islamabad - Abdel Elarbi, Ambassador of Republic of Tunisia, celebrated the 59th anniversary of the independence of his country here at a local hotel and there was representation from all walks of life. Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, former prime minister and president of PML-Q, was the centre of attraction for many ambassadors present in the reception. Germany Ambassador Dr Cyrill Nunn while talking to Ch Shujaat enquired about his health as the former prime minister is regularly visiting Germany for his treatment over past many years.

Dr Nunn informed Shujaat that a seven-member parliamentary delegation of Germany will visit Pakistan on 14th and 15th of April on the invitation of the speaker National Assembly of Pakistan.

US Ambassador Richard Olson also met with Shujaat and Mushahid Hussain Sayed. Shujjat offered Olson a farewell dinner. However, Olson replied that it will take some time for the new ambassador to come to Pakistan as there is a long procedure for approval from the Congress.

Syed Riaz Hussain Pirzada, federal minister for inter-provincial coordination, was the chief guest on the occasion. On the sidelines, there was a photo exhibition of Tunisian tourist sites.

Adel Elarbi has said that his country wanted to upgrade its strategic partnership with Pakistan for mutual benefit of their people. He pledged to find new avenues of cooperation between the two brotherly countries to bring the prevailing bilateral relations to the highest level of strategic partnership.

Tunisia and Pakistan enjoyed long-standing political, economic, social and cultural relations based on trust and mutual respect, he added.  

Adel Elarbi expressed gratitude to the government of Pakistan for its consistent support to his country for maintaining its solidarity and independence.

“We hold our Pakistani brothers in high esteem and wish the people of the two countries should have greater cooperation in all areas of mutual interest,” he added.

The ambassador also spoke about the achievements of his country in various sectors for improving the living-standard of their people. “We are confident that the Tunisian government and the people will successfully overcome all challenges and their socio-economic targets.”

He said that his country is determined to eliminate terrorism, as a recent act of terrorism on a museum of Bardo in Tunis has disseminated the values of tolerance and respect for human rights.

The people of Pakistan and Tunisia enjoy the cordial relations even before their independence. Pakistan was on the front line in support of Tunisian independence struggle.

The leadership of Tunisia during their struggle were travelling on Pakistani passports. Both countries established their formal diplomatic relations in 1957. Pakistan established its embassy in Tunisia in 1958 while Tunisia did the same in 1980.

-The writer Zafar Bakhtawari is a freelance contributor.