ISLAMABAD -  Weather these days in Islamabad is getting hot and the invitation by the Norwegian embassy to mark the Norwegian Constitution Day in a garden was not encouraging.  The dress was casual which make the invitees a bit relaxed and it was more captivating to have a garden party in summer in those cold European countries which are always covered with ice but in Pakistan to attend a garden party during summer was a bit inconvenient for them. The Ambassador of Norway to Pakistan Tore Nedrebo hosted a very well-attended and colorful event at the lawn of his residence to celebrate the constitutional day of his country. Norwegian embassy has always projected Pakistani culture and music at their various receptions and Ambassador Tore Nedrebo has kept this tradition alive. It was very pleasant to listen to the classical music especially the poetry of Allama Iqbal. I told one of the ambassadors that the song which is being played is the poetry of our great national poet.  National anthems of Norway and Pakistan were recited by the ambassador and the whole embassy staff.

Ambassador Tore Nedrebø is a seasoned and intelligent diplomat. He amused the audience during his speech by using pleasing and light words which made the atmosphere delight rather than serious.  He highlighted the importance of Norwegian constitution , which is 203-year-old and was adopted in 1814. This Constitution declared Norway as an independent state. He said that the fundamental principles are democracy, rule of law, and human rights and Norway has always promoted these values in its relations with Pakistan.  He said that both countries have very close and cordial relations and The Norwegian-Pakistani community in Norway was promoting people-to-people relations very well. He mentioned about Norwegian foreign minister last year visit to Pakistan which was very fruitful. He further said that The Norwegian prominent company Telenor still represents one of the largest European investments in Pakistan. Norway embassy has shifted many times and experienced better working conditions but in 4 to 5 years hopefully we will be able to move into new and permanent offices and residences in the diplomatic enclave, together with our friends at the Swedish and Danish embassies.

Pakistanis form the largest immigrants community in Norway. Pakistani Diaspora in Norway is more than 50,000 and they are enjoying equal opportunities in all walks of life.

The Pakistani origin personalities like Abid Raja, Hadia Tajik and Mudassir Kapur have earned position in Norway parliament. There is a possibility for Hadia Tajak to become PM of Norway at a time to come as presently she is the deputy leader of her Labour Party.  Though both countries are cooperating in various fields, there is a need to strengthen cooperation in areas, including defence, trade and investment. There is great potential for both countries to collaborate in oil and gas export as Norway is the third biggest exporter of gas in the world, fifth in oil and sixth in hydro power.  This could be helpful to overcome energy crisis.

–The writer is a freelance contributor.