Of Swiss and Canadian recceptions

Salahuddin Haider

ENVOYS from distant lands, Switzerland’s ambassador to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Canada’s Perry John Calderwood, in Karachi almost simultaneously, were impressed with their simplicity, and honest words about their respective countries, and their audiences, invited to receptions by consul general Philippe Crevoirsier, Byram Avari, holding the honorary job meritoriously for 35 years, kept guessing whether Pakistanis too learn sometime to talk straight, be realistic, and genuine. The dinner receptions held by them barely an evening in between, carried the warmth for which Byram, an eminent hotelier and a virtual flag-bearer of tourism industry with his vast network at home and abroad, is known not just among friends and regular contacts but with strangers too. He is smart, charming, and luckily for Pakistan, his two sons, Dinshaw and Sexers, too are now experts in a field highly specialized and demanding quality expertise.
What struck the guests most was the concordant note struck by Swiss and the Canadian envoys about remarkable way of governance, industrialization, and maintenance of peace and harmony, despite diverse ethnic groups inhabiting Canada, which is something really laudable. While Switzerland has been a regular destination for me as part of my visit to Europe, and enroute to United States, for I prefer to travel Swissair, I was struck by simplicity of the Swiss, despite being the richest people of the world as far as per capita income is concerned, and tremendous focus on benefitting from the universally acknowledged principle of unity in diversity. Canada is a classical example of that. Immigrants from all over the world, different races, religions, ethnicity, colour or creed, and yet for 150 years of their independent existence, they are just one like nation—proud of themselves, proud of their identity, no discrimination, no prejudices, no contempt for disharmony, but peace and peace all over.
What bigger heaven could there on earth, than Canada which is a role model for most countries, particularly we Pakistanis. Who tend to forget everything, are second to none in brushing aside principles, rules, regulations, care little about public expenditures, suffer from hunger and squalor, whereas their rulers have their own independent islands of royalty and kingdoms, complete detached from reality, and totally ignorant of popular aspirations. At the Swiss reception, Ambassador Kolly spoke of economic cooperation with Pakistan, happier ties since long with Islamabad, and Governor Muhammad Zubair, reciprocating stressing that Karachi was a changed place, security perceptions having improved, it could well be an attractive investment destination. Switzerland specializes in small and medium scale industries, which could be of immense value for Pakistan. Canadian High Commissioner, John Calderwood, in his speech after highlighting the peace and harmony, and reminding the audience that only recently his country accommodated 40,000 Syrian refugees, and will be having equal number soon. He said in one year this was his sixth visit to Karachi, a dynamic city, with its own culture and environment, he really felt happy to be here. He hoped that ties between the two countries will continue to grow.
The envoy paid rich tributes to Byram Avari for dedicatedly serving the cause of promoting ties between the two countries in his position of honorary consul general of Canada for 35 unbroken yeaars, which indeed in laudable. Both the functions had an aura or warmth for guests marked by hospitality of Philippe and Byram. There was one solitary difference being a cross section of invitees were there including diplomats like Grace Shelton of US, Noor-e-Helal of Bangla Desh, John Warner, the number two now at the US consulate, and his German counterpart, plus the Italian diplomat.

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