Pakistan must grab opportunity coming its way in the form of multiple goodwill gestures, main being the laying down of US dollars 2.2 billion dollars gas pipeline from Karachi to up north, and start of negotiations for purchase of gas from Russian Federation. Our history is full of mistakes and of lost opportunities since the end of Bhutto regime in mid-70s, but now that Russia has shown tremendous willingness to be closer to Pakistan, the initiative must be exploited fully.
A glimpse of the Russian goodwill was visible at an impressive reception hosted by the consul general of the Russian Federation Dr Aleksandr G Khozin to celebrate the National People’s Unity day at the consulate Wednesday evening. The reception was largely attended by influential segments of the society, chief minister Murad Ali Shah being the guest of honour.
Also present were the Sindh Assembly speaker Agha Sirajuddin Durrani, former chief of the Naval Flotilla Vice Admiral Arifullah Hussaini, who has now sought retirement after the induction of a new Navy chief, Admiral Abbasi, the chief executive of the Oxford University Press Amina Syed, business elite like Kalim Farooqui, Nadeem Kazmi, Ambassador Mustafa Kamal Kazi, former governor Kamal Azfar, former ambassador to Italy and Switzerland Zia Ispahani, former ambassador to Austria and IAEA Masooma Hasan, Jam Farouk Ali, media elite, and consuls general of France Francois Dollarso, of Swtizerland Philippe, number two at the UK deputy high commission Steeve Crossman (the head of mission Elin Burns was in Lahore), Of Republic of Korea Kim Donggi, Bangla Desh Noor-e-Helal Saifur Rehman, of Japan Toshikazu Isomura, and his wife, and heads of diplomatic missions from Bahrein, UAE, and Oman etc.
Speaking on the occasion Khozin reminded his guests that ‘our country is celebrating the Day of People’s Unity in November, a relatively new holiday, introduced in 2005 instead of the Day of Concession and Reconciliation, proclaimed in the crazy 90-s soon after the collapse of the USSR in an attempt to heal the soaring social wounds caused by the October Uprising of 1917, a hundred years ago, the event significance of which is hard to underestimate, that is still being discussed and argued about… Anyway, now it is People’s Unity Day.’
Dr Khozin remarked ‘Unity is essential for any country, for any nation especially for such a complex and full of diversity country as Russia with its multinational, multi-cultural and multi-confessional substance and long history of victories and triumphs, failures and tragedies.’ ‘Looking back into history gives a vivid picture and makes it clear that at times when the nation acts as one we are strong and achieve success for the country and people, and on the contrary, at times of disagreement, when sharp differences arise, we face grieves and sufferings for millions of people. That is why it is so important to comprehend ourselves as one nation despite all of our diversity’ he explained.
He stressed that ‘unity is by no means a faceless uniformity of ideas and views upon the existing problems, upon the future of the country and its development. It is important to realize that the core of the disputes, at times very ardent and sharp disputes should be love, love to one’s Motherland and strive to make it stronger, more efficient and thus to make people’s lives better. ‘We have gathered here today to celebrate People’s Unity Day. So let it be the gathering of people with diverse backgrounds and views but united by the idea of making this world a better place to be’ he concluded. Replying the chief minister paid tributes to the unity and tolerance displayed by the people of the Russian Federation, emphasizing that over 80 different nationalities and divergent groups and religions comprised its population. Yet the country was disciplined and peaceful.