Report by: Aslam Chandio
The popular and well like Italian diplomats in Pakistan, Dr. Federico Bianchi and his wife Lavinia Bianchi will be leaving Islamabad in a few days after the completion of their tenure and farewell parties for them are in full swing. Italy-Pakistan Business Forum (IPBF) and Gold Roof Islamabad also hosted a fare well dinner in the honour of Dr. Federico Bianchi, head of economic and commercial section of Italian Embassy in Pakistan and his wife Lavinia Bianchi, which was attended by a number of their good friends, both from the diplomatic corps as well as Pakistanis. Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Union to Pakistan was the guest of honour.
Welcoming the guests on the behalf of IPBF, Khurram Shahzad Hameed Secretary General IPBF lauded the contribution of Dr. Federico Bianchi in promoting trade and building the soft image of Pakistan at the international level and expressed hope that they will continue to strengthen the good relations between Pakistan and Italy. He said that the role of Dr. Federico Bianchi in building institutions to promote trade, commerce and investment between both countries will always be remembered. “Dr. Federico Bianchi has laid a strong foundation to assist business community,” Khurram Shahzad Hameed stated. He expressed gratitude to them for their vibrant role in facilitating Pakistani traders and business community to access the Italian markets.
Lars-Gunnar Wigemark awarded the mementos to Dr. Federico Bianchi and Lavinia Bianchi.
Speaking on the occasion, Senator Sughra Imam, while acknowledging the fact that the Italian diplomats had been very active and promoted bilateral relations between Italy and Pakistan, also spoke of the times they had worked together and shared those experiences. She concluded by wishing the couple well and raising a toast to ‘friendship and Pakistan.’ She also mentioned Bianchi’s key contributions in strengthening Italy-Pakistan commercial relations.
In his response — which he delivered in his usual cheerful manner — Dr. Federico Bianchi thanked his hosts for getting together some of their good friends and said he was sorry to be leaving Pakistan, a country he and his wife had grown to love and know so well. “Pakistan is a very beautiful country with a rich culture and welcoming people. It is true that Pakistan has been facing several complex challenges. Italy will stand next to Pakistan in these difficult times. Bilateral Trade and investment relations between the two countries are growing. Italy has always followed the Pakistani markets with keen interest and it has increased its’ positioning, becoming one of the top ten global trading partners of Pakistan and the third among EU member states, after the UK and Germany. Italy is considered to be a most privileged and reliable partner pertaining to its economic and trade relations with Pakistan”, Dr. Federico Bianchi stated.
He concluded with a toast to the hosts; his friends and Pakistan and said it was not goodbye but ‘arrivederci’— which is more like ‘till we meet again’— as he hoped to come back to Pakistan many times.
Speaking on the occasion, Raja Nazeem ul Amin underscored his efforts at diplomatic level and applauded the role of Italian Government in EU to grant Pakistan GSP Plus status that has reduced duties and tariffs and has positivity impacted the textile and leather sectors. The IPBF also awarded the medal of excellence to Dr. Federico Bianchi in recognition of his diplomatic services. He also mentioned the recent projects in the fields of construction industry aiming at the promotion of Italian experiences to develop energy efficient housing.
Aslam Chandio is an Islamabad based journalist. He tweets at @aslamchandio_