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July 13, 2020

Acknowledging a fine diplomat

Islamabad

July 13, 2020

Ambassadors of different country’s come and go with regular frequency, some staying longer than others but only a few outstanding ones leave a memorable mark in the country that is their temporary home for the period of their tenure. They are friendly; approachable; down to earth and they are missed by all those who came into contact with them, remembered fondly whenever conversations take place of days gone by. Ambassador of Sweden, Ingrid Johansson, is one of them and sadly she will be leaving at the end of the month. She will leave many people sad when she leaves.

One of her many qualities is the fact that she ‘used inventiveness to promote the feminist foreign policy in Pakistan,’ (quote) for which I am sure all women were grateful as we definitely need to fight for our rightful place in the scheme of things and need the full support of whoever is ready to give it. She promoted and encouraged not only female artistes of all genres but women from all walks of life.

Here is a bit of information which readers may enjoy - one example of her leading from the front. Most recently the ambassador obtained a rickshaw driving license, which is a bit unusual for women in Pakistan, though a few do drive them a to earn a living, but it will surely encourage more of them!

It took two years before she was allowed to take the test. The police authority, which is responsible for issuing driving licenses in Pakistan, seemed troubled by her attempt to obtain a driving license and constantly found circumstances to prevent her from doing so. But Ambassador Ingrid Johansson did not give up.

“Madame, you know how to drive!” exclaimed a surprised but happy chief of police when she elegantly negotiated the traffic cones on the driving test track in Lahore

The Embassy has become engaged in ‘Women on Wheels’ – a foundation working for women to have the opportunity to learn how to drive motorbikes and also be able to buy their own vehicles. ‘Women on Wheels’ regularly hold a rally to demonstrate its activities. Ingrid herself has participated in these on a motorbike!