ISLAMABAD - Ambassador of France Mr. Philippe Thiebaud and his spouse hosted a reception on the occasion of National Day of their country at a local hotel in Islamabad.

Federal Minister for Water and Power Ch Ahmed Mukhtar was the chief guest. The national anthems of Pakistan and France were played and cake was also cut by the chief guest and the French ambassador.

The French National Day reception always attracts prominent political figures. Farooq Sattar (MQM), Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed (PML-Q), Senator Sughra Imam, Begum Ishrat Ashraf, Ch Abdul Ghafoor, Ayaz Amir, Lt General (Retd) Asad Durrani were the few prominent guests at the ceremony.

Indian High Commissioner Sharat Saberwal was much excited on the resumption of cricket relationship between India and Pakistan. He happily informed Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed about the cricket series between India and Pakistan scheduled by the end of this year.

When one journalist commented that Shiv Senna from India had announced to protest against this decision. Saberwal replied that it is a broader decision and there are few segments of society, which always oppose such decisions. So Pakistani media should highlight the Government decision rather than Shiva Sena protest.

Senator Mushahid commented that it is a positive development towards the normalization of relations between India and Pakistan. Mr. Saberwal further informed that foreign minister Ms Hina Rabbani Khar would visit India during the month of September which would be a step forward in the right direction.  The ambassador of Ukraine Volodymyr Lakomov was much delighted with his meeting with the president while presenting his credentials on July 12 at the presidency. He said that Minister of Commerce Mr. Amin Faheem would visit Ukraine on July 24 and 25to liberalize and improve the trade between the two countries.  He hoped that the foreign minister of Pakistan would also visit Ukraine during December this year.

He said that there is a big room to improve the trade between the two countries and he would focus on the trade during his stay in Pakistan.

Australian High Commissioner Peter Heyward, who had presented his credentials to the President last week, was also present on the occasion. He is a seasoned and carrier diplomat with vast experience of serving in Brazil and East Timor as an ambassador while at Argentine and Switzerland as a diplomat. He is much happy with his posting at Islamabad and looking forward to contributing to develop the relations between Pakistan and Australia.

Ambassador of Argentina Rodolfo J. Martin Saravia, who has taken over as the new dean of diplomatic corps in Islamabad, is very happy with his elevation as dean. Saravia is in Islamabad for the last seven years and he has played a key role in improving the relations between Pakistan and Argentina in various fields including trade, culture, pharmaceutical and scientific research.

On the occasion, Ambassador of France Philippe Thiebaud said that diplomatic relations between Pakistan and France were established in 1947 and since then, the exchanges between the two countries have steadily increased. Our two countries, rooted in old civilizations, and each of them endowed with a strong cultural identity are attached to this plurality making the richness of the world

He further stated that he got the opportunity to visit many cities and provinces in Pakistan, and was impressed by the creativity of a vibrant civil society and in particular by the young people of Pakistan.  France recognises the security challenges Pakistan faces, and the sacrifices it has made in the fight against terrorism and extremism, and will continue to stand by Pakistan in so doing.

Pakistan plays a pivotal role in the stability and security of Afghanistan and the region. France welcomed the decision of Pakistan to reopen the Ground Lines of Communication. This decision enabled the members of ISAF to move ahead with the process of transition in Afghanistan.