“Pakistan Day” celebrated with traditional fervor by the HC in New Delhi

The “Pakistan Day” was celebrated with traditional fervor in a series of events organized by the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi. An impressive flag-hoisting ceremony was held this morning, when High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood hoisted the national flag at the Chancery lawn while the national anthem was played. Messages of the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan were read out on the occasion. In his remarks, High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood highlighted the historic significance of the day, role of the Founding Fathers in the establishment ofPakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah´s vision for Pakistan, and Pakistan´s post-independence strides in deepening democracy, accelerating economic development, establishing independent judiciary, promoting free media, and nurturing a vibrant civil society. In the regional context, High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood underlined the importance of Pakistan´s desire for peaceful and good-neighbourly relations with India. Alluding to recent tensions, the High Commissioner noted that Prime Minister Imran Khan´s decision to release Wing Commander Abhinandan, return of two High Commissioners to their respective Missions, and continuing bilateral meetings to develop modalities for the operationalizaiton of Kartarpur Corridor were steps in a positive direction. He added that it was important for Pakistan and India to resolve all outstanding issues and disputes peacefully through dialogue. The High Commissioner said Pakistan had repeatedly underlined that its desire for peace was not a sign of weakness, but a reflection of constructive thinking of a secure and confident nation. As part of the flag-hoisting ceremony, students of the Pakistan High Commission School sang national songs and presented a tableau highlighting the struggle for the creation of Pakistan. Mrs. Mahwish Sohail, spouse of the High Commissioner, distributed gifts among performing students. Earlier, on the evening of 22 March, the National Day reception was hosted by the High Commissioner and his spouse. The guests included political figures, members of the Delhi-based Diplomatic Corps, businessmen, media and civil society representatives, and Pakistani nationals in India. In his remarks on the occasion, High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood inter alia noted that “the founding fathers of Pakistan and India had envisaged amicable relations between the two countries. However, the relationship has remained challenged, for most part of our history as free nations. In particular, the two countries passed through a very difficult time recently.” A key takeaway from recent development, he said, was that lack of engagement created a dangerous vacuum and serious risks for the relationship. Noting that while some steps had been taken to defuse tensions, the High Commissioner stated that there was still “the need to reassure concerned citizens in both countries, to consolidate the process of de-escalation, and to stabilize the ties against further shocks.” Stressing the inadvisability of coercive means, the High Commissioner underlined that diplomacy and dialogue were indispensible for enhancing mutual understanding, addressing mutual concerns, and resolving long-standing disputes including Jammu & Kashmir. “A relationship based on sovereign equality, mutual respect and mutual interest is the best guarantee for a peaceful and prosperous future,” he underlined. The guests were served with delicious Pakistani cuisine and enchanting music in a welcoming ambiance, elegantly decorated in the lush green Chancery lawns with light works and floral arrangements. A photo Exhibition with the title, “Colours of Pakistan”, was organized –depicting the natural beauty, historical and archeological sites, cultural traditions, arts and crafts, and people of Pakistan — comprising iconic images from top Pakistani photographer Gulraiz Ghouri.