KARACHI: Politicians, diplomats, members of the business community and socialites all attended Queen Elizabeth’s birthday celebrations in Karachi Friday evening.
The event was attended by a diverse group of people: labels owner Zahir Rahimtoola spoke to Oxford University Press Managing-Director Ameena Saiyid while filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy was seen alongside Ziad Bashir, director of Gul Ahmed. The guests, who also included political figures such as Speaker of the Sindh Assembly Agha Siraj Durrani and Muttahida Qaumi Movement MPA Faisal Subzwari, were treated to a musical performance by the Prince of Wales band.
Hosts of the event, British Deputy High Commissioner Belinda Lewis and British High Commissioner Thomas Drew, greeted guests circulating in the garden.
Prior to the speeches, the national anthems of both the United Kingdom and Pakistan were played by the band.
“We all wish the warmest of greetings to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on her 91st birthday. Pakistan and the UK share a common history,” said Lewis. “We now celebrate 70 years of our partnership and look forward to the next 70 years, too.”
Drew, while thanking the crowd for being there, said, “This city is the party capital of Pakistan as we celebrate today 65 years of the queen’s rule over the UK and Commonwealth.”
He added that the queen has visited Pakistan twice – once in 1961 and later in 1997. “Our shared goals are prosperous goals with a need for a strong economic relationship with Pakistan,” he said.
Later, Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair said, “There have been ups and down in Pakistan-UK relations but now I see that the downs are behind us.” He told the participants of the event that Pakistan needs to grow on an economic front. “People think just because of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, we have always been closer to China in terms of trade but long before it came into the picture, we have held strong business ties with the UK,” he explained. “We are looking forward to growing business ties and business opportunities and having a strong relationship with the UK.”
It’s wonderful to be able to host this event, which highlights 65 years of Her Majesty’s rule and 70 years of Pakistan and United Kingdom’s friendship, said Steve Crossman, deputy head of the mission at the British Deputy High Commission. “We look back at those past 70 years but more importantly we’d like to highlight the next 70 years of our relationship,” he said.