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Wednesday July 17, 2024

US envoy Andrew Schofer visits Karachi to strengthen cultural ties, maritime security

Schofer visits significant places in port city, emphasises on religious freedom, "global stability"

By Web Desk
June 14, 2024
US envoy Andrew Schofer and other officials pictured in front of Mazar-e-Quaid in Karachi. — Supplied
US envoy Andrew Schofer and other officials pictured in front of Mazar-e-Quaid in Karachi. — Supplied

KARACHI: Andrew Schofer, the Chargé d'affaires (CDA) of the United States Mission in Pakistan, shed light on the strong US-Pakistan partnership and Washington’s commitment to enhance maritime security, support religious freedom, and cultural heritage preservation on his visit to Karachi on Friday.

CDA Schofer visited Mazar-e-Quaid in the honour Pakistan's founder Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to conclude his two-day visit to the port city, a statement from the consulate issued on Friday said.

"This visit symbolised the United States’ long and steadfast relations with Pakistan, reminding us of Jinnah’s vision for a unified, democratic Pakistan, one in which equality, social justice, and economic opportunity prevail. Both our nations hold the ideas dear and continue to perfect them through our many areas of cooperation."

A highlight of CDA Schofer's Karachi visit was attending the launch of the $1 million Global Maritime Crime Program (GMCP) Phase-2.

US envoy Andrew Schofer attends launch of the $1 million Global Maritime Crime Program (GMCP) Phase-2. — Supplied
US envoy Andrew Schofer attends launch of the $1 million Global Maritime Crime Program (GMCP) Phase-2. — Supplied

Funded by the US government’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) leads this initiative, which will enhance maritime security and combat transnational maritime crime in Pakistan.

US envoy Andrew Schofer (left) gestures at Mazar-e-Quaid during his Karachi visit. — Supplied
US envoy Andrew Schofer (left) gestures at Mazar-e-Quaid during his Karachi visit. — Supplied

The programme also develops technologies to improve Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) for effective maritime activity monitoring and management.

In Karachi, CDA Schofer also visited the shrine of Sufi saint Manghopir, honouring Pakistan's rich cultural and religious diversity. He had the unique opportunity to observe and participate in the traditional ritual of feeding crocodiles at the adjoining ponds.

US envoy Andrew Schofer vists the shrine of Manghopir in Karachi. — Supplied
US envoy Andrew Schofer vists the shrine of Manghopir in Karachi. — Supplied

This centuries-old practice is a significant cultural and spiritual ritual for the local community. The visit emphasised the US priority of promoting religious tolerance and support for Karachi's Sheedi community.

CDA Schofer stated: “Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right essential for global stability and security.”

With the goal of promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA), the DCM also met with various individuals from the transgender community.

They talked about their experiences, challenges, and their work to improve social and economic inclusion and opportunities for their community in Pakistan.

CDA Schofer's visit to Makli Necropolis, one of the world's largest and oldest funerary sites, demonstrated the US commitment to preserving Pakistan’s cultural heritage and fostering mutual respect.

US envoy Andrew Schofer gestures at Makli Necropolis. — Supplied
US envoy Andrew Schofer gestures at Makli Necropolis. — Supplied

Through the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP), the US government has supported more than 32 projects in Pakistan since 2001, investing $7.6 million to restore sites like Varun Dev Temple, Frere Hall, tombs of Sultan Ibrahim and Amir Sultan Muhammad at Makli Necropolis, Mehrgarh Museum in Balochistan, and many more across Pakistan.

CDA Schofer visited Aisha Islamic Academy, a madrassah affiliated with Jamia Islamia Clifton’s madrassah for boys that educates 300 girls as well, including more than 100 orphans who reside on the property.

US envoy Andrew Schofer pictured at shrine of Sufi saint Manghopir. — Supplied
US envoy Andrew Schofer pictured at shrine of Sufi saint Manghopir. — Supplied

This visit marks the first official US delegation visit to the girls’ madrassah, underscoring the US government’s dedication to inclusive education and women’s empowerment.

CDA Schofer's trip to Karachi reflects the US government's broader approach to strengthening its partnership with Pakistan.

By promoting climate resilience, human rights, maritime security, women's empowerment, religious tolerance, and cultural heritage preservation, the US Mission in Pakistan supports sustainable development and deepens bilateral ties.