Islamabad : To celebrate the centenary of Regaining Independence by the Republic of Poland and the Poliah Armed Forces Day, Ambassador Piotr Opalinski and Mrs Jolanta Opalinski hosted a reception at the Marriott Hotel. The event was co-hosted by Defence Attache Col. Andrzej Stanek and attended by diplomats; members of the Diplomatic Defence Corps; Pakistani armed forces officers and civilians of note, while the guest of honour was minister for Maritime Affairs, Syed Ali Haider Zaidi. The cake cutting ceremony took place after the national anthems of both countries had been played.
A video screening of the sights of Poland played continuously as the backdrop of the stage – different and interesting as it was expertly filmed, with a 3D, breathtaking perspective that showcased how Poland has emerged from being a war ravaged country to one of splendor. It made you want to plan a trip to the country immediately!
Addressing the gathering in Urdu, interspersed with English, Ambassador Opalinski extended a warm welcome to all his guests, including those on stage who have special relations with Poland for one reason or another – Air Commodore ® Sajjid Haider; Lt Gen.(R) Talat Masood and Col ® Azam Qadri – after which he said a few word about the war and its consequences then went on to speak about how a Polish Air Force officer, Air Commodore Turowicz had been instrumental in setting up the Pakistan Air Force after partition and been decorated with a high award by Pakistan. “This means a lot to us,” he said “and we are proud of this achievement that has created a lasting bond between us.” He concluded by thanking everyone for their presence and hoped they would enjoy the evening. For the interest of readers it may be added that the Turowicz family made Pakistan their home and he and his wife are buried in Karachi.
Minister Zaidi congratulated the government and people of Poland on behalf of Pakistan and its people and was frank enough to admit that he did not know that Pakistan and Poland had such strong and steadfast relations, or about the historical facts related by the ambassador regarding the Air Force. Though there was a written speech in front of him he spoke extempore - which was refreshing - adding a touch of humor about his position as the minister of ‘Maritime Affairs,’ much to the delight of those who heard him.
Dinner was served and it was good to see the host as well as the guest of honour mingle with the guests and allow them to take photos or selfies – an accepted pastime these days.