Karachi: The Consul General of France and Mrs. Christian Ramage, hosted a reception on the Occasion of National day at Alliance Francaise. Picture shows Acting Governor Sindh Nisar Khuro, Atta Ansari, press and political officer Abdul Kader Jaffer, Tarek Khan, Aamir Jaffri, Jam Mashouk Ali, Zeenat Saeed Ahmed, Shaiyan Malik, with host and other guests.
The Double French Celebrations
The French Consul General and Madame Christian Ramage hosted their second grand and rocking National Day reception on 14th July in Karachi to celebrate the Bastille Day. The function, held in the premises of Alliance Francaise, doubled as a commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the publication of the book ‘Les Miserables’ by the great French writer Victor Hugo.
Speaking on the occasion, the Consul General stated that Francehas a strong and cordial bilateral relation with Pakistanand trade between them has become stronger with the profits of French companies in Pakistan, viz. Total, Sanofi, Aventis, Schneider, Mazars and L’Oreals having grown healthier. Encouraged by them, some new companies have arrived since 2011 to invest and enter into partnerships with Pakistani companies. These are Gaz de (power sector), Advans Pakistan and Horus (Micro-financing banks) and Hyperstar (a partner company of Carrefour catering to the house hold needs of families). In fact it is interesting to note that this fiscal year the Balance of Payment has tipped in favour ofPakistan. Yet rumours say the Trade Commission of France inPakistan is closing its office inKarachi.
He informed the gathering of fellow diplomats, city elites, the French and Pakistani businessmen and eminent personalities from other walks of life, that though voting was not compulsory in France, democracy was so strongly entrenched in the hearts and minds of the French people, that 82 % of the 42 million voters in France headed to polling stations of their own volition to cast their vote and choose a leader for the next term.
He also paid homage to the staunch democrat, humanist and advocate of the common citizens’ rights and liberties, Victor Hugo (1802–85), whose famous all times classics, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables, are as relevant today as they were in the 1860s and as truly representative of the masses’ hopes, aspirations, miseries and abrogation of bona fide rights then as they are now anywhere in the world where power rests in the hands of a few and rules the roost with corruption rampant in the corridors of power. He quoted Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese Opposition Leader and courageous activist for civil liberties, as having stated that, “The revolutionary spirit of France has been of great inspiration to me in my political struggle for democracy”. Victor Hugo’s ideals as expressed in the book have been a great motivation for many. He announced that he was dedicating the evening’s celebration to an SOS Village in Balochistan as a tribute to a character of the classic, an orphan child. Each guest was presented a copy of Les Miserables as a tribute to the great man.
Guest of Honour of the evening, Acting Governor Sindh, Mr. Nissar H. Khukro (Speaker Sindh Assembly), offered felicitations and said he was delighted to have the opportunity a second time to attend the French National Day celebrations as the Acting Governor and hoped the same chance would come his way again.
The Karachi Ensemble Choir entertained the guests all through the evening with their beautiful numbers and later, after the guests had enjoyed a sumptuous dinner of French cuisine and French cheese, rocked the party with their scintillating performance.