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March 14, 2020

Promoting the soft image of Pakistan

Islamabad

March 14, 2020

Islamabad : The Floral Art Society of Pakistan (FASP) Lahore chapter in collaboration with Lahore Gymkhana, Gardening Club, Amateur Gardeners’ Club, Pakistan Horticulture Association and Walled City Lahore showcased a floral artist’s event from March 8th to 10th which was attended by FASP members from around Pakistan as well as international delegates. Titled “Pakistan Bloom 2020’ this event was held in Lahore and also attended by First Lady, Samina Alvi who is a member of the society and attends monthly meetings in Islamabad when she can spare time from her busy schedule.

On Thursday, members of FASP and some floral artistes from abroad who had not left for home were invited by the First Lady to a brunch at her home in the presidency, where they were warmly welcomed by her. Soft spoken and gracious, she interacted with her guests and the atmosphere in the room was noticeably pleasant – the guests, mostly ladies with about half a dozen gents - felt at ease there, with laughter and light conversation - which I may add, is the hallmark of the Pindi/Islamabad chapter of FASP because it is like a big happy family! Those who had not gone to the ‘Pakistan Bloom’ event in Lahore were sorry to have missed it because from what was related by the ladies who attended, it was a fabulous, never to be forgotten, affair.

Very much in keeping with the ‘people friendly,’ simple attitude adopted by President Alvi and his wife, he joined the guests when the meal was served; stood in queue to help himself (It was a casual, ‘help yourself and be seated’ affair) and obliged those who wanted to have a photograph of the occasion, before leaving to attend his official duties.

When it was time to say au revoir, senior floral artiste of Islamabad FAS, Farhana Azim thanked the First Lady on behalf of everyone for inviting them to her home; Two of the foreign delegates – a lady and a gentleman representing all of them - also thanked her and said it had been a real honor for them and after a few more pleasantries were exchanged, the memorable morning came to an end.

It is events such as the ‘Pakistan Bloom’ and the brunch - just to mention a couple of events, although there are many remarkable ones taking place that are showcasing Pakistan’s ‘soft image’ - that make visitors go back home and speak highly of the country and the hospitality they receive here. “I have enjoyed every minute since I came here,” said Sandra, who came from the UK (I did not get her last name) “and I’m sorry my friends who were in India could not make it due to restrictions on their side of the border. I’m looking forward to my trip to Peshawar.” She was also looking for a book that showcased all of Pakistan to take home to show her family and friends, so I hope she manages to get one!