Sister cities Islamabad and Astana set to take friendship to further heights

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20th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s capital city celebrated

Zubair Qureshi

Recipient of UNESCO’s title of the City of Peace (July 1999), Kazakhstan’s capital city Astana is celebrating its 20th anniversary since it became capital of the country back in 1997. It is the second largest city of the country after Almaty, the former capital. It may be mentioned here that President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev in a recent interview has said that Astana is a great achievement of the entire nation and it is a bridge erected by the country into the future, a symbol of a new society.” In President’s words, “It would not be an exaggeration to say that we virtually started the construction of the new state with the construction of the new capital.”
Ambassador of Kazakhstan, Barlybay Sadykov on Wednesday in order to celebrate the day and of course introduce the city and its beauties to Pakistan hosted a reception at a local hotel. It was a well-attended party where the Kazakhstan embassy had made arrangements to promote and further strengthen bond of friendship between Pakistan and Kazakhstan in general and the twin cities of Islamabad and Astana in particular. A good number of the ambassadors, diplomats and high commissioners, Pakistani friends and colleagues, notable personalities of the town and civil society members attended the reception.
Special Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs Aitzaz Ahmed was the chief guest on the occasion. It was a pleasant surprise listening to Ambassador Barlybay Sadykov who welcomed the guests in correct and immaculate Urdu. He said Astana has been home to many historic occasions, meetings, summits and conferences.
Astana provides opportunities for personal growth, promotion and high-quality education besides being an ideal tourist place, said he.
The city has hosted many an historic gathering of the world leaders and meeting on important issues that include Congress of Leaders of World & Traditional Religions (2003), Summit of the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe (2010), OSCE Summit (2010), OIC summit on Science & Technology (2017), International Exposition on the theme of ‘Future Energy’ (2017), International Meeting on Syria sponsored by Russia, Turkey and Iran (2018), said the ambassador. Above all, he said Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in which Pakistan and India joined as full members also took place in Astana on June 9, 2017. The city, said the ambassador, is ideal for its living conditions, friendly people and historic sites and monuments. He said both Astana and Islamabad are sister cities and hoped the bond of friendship between the two cities will grow with the passage of time.

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