French diplomat says goodbye to Pakistani friends

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My admiration for Pakistan and its people is an open secret: Veronique

Zubair Qureshi

The French Embassy’s Political Counsellor and in charge of Domestic Affairs and Press & Communication Veronique Wagner is leaving Pakistan within this week after spending four years—a period marked by challenges in France-Pakistan bilateral relations, particularly in the wake of the caricatures crisis of 2020.

After the unfortunate incidents of October 2020, the relations between the two countries that were earlier going quite well and termed very positive, all of a sudden fell to the lowest ebb.

However, it goes to the credit of the French embassy’s media relations team headed by Veronique that worked hard and made sincere efforts to put them back on the right track.

The French embassy’s Press & Communication section succeeded in convincing the Pakistani media, that bilateral relations between the two countries should not be affected by acts of individuals.

One can recall Veronique Wagner holding whirlwind meetings with the journalists, anchorpersons of various TV channels, visiting media houses and press clubs thus paving the way for a good and friendly image of her country in the Pakistani press.

Almost twenty-five years in Foreign Service, Veronique is concluding four years in Islamabad. She arrived in September 2018. She is now set to leave for Pointe-Noire, a port city in Republic of Congo, to take charge of the French Consulate there. Earlier, she has served in Seoul (South Korea), Brasilia (Brazil) and Luanda (Angola) but Pakistan is the only country where she requested for another year.

“My admiration for the country and its people is an open secret,” said Veronique. She particularly expressed her fondness for the elegant ladies and gentlemen particularly when they are in national dress, their hospitality and kindness towards her.

She also mentioned Margalla Hills, Capital (F-9) Park, Islamabad’s green meadows and tall trees as an asset of the city. “One cannot resist their charm,” she said. Veronique can rightly be called workaholic, a person who sets targets of the day, the week and month and then chases them breathlessly.

However, what makes her day’s routine a bit colourful is that she never forgets to take out time for friends and enjoys their company at tea or coffee. “This helps me establish bonds of friendship with the Pakistani people who are incredibly polite and hospitable.She has made friends with a large number not only in the diplomatic circles but also in the Pakistani media and society. Their attention and regard is something I value most, she said.

From my inspiring four years spent here, I will retain, beyond the professional aspect, hospitality, generosity and kindness of the Pakistanis, she said adding, Pakistani people are the first asset of this country. About her meetings with media persons, she said, “My daily work as political counsellor gave me the occasion to note the courage of journalists and audacity of the civil society,” adding the Pakistani media persons are performing their duties with extraordinary courage .

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