LAHORE - Pak-Australia friendship is striving hard to aware new generation about culture of their parents’ country of origin by arranging events and to present soft image of Pakistan to Australians.

Talking to The Nation on Monday during his visit to his hometown, founding President of Pak-Australia Friendship Arshad Naseem Butt said that the organisation was formed to bring Australian Pakistanis closer to the people of Pakistan and to highlight issues of national importance before Australian public.

Born in Lohari Gate, Arshad Naseem Butt has never ending love for people of Pakistan, Lahori culture, food and historical buildings despite 25 years stay in Sydney for earning livelihood.

“We will arrange first ever Lahore Food Festival in Sydney from August 18-20. The organisation will take dozens of chefs from Lahore for cooking traditional meals at three day festival. The purpose of this festival is to provide an opportunity to Australians and Pakistanis to enjoy rich taste of traditional Lahori meals,” Arshad Butt said, adding, the organisation was also arranging traditional events like Basant in major Australian cities including Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra for promoting national culture and portraying soft image of Pakistan.

He, however, lamented that the prevailing law and order situation and incidents of terrorism were not allowing Australian tourists to visit Pakistan.

“The organisation has informed Australians about cultural heritage, abundance of historical buildings and tourist sites in Pakistan. They want to visit Pakistan for sight-seeing but warning of their government cause them to stay away from Pakistan. Law and order situation and incidents of terrorism are stopping Australian tourists from visiting Pakistan,” he said, adding, improvement in law and order would help Pakistan earn huge foreign exchange through tourism.

He said that organisation arranged a number of conferences in major Australian cities to highlight Kashmir issue.  

“The organization arranges Children melas at Pakistani schools in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra on national and international days during summer and Christmas holidays. We provide national flags, caps and pamphlets carrying information about Pakistan, Islamic culture and heritage,” he said.

“Over 28,000 Indians are getting Australian immigration every three months. Only 1,300 Pakistanis are getting the same during the period. Australia has huge potential and people should go there to earn livelihood and foreign exchange for Pakistan. Private companies are looting innocent people in the name of immigration services and the government should take notice. Adopting set criterion is the right option for getting immigration,” Butt said, adding, getting tourist visa and then looking for asylum was not the right way.

“We provide every help including legal aid, food, boarding and lodging facilities to such illegal immigrants. People should adopt proper procedure for immigration instead of short cuts like tourist visa and asylum. This creates difficulties not only for them but also for those looking for tourist visas and immigration”, he said.