ISLAMABAD: To mark 2011 as the Pak-China Friendship Year, the Chinese embassy in Islamabad celebrated the Spring Festival and the New Year in collaboration with the Foreign Office on Thursday evening. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was the chief guest who described China as the first country that came to mind whenever Pakistan was in a tight spot.
Qureshi said “Three years of continuous visits of the Prime Minster Gilani and President Zardari to China and then Chinese premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to Pakistan has helped each other to strengthen the relationship. Pakistan would like to benefit from China economically. People-to-people contacts need to be increased. We are looking forward to Chinese vice-president’s visit this year and our prime minister’s visit to China,” added Qureshi.
Secretary Foreign Affairs Salman Bashir, FO Spokesperson Abdul Basit along with officials with their families also attended the function.
Chinese Ambassador Liu Jian along with other embassy staff stood at the reception to greet the guests. The cultural show began with a performance by a dancing troupe from Kashgar. Liang Jiawei, head of the troupe told The Express Tribune that the performers were selected after a competition. The dance routines and the embellished embroidered attire of the performers were similar to those of Gilgit-Baltistan as these dancers belonged to Kashgar, an area bordering Pakistan’s northeastern region of Gojal-Hunza and similarities between both the cultures was reflected in the performances.
However, the Chinese organisers paid close attention to not just the performances but what was being served to the guests. Qui Jian Song, first secretary at the embassy told The Express Tribune that he had paid special attention to what was on the dining table. “Seasonal vegetables, friend lamb, dried chicken in chili and cashew nuts were prepared by the chefs of the embassy. Song said that shrimps had come directly from Karachi ‘Spicy and Hot tofu’ was ordered by one special shop in Islamabad.
Song further said that he had ordered the chefs to cook for hundreds of guests but out of the total guest list 100 guests from the foreign office did not show up for the event.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2011.
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