Pakistan 70th Independence Day CelebrationsShare Event on Facebook Share Event on Twitter Share Event on LinkedIn
The closest I’ve been to Pakistan was on a camel called ‘Rocket’ in The Thar desert. Now Rocket was an adventurous camel, quite happy to take directions from this intrepid traveller on an excursion to see a sunset over the desert. But I hesitated when the cameleer offered to send me off into the sunset to Islamabad, not just because I didn’t have a visa but hours on a camel bouncing on a very uncomfortable saddle was not my idea of fun. But high on my ‘bucket list’ is Kashmir, once the jewel in the crown for travellers looking for luxury swanning about on the lake its fate is still in dispute.
In Canberra the most exciting thing for the High Commission is their new premises sitting happily between South Africa House and the Embassy of France with a rather nice view to the lake and beyond. And in this modern concrete, timber and corrugated iron building the central reception room played host for a large group of locals intent on some cake, nicely iced in the colours of the flag and tiny squares of barfi. Think condensed milk, sugar and nutty variations. But don’t think of the derivation of the word from the Persian word ‘barf’, which has a whole different meaning.
Pakistan celebrated this its 70th Independence Day with “zeal and fervour” in Islamabad according to one of their newspapers. In Canberra it was low-key with a flag to raise, a cake to cut and a presentation to the local Pakistani Cricket Team, winners of the south-asia competition finalised last weekend in the far flung ‘burb of Bonner where the Pakistanis beat the Indians.
But central to the festivities was the launch of a booklet from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research which outlines a co-operation between Australia and Pakistan for projects of “strategic regional importance with high quality projects, enthusiastic partners and a strong gender orientation.” Is this aid of a new kind? Or a rejigging of what we used to do?