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Monday, February 13, 2012

US can strengthen ties through cultural exchange

Talking about various US-Pak initiatives, US Consul General in Lahore Nina Maria Fite said that the consulate had introduced special programmes for promotion of cultural activities as well as preservation of historic sites in Lahore as well as Punjab under the US Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation.

She also expressed the wish of fostering relations between the two strategic partners through close people-to-people contacts.

Talking to APP on Sunday, she said, “With the melting of snow on the advent of spring season in Pakistan, the frost in Pak-US relations will also thaw.”

The US diplomat said the US was waiting for the strategic paper from Pakistan on Pak-US relations after duly approved by its parliament. The US is committed to stronger relations with Pakistan since both the countries had various common causes that needed cooperation, she added.

She expressed the US government’s resolve to provide maximum support to Pakistan in the fields of economics, education and culture. The US is happy to be here in close partnership with the people of Pakistan, she added.

Nina took pride in the fact that she watched very closely the making of Pak-Afghan Transit Trade Agreement during her posting as deputy economic counselor in Kabul, Afghanistan, stressing that greater trade ties with neighbouring countries in the region would ensure economic boom.

She said she was enchanted by the charm, beauty, timelessness and rich cultural heritage of Lahore.

Replying to a query, she said being a graduate in architecture, she admired fascinating and wonderful architecture of the Mughal period reflected in Lahore Fort, Badshahi Mosque, Wazir Khan Mosque as well as the contemporary architecture of Al-Hamra.

Nina further said she was awed by the magnificence and grace of the Shalamar Gardens, adding that she had been to the chrysanthemum exhibition at Jilani Park and looked forward to the rose exhibition to be held in April.

“I am touched by the hospitality of Lahorites. The people are large-hearted and have made me feel great wherever I went in Pakistan, especially Punjab,” she said while eulogising the hospitality of the people of Punjab.

The US diplomat said the recent events had not affected the Pak-US educational and cultural ties at all, stressing that besides other educational and economic programmes, Pakistan was the largest shareholder in the US Fulbright scholarships offered to students every year.

Nina also expressed the hope that her sojourn in the metropolis will usher in an era of closer Pak-US relations, bringing out humane aspect of the ties. app


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