Islamabad - There are many reasons for Swedes to be proud of their country! A telecom giant in shape of Ericsson, an automobile industry leader Saab and Volvo, a garment household name H&M,  food packagers Tetrapak, AkzoNobel in  paint industry and not to forget IKEA, a love of every housewife, carry  the tag “Made in Sweden”. A population of no more than 10 million inhabitants, how can a country with thousands of coastal islands, inland lakes and glaciated mountains achieve so much as a nation?  No wonder that Sweden has always ranked amongst the top happiest countries of the world.

Welcoming the guest at her residence to mark the National Day of Sweden, Ambassador Ingrid Johansson stood tall in front of the backdrop logos with nine big Swedish companies working in Pakistan. These Swedish companies are domestic names in every part of our country. In her lush green lawn, the Pakistan-based Swedish companies had pegged small kiosks showcasing their products. Smoothes and milk shakes, cheese sticks and a mix of veggie canopies were making rounds amongst the guests in attendance. However, the scorching summer heat forced many guests to form a beeline to quench their thirst as the sound of blenders pouring out chilled shakes made from fresh mangoes, peach and blue berries provided a temporary relief.

There was not much to discuss and debate on Pakistani political scene at the event, mainly because Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was out of country on a weeklong visit so most of the diplomats were focusing on Trumps first sojourn to the Arab world. Bumping into the Palestinian ambassador, I asked, how hopeful he is on the upcoming meeting of President Trump with President Mehmood Abbass. “All I know for now is that they are meeting in Bethelam,” informed the not so hopeful ambassador. With so much on the plate at home, he must be sniffing for an opportunity to make things rights on the international arena to win accolades and what better than Israel-Palestinian deal I suggested. “The only deal Donald trump can make is a business deal, nothing better than that, added an African ambassador.

The whole week has been dedicated to receptions and so is the upcoming week.  The diplomatic calendar is full as Ramazan is approaching and many non-Muslim countries are planning to hold their functions before the fasting starts.  Four done five to go before Ramazan starts, informs a European ambassador who plans to leave for his country soon. “For me Ramazan is the best time for vacation as things are very slow here. I experienced it last year as I was new, so this year around I planned my vacations accordingly, informs the ambassador.

The new tradition of cutting down long welcome speeches can be contributed to the summer heat as well. The Norwegian ambassador too a day before hosted a reception at his residence garden and after welcoming the guests and thanking them moved straight to the national anthem part as so did Ms Ingrid Johansson, ambassador of Sweden.

– The writer is a freelance contributor.



ab khan