Emperor Akihito’s 84th birthday turns into a get-together of all parties’ leadership

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Year 2017 marks 65th anniversary of Pak-Japan relations

Zubair Qureshi

Monday turned out to be a day of relief and joy for the people of Pakistan in general and for the Isloos in particular as it not only saw the end of over 3-week sit-in at Faizabad Interchange, but it also marked 84th birthday of Emperor of Japan Akihito. Ambassador of Japan and Mrs. Takashi Kurai hosted a reception at the Serena Hotel to celebrate the birthday which is a national day for the people of Japan. A large number of guests including ministers, parliamentarians, government and opposition parties’ leaders, members of civil society and notable personalities from health, industry, automobile, education and trade & development, community welfare and other sectors participated in the event. One could see the efficient and hospitable staff of the embassy ushering in the guests and serving them with drinks before the formal celebrations formally kick started and the cake was cut.
Balochistan Governor Mohammad Khan Achakzai was the chief guest on the occasion while among the noted figures that turned up to greet the Ambassador and Madame on the auspicious occasion included MQM Pakistan’s leader Dr Farooq Sattar, National Security Adviser Lt Gen (R) Nasser Khan Janjua, Punjab Minister Ashfaq Sarwar, Sh Rashid Ahmed, Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Mayor of Islamabad Sh Anser Aziz, Dr Jamal Nasir, Zafar Bakhtawari, Marvi Memon, Mian Attique and others. Members of the Diplomatic Enclave and senior military officers also graced the occasion.
Ambassador Takashi Kurai while welcoming the guests expressed his pleasure that a good number of guests had come to attend the auspicious occasion despite it being a difficult day (because of sit-in). The year 2017 is marking the 65th anniversary of Japan-Pakistan diplomatic relations, he said adding this year Pakistan and Japan had organized 23 cultural events and there were more than 12,000 Pakistani people who took part in those events. “This means that in average more than 500 people joined one event that is quite a testimony of the deep bond of friendship,” said he.
I would like to thank all those who are interested in, take part in or support those events, and particularly like to thank those who worked for preparation prior to the events or those who worked behind the stage during the events, said he. Both Japan and Pakistan governments have also agreed to complete or already implemented as in the past the projects of Official Development Assistance to Pakistan, said the ambassador. He also gave a detail of those projects that included: rehabilitation of roads, strengthening of power transmission lines, polio eradication campaign, water supply, education and so forth. “Besides these new projects, let me congratulate with you, among others, on the completion of the project of Indus Highway. This is the one for rehabilitation of 65 % of the whole length of 1200 km of the Highway,” said the ambassador. The highway is from Peshawar to Hyderabad which started late 1980’s and finished this year.
Japan values friendship with Pakistan, said he adding both the countries have been cooperating in a number of sectors from health, education, community development, Information Technology to automobile industry. Besides investment, the two countries are also extending bilateral cooperation in cultural exchange, sports and education. The ambassador said, Japan was assisting Pakistan in its development programmes. Japan is also providing scholarships opportunities to Pakistani students so that they are able to learn modern technologies to serve their country. The ambassador also mentioned the upcoming Tokyo Olympics 2020 saying his country was making excellent arrangements for the mega event so that the world might remember them for a long time.
It may be mentioned here that His Majesty Emperor and Empress visited Pakistan in 1962 when they were Prince and Princess and now 65 years on relationship between the two countries is a valuable asset and solid foundation for the cooperation.

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