March 19, 2018

The Embassy of Pakistan opens the door to the students

H.E. Ambassador Shujjat Ali Rathore,  Mr. Waseem Shahzad, First Secretary of the Embassy, and Mr. Syed Mahmood Hassan, Commercial Counsellor together with students from Leiden University.

By Guido Lanfranchi.

 On February 6th, 2018, the Embassy of Pakistan in The Hague has received a visit by a group of students from Leiden University. H.E. Ambassador Shujjat Ali Rathore engaged in a long and lively conversation with the students.

On Tuesday morning, the Embassy of Pakistan received a delegation of students from Leiden University. Around 11h00 the students gathered at the Embassy’s entrance in Amaliastraat, The Hague. Kindly received by the staff of the Embassy, the students were accompanied in the reception room, where they were soon joined by the Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Shujjat Ali Rathore, together with Mr. Waseem Shahzad, First Secretary of the Embassy, and Mr. Syed Mahmood Hassan, Commercial Counsellor.

The Ambassador paved the way for a quick round of introductions. The students, coming from several different countries such as India, Italy, Portugal, and Hungary, quickly introduced themselves. Given their academic focus on the field of International Relations, most of their questions focused on issues related to Pakistan’s role in the international political scenario.

Ambassador Rathore during the meeting with staff and university students.

The students started the Q&A with the Ambassador by asking questions about the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), an incredibly relevant geopolitical topic in South Asia. Given his previous experience as Deputy Head of Mission at the Pakistani Embassy in Beijing, the Ambassador was definitely the right person to answer the students’ questions on this issue. He delved into the “win-win bilateral relationship between Pakistan and China,” mentioning several examples of joint Chinese-Pakistani projects in the framework of CPEC, among which the port of Gwadar.

Then, the Ambassador also addressed the topic of Pakistan’s economic development. He highlighted the government’s effort in reducing inequality across regions, explaining to the students the local political environment surrounding the CPEC endeavor. The conversation also focused on Pakistan’s relation with its “big brother to the East,” India, and the dispute on the Kashmir region. Finally, the inevitable question on the relation between Pakistan and the US, and the debated issue of the control of the border with Afghanistan. On this topic, the Ambassador highlighted the hard work done by the Pakistani government, and wished a positive outcome for the recent small quarrels with the United States. Despite everything – the Ambassador said – the US remains a “very important partner for Pakistan.”

These intense and interesting talks were accompanied by drinks and snacks, among which the traditional Pakistani samosa, kindly offered by the staff of the Pakistani Embassy. When the Ambassador finally had to leave the meeting, the staff invited the students to enjoy some more drinks. The students thus remained a bit longer in the Embassy talking with the staff, before gradually leaving the building extremely satisfied by the meeting.

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