ISLAMABAD-Poland is a country that has been tested as a nation time and again and had to suffer sheer loss of life and territory particularly during and after the WWII. Now Poland stands as the 23rd largest economy of the world and aims at reaching the top 15 slot in the world. On 11 November, Poland commemorates the re-establishment of the state of Poland at the end of World War I in 1918. To mark the 100th anniversary of Poland’s Independence Day, the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland Piotr Opalinski and defense attaché Col Andrzej Stanek hosted a remarkable function at a local hotel in Islamabad. 

Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, Syed Hyder Ali Zaidi graced the occasion as the Chief Guest while Vice Chief of General Staff Major Gen Arshad Mahmood was the guest of honor. Air Commodore (R) Sajjad Haider and Col (R) Azam Qadri, Senator Dr Shahzad Wasim also graced the occasion as special guests due to their contribution towards the promotion of bilateral relations between Pakistan and Poland.

The event commenced with the National Anthem of both countries following a cake cutting ceremony. Some of the other guests who attended the event include ambassadors, politicians, government officials and business community representatives.

Polish ambassador and his spouse along with defense attaché and his spouse warmly welcomed all the guests at the entrance of the hall. Participants were in a pleasing mood and exchanged views on various national and international issues, but the Armistice Day commemoration ceremony in France was the main topic of discussion. The world leaders including German chancellor Angela Merkel, US president Donald Trump, Russian president Vladimir Putin and dozens of monarchs, presidents, prime ministers from Europe, Africa, and the Middle East attended the commemoration ceremony.

The guests were in awe that the Russian President Vladimir Putin warmly greeted and shook hands with American President Donald Trump on the occasion. French President Emmanuel Macron stood at the forefront in promoting peace and unity not only among European Union but also provided the opportunity to America and Russia to come closer and work together for the promotion of global peace and unity.

The Iranian ambassador Mehndi Honardoost was also present at the occasion. He looked satisfied at the diplomatic as well as trade links between the two nations but he seemed little concerned about the terrorist activities at the border of Pakistan and Iran, especially the 14 Iranian soldiers kidnapped from the Iranian border.

Piotr Opalinski is modest, humble and a man of Intellect. He has great diplomatic skills to promote the bilateral relations between the two countries and he also portrays Pakistan’s soft image on international forums.

In 2004 when ambassador Opalinski was  serving as the deputy head of mission in Pakistan, I hosted a reception  to celebrate Poland’s membership of European Union which was attended by the then Minister Nilofar Bakhtiar and  Senator Farhat Ullah Babar besides other notables. His contribution as an ambassador in Pakistan is always admired at all forums as he also focuses on promoting foreign visits and exchange.

Recently, Chief of Polish Air Force Brigadier General Jacek Pszczola visited the Air Headquarters of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and met with Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan to expand mutual collaboration and defense ties between the two countries. Polish Armed Forces Deputy Commander Major General Jan Sliwka also visited Pakistan to enhance defense ties. The Pakistan Air Force also took part in the Radom International Air Show 2018 in Poland. Air Marshal Arshad Malik, Vice Chief of the Air Staff was also attended the show. This provided an excellent opportunity to showcase our capabilities and potential in defense field.

Besides being an excellent diplomat, Piotr Opali?ski is an erudite scholar who also has great command over Urdu.

He began his speech in Urdu, and then switched to English. In his speech he said that this year marks the 100th anniversary of the state of Poland since it regained independence after 123 years of partitions of German, Austrian and Russian empires.

On 11 November 1918, the dream of generations of Polish people came true: the Polish state was reborn.

He further said that the stability of Polish democracy, one of the oldest in the world, derives from Polish democratic, libertarian and parliamentary traditions that dates back to the fifteenth century.

However, after experiencing numerous wars and crises in the political system, the country was invaded and partitioned at the end of 18th century, disappearing from the map of Europe for 123 years.

 He said both the countries and the people share common values, respect for tradition. It is believed that this friendship and multifaceted cooperation between Pakistan and Poland will eventually grow in the years to come to benefit both countries and the people.

He also mentioned about one of the most prominent Polish officers Air Commodore Wladyslaw Turowicz who trained Pakistani pilots and was also one of the forerunners of Pakistani missile project. He also recalled the historic cooperation between the two countries when Pakistan gave shelter to around 40,000 exiled Polish people, who later helped to establish Pakistan Air Force. He congratulated everyone on the Polish day and vowed to maintain the friendship between Pakistan and Poland.

–The writer is a freelance contributor.


ISLAMABAD: Polish Ambassador Piotr Opalinski, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, Syed Hyder Ali Zaidi, Senator Dr Shahzad Wasim, and other guests at the Polish national day ceremony held at a local hotel in Islamabad.