Islamabad - Outgoing Australian High Commissioner Peter Heyward was given a warm farewell at a function held by Pakistan Disabled Sports Association (PDSA) here at a local hotel Friday evening.

High Commissioner Heyward is one of the few diplomats who have been publicly visible and held interactions across a wide spectrum of the Pakistani society. Contrary to the image of stiff-necked and tight lipped diplomats, the Australian High Commissioner managed to win hearts in Islamabad due to his affable and charming personality.

“I would always cherish those moments I spent in last 3 years or so in Pakistan,” the High Commissioner said in his speech at the occasion. “I am highly obliged and was not expecting such number of people would be gathered at my farewell. I am deeply touched and honoured. I am grateful to PDSA Chairman Shiekh Abdul Waheed. I have always enjoyed his company.”

The High Commissioner recalled his three-year tenure in Pakistan with fondness and appreciated the hospitality accorded by the Pakistani people. “I would cherish all moments I had spent in Pakistan, I had visited various places in Pakistan and I always found people very humble and caring,” he said.

His next assignment is to serve in Washington, DC, as the Australian ambassador to the United States. The High Commissioner said he has been requested by his Pakistani friends to help spread a “soft image” of Pakistan” and he would try to allay the concerns of some US Congressmen who hold a contrary view of the country.  The High Commissioner said he was full of appreciation for the work done by PDSA.

 “It has provided a platform to persons with disability to showcase their talent in best possible fashion,” he said.

While sharing his views PDSA chairman Sheikh Abdul Waheed thanked Peter Heyward and his wife, Suzan Heyward, who had also graced the occasion, for their unconditional support to PDSA.

Later, the chief guest and his wife presented gold medals to disabled players. The PDSA chairman presented a shield and gifts to Peter Hayward. A shield was also presented to The Nation Resident Editor Salman Masood for the newspaper’s prominent coverage of disabled sports.

The PDSA chairman also lauded Rawalpindi Islamabad Sports Journalists Association’s (RISJA) efforts for promoting players with disability. RISJA President Mohsin Ali was also given shield as a token of acknowledgement.   

Several diplomatic, leading members of Islamabad business community and other dignitaries attended the event.

Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Muzammil Sabri, Senior Vice-President M Shakeel Munir, Vice-President Ashfaq Chahtha, PDSA Secretary Nasir Mehmood Chaudhry, Akhunzada Faheem, Naveed Malik, Nisar Mirza, Shabbir Ahmed, Deputy Director General Pakistan Sports Board Agha Amjedullah, Assistant Director Hostels Malik Imtiaz Hussain, ICCI Sports Committee Chairman Saeed Ahmed Bhatti, Senator Liaquat Ali Terkai, Amna Malik and others were part of the gathering.