National Day of Austria Ambassador for closer ties with Pakistan

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Ashraf Ansari

Ambassador Nicolaus Keller and Mrs. Ursula Keller hosted a glittering reception at their residence to mark national day celebration of their country. Quite a large number of guests, most being diplomats stationed in Pakistan graced the reception. Among the guests were serving and former officials and prominent people from various segments of the society. Syed Fakhr Imam , Chairman Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir was the chief guest.
In his address, the chief guest was happy to note that Pakistan and Austria enjoyed cordial and cooperative ties. The Austrian ambassador expressed the same view. They both stressed the need for increasing bilateral trade and boosting cooperation in various fields.
Important feature of the reception was melodies of classical Austrian music that warmed up the aura of the reception. Two pieces of music were composed in Austria approximately 200 years ago. At this time Vienna was called the “capital of classical” music. The Music of Austrian National Anthem is attributed to Mozart. The Anthem of Europe – which was actually sung in a Latin version – was composed by the German composer Beethoven, but again he composed it in Austria. Art and Culture is most well-known Austrian legacy.
The Austrian National Day is celebrated on October 26 and relates to political developments after WW II when Austria was occupied by the four Allied forces. Although the Austrian parliament was democratically elected, every decision required consent by the Allied forces.
Only after 10 years Austria got a State Treaty and the Allied forces left.
On 26 October 1955, the day after the last foreign soldier left Austria, the national day is celebrated.
The ambassador said, this year we have several reasons to celebrate, we have 65 years of Austrian diplomatic representation in Pakistan. We have 60 years of opening of our embassy in Pakistan (1959).
The ambassador said, relations between our countries go back much further, to the very beginning let’s say birth of Pakistan. He went on to tell the story of Muhammad Asad, born Leopold Weiss in Lemberg in 1900 in than Austria-Hungary. He became a world-renowned Muslim journalist, traveler, writer, linguist, political theorist, diplomat and Islamic scholar.
Asad was not only one of the most influential European Muslims of the 20th century. He also became friends with Muslim poet-philosopher Mohammad Iqbal and later with Mohammad Ali Jinnah and supported the idea of a separate Muslim state.
On 14 August 1947, Asad received the Pakistani citizenship to thank him for his merits for Pakistan independence and was issued the first Pakistani passport produced with the serial number 1. Muhammad Asad, the former Austrian Leopold Weiss was therefore the first officially documented Pakistani. He later served at several administrative and diplomatic positions and as Pakistan’s Envoy to the United Nations.
He said the square in front of the UN Headquaters in Vienna is named as “Muhammad Asad Platz” in commemoration of his work as “religious bridge-builder” and “Mediator between Islam and the West”.
A number of Austrian Companies were represented at the reception who displayed their products a tonight with their products available in Pakistan.