Islamabad - Every year, the Italian Defence Day is celebrated on 4 November. The nation commemorates Italian victory in the First World War and celebrates the important contribution of the Italian soldiers for independence.

The Ambassador of Italy Stefano Pontecorvo, the Italian Defence attaché’ Colonel Giorgie Raino and his spouse Rosa Di Lollo hosted a well-attended reception at a local hotel in Islamabad. Air Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan was the Chief Guest on the occasion. The ceremony was attended by a huge gathering including politicians, business community representative, ambassadors, civilians, military attachés, and the representative from the armed forces of Pakistan. National anthem of Pakistan and Italy were played and a cake was also cut. The Ambassador of Italy along with military attaché and his spouse warmly welcomed the guests.

The Ambassador of Netherlands Ardi Stoios Braken looked quite fresh with a bright smile on her face. When I asked about her Prime minister’s video of riding bicycle which went viral on social media, she replied that she used to ride a bicycle too but only in the Diplomatic Enclave. While talking about the bilateral relations, she said that the new government has taken charge and hopefully a positive change in the foreign policy will take place which will further strengthen the relations between Pakistan and Netherlands in coming years. She further told about her meeting with the President Mamnoon Hussain who also has a strong desire to promote better relations between the two countries.

Shiekh Amir Wahid president ICCI while talking to Sri Lankan High Commissioner Maj Gen (R) Jayanath Lokuketagodage said that the Pakistani nation would always be grateful to the Sri Lankan government and people for taking Pakistani cricket out of isolation after 8 years. I also showed my desire to be the host of Sri Lankan High Commissioner as a gesture to thank him for bringing back the international cricket in Pakistan.

The food stalls of Italian cuisine were full of attraction for the guests, which reflected the strong regional tradition of Italy. There was a long queue on every stall by the participants which indicated that they were enjoying the scrumptious Italian food. The Italian food is famous for its quality, taste and special ingredients making it popular in the entire world, especially among Pakistanis. Stefano Pontecorvo is a modest person and is able to think beyond common narratives. He is putting forth every effort to promote both countries relations to new heights. He also has a very special attachment for Pakistan as he has spent his childhood and school age in Islamabad. He always tried to create awareness among Italian business community to portray the positive image of Pakistan and new developments being made through China Pakistan Economic Corridor. The heads of many Italian companies also visited Pakistan in recent months to meet potential business partners particularly in the fields of natural gas, LNG, agricultural and other sectors.

–The writer is a freelance contributor.




zafar bakhtawari