By Aslam Chandio from Islamabad, Pakistan :: On November 13, Brazil celebrated its National Day with a grand reception hosted by Ambassador of Brazil to Pakistan, Mr. Alfredo Leoni at the local Hotel of Islamabad.
The guests of honor included Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Mr. Sikandar Hayat Bosan, and the Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Mr. Jam Kamal Khan. Since Brazil is occupying the rotating presidency of the BRICS group of countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), Ambassador Leoni considered the Envoys of the BRICS countries to Pakistan as preferential guests at the reception.
The Chief Guests, the Ambassadors of Russia, India, China and South Africa and Senator Enver Baig (Chairman of Benazir Income Support Program) were invited by Ambassador Leoni to join him at the VIP lounge for the National Anthems of Brazil and Pakistan, and the cake cutting ceremony.
The reception was a lively event. More than 500 guests witnessed a live performance of Capoeira, the traditional wrestling sports of Brazil, and enjoyed specialties of the Brazilian cuisine especially prepared for the occasion.
Pakistani youngsters performed Capoeira show during National Day reception. Capoeira – a Brazilian martial art form combining dance – has also been given a special protected status by UNESCO, the UN’s cultural arm.
A combination of martial art, dance and sport, Capoeira is performed to percussion and chanting. It requires great physical strength and flexibility and is regarded as being of immense acrobatic beauty.
“2014 has been a special year for Brazilians since Brazil had general election last October. Earlier, in July, Brazil hosted the 6th BRICS Summit and took up the rotating presidency of the Group. The BRICS Summit happened just after the world most important sports event: the Football World Cup, held in twelve different Brazilian cities, from mid June through mid July. During one full month, Brazilians were joined by hundreds of thousands of football fans from all over the world to watch the matches. The twelve world class Brazilian stadiums amazed players and public.
Although the Pakistani National Football Team has not yet taken part in the World Cup, it was reason of pride to all Pakistanis to watch the games being played with balls made in Sialkot. This fact alone shows how much Pakistani industry can achieve. Also, Pakistan could celebrate the bronze medal received by its young and talented footballers in the Street Child Football Cup which took place in Brazil days before the beginning of the World Cup. The fact that those young Pakistani footballers could get the third position among teams from 25 different countries shows the potential of football in Pakistan as well as the talent for football among the young generations of this country.
This year we also celebrate the 66th anniversary of the bilateral relations between our two countries. Brazil was the first Latin American country to recognize Pakistan as a state when both countries established diplomatic relations in 1948. Brazil was also the first Latin American country to open an Embassy in Pakistan (Karachi – 1952). On the other hand, Pakistan chose Brazil to open its first Embassy in Latin America: in Rio de Janeiro, then capital of Brazil, 63 years ago, in 1951.
Over the last 66 years, the relations between Brazil and Pakistan have evolved and changed, but their main feature, its friendliness, remain the same. Brazil is the most important trade partner of Pakistan in Latin America, and has been receiving, each year more, on a constant basis, Pakistani students who seek to continue their education in Brazil, benefiting from scholarships given by the Brazilian Government.
Every year the Embassy of Brazil in Islamabad chooses some segments of the bilateral relations to focus its activities on. This year, we decided to focus on football, of course, but also on literature as well as on the cooperation on food security and social programs. Among different activities to promote football and the Word Cup, we published in Urdu and English languages a 100-page magazine with different articles about football in Brazil. We also commissioned a Brazilian photographer specialized in covering football games, Mr. Jorge Rodrigues, to bring to Islamabad a photo exhibition on “the beautiful game”.
In literature, we brought to Pakistan a famous Brazilian writer, Mr. Bernardo Carvalho, to take part in the Karachi Literature Festival and to give a workshop in Islamabad about Brazilian literature. Before the end of the year, we will publish two major Brazilian novels of the 19th century, “Posthumous Memoires of Bras Cubas” and “Iracema”, in Urdu and English languages, to make Pakistanis familiar to Brazilian classic literature.
The cooperation on food security and social programs between Brazil and Pakistan has been greatly strengthened this year by the very productive visit to Brazil of Pakistan Federal Minister for Food Security and Research, H.E. Mr. Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan. As consequence of that visit, Brazil sent to Pakistan a Brazilian expert on food security and social programs, Mr. Thiago Xavier. During one year, Mr. Xavier will share with his Pakistani counterparts the Brazilian experience on those important matters.
All these activities aim at enhancing the friendly ties which unite Brazil and Pakistan as well as making Brazil better known in this country and more appealing to all Pakistanis”.
Aslam Chandio is an Islamabad based journalist. He tweets at @aslamchandio_