karachi sometime in December 2018, Jimmy Engineer said that the goodwill visit to Canada, which was qute successfully organized by his Canada-based cousin Nelly Engineer, has been quite successful and productive during which he has not only displayed his creative art work but also delivered couple of talks and motivated large number of people including the locals as well as the members of Pakistani community in Canada and is very satisfied and happy for being able to continue promoting and projecting the soft, positive and forward looking image of Pakistan and its peace loving people through his art ,delivering talks and inter-acting with people from all walks of life at different functions and events.
He said the people in Canada have now better understanding and appreciation about what Pakistan and its people stands for. Praising all those who had visited his paintings exhibition in Mississauga, Jimmy Engineer spoke highly of Flato Developments Inc President Shakir Rehmatullah as well as Canada-Pakistan Business Council President Samir Dossal.
He said “I was pleased to meet with a like-minded person in Toronto, Shakir Rehmatullah who is a young entrepreneur and wants to help the community through arts. He is not just an art lover but he is involved deeply in the mainstream community and is supporting many initiatives involving art and culture”.
Jimmy Engineer embodies national integration, unity and integration in himself.
He was born to a Parsi family in Loralai, Balochistan, had his education in Lahore, been to Peshawar as well and is settled in Karachi since he became a professional and is perhaps the most travelling Pakistan and has held more international art exhibitions in number of countries around the globe than any other living or deceased Pakistani artist.
IMPORTANT NOTE; The article is based on messages received from Mississauga, Toronto and Ottawa and Jimmy Engineer’s interviews in Canadian press and tv, please.
—The writer is Lahore-based Freelance Journalist, Columnist and Retired Deputy Controller (News) Radio Pakistan, Islamabad and can be reached at zahidriffat@gmail.com

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