Remarking on the strength of Pak-US ties, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said “we seem to have a special fascination for our colonial masters”. She was attending Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee celebration at the British High Commission here on Saturday evening.
Glasses were raised at the distinguished reception marking the 86th birthday of the beloved monarch. On the occasion, British Commissioner Adam Thomson, addressing a large gathering, commented on the resolute links between Pakistan and the United Kingdom.
“Our mission here in Pakistan is to seek every opportunity to deepen, strengthen and broaden our unbreakable partnership,” he said, adding that the two countries were not only linked through the Commonwealth but through sports, business and education as well.
Thomson announced that the plantation of six million new trees in Britain would go towards providing primary education for children in Pakistan for the next four years.
He dubbed the year a great opportunity for Britain to demonstrate its evolution as a successful blend of history and tradition with modernity and innovation. The year is particularly symbolic for not only celebrating 60 years of a beloved monarch, but also marks the year London will host the 2012 Olympic Games in July. Thomson encouraged his guests to support the participation of the Paralympics team of Pakistan, considered among the strongest in the world.
Rabbani, the chief guest, commended the resilience of the Pakistani nation as it struggled through two major tragedies in Siachen and Rawalpindi. Though a solemn time, some hope was to be seen in the resumed dialogues between India and Pakistan. The minister evoked previously “missed opportunities” between the two countries to peacefully resolve border-related issues at the negotiating table.
“If any nation has the ability to soldier on, it is us,” she said proudly, hands entwined to show her solidarity with those who had suffered unbearable losses in the past month.
Rabbani acknowledged the camaraderie of her British friends who stood by Pakistan’s side through its trials in years past, praising the goodwill and support and extended special gratitude towards her English partners. “Britain has been responsive to the needs of Pakistanis and has adopted an attitude of mutual respect and exchange,” she said.
On a tangent from the evening’s celebratory mood, the Foreign Minister satiated implicit concerns about the road ahead. She said that Pakistan has already proven to the world that it has the capacity and ability to come together to raise its voice on matters of sovereignty and national interest.
A toast was raised in celebration of Britain, its unflinching ties with a resilient and democratic Pakistan and to the Queen for 60 marvellous years.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2012.