The British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew CMG celebrated the 90th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in Islamabad with a reception showcasing the shared cultural ancestry and history of Pakistan on 21st April 2016.
The event this year, featuring the music from a British military quintet and delicious British cuisine, also marked the 64th anniversary of Her Majesty’s accession to the throne, when she became both the British Sovereign and the Head of the Commonwealth.
This high-profile event featured, Ghulam Murtaza Khan Jatoi, Federal Minister for Industries and Production as the Chief Guest, along with prominent guests from the world of government, diplomacy, culture and the media.
Speaking at the Queen Birthday Party reception, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew CMG said:
Though I have been High Commissioner less than 2 months, I first came to work in the High Commission 10 years ago. I am not incidentally the only one. Look at the receiving line: our Defence Adviser served here in 2007; so did my wife, herself, a diplomat posted here in 2010. We have all seen a lot of changes.
One thing that has not changed is Pakistan’s unique buzz. For all the difficulties of the last decade, the country continues to exude energy, creativity and resilience. What has changed, however – and I hope that you will forgive the first impressions of a newcomer – is the sense of hope and change. It is great to come back and get a feeling of a country, for all the difficulties, starting to fulfil its potential.
The potential is exciting. You just need to look at the map to see it. How long will it take, for example, before we view Karachi through the same lens as its peers in Sao Paolo or Shanghai? I am sure we will.
That this country does fulfil this potential is of enormous importance to the UK. The nice thing about being a British diplomat in Pakistan is that our interests really are aligned. It really is the case that what is good for Pakistan is good for the UK and vice versa. And I am not just talking about my ambition to have the England cricket team come back to play a test series in Pakistan.
Of course, the cynics among you will say that all of our Ambassadors around the world are saying things like this on the Queen’s birthday. Perhaps. But I am lucky enough here to have the resources to support it.
That is why we have our second biggest diplomatic mission in the world here; that is why we have our biggest bilateral development programme here. And why we continue to build. We have just opened a British Business Centre to help British companies; we are about to open a new British Council Libraries in Lahore in Karachi.
In short, the British Government is behind Pakistan and wants to make a difference – for Pakistan and for the UK.
Notes for Editors
The pictures of the event will be posted on our Flickr page after the event.
The British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Thomas Drew CMG, tweets at @TomDrewUK