Farewell to Mashallah Shakri: The Iranian Ambassador
"We will cooperate with Pakistan in development of security and security of development." Mashallah Shakri
By Raja G Mujtaba
Mashallah Shakri spent five years in Pakistan where he developed lots of personal contacts and made numerous friends. Normally the diplomats keep a very selective group where they mix around but Mashallah was quite outgoing. He is a very learned person with a fine taste and very articulate in selection of the words to express his views. Besides he is also well versed with the philosophy of Dr Iqbal whom he was often heard quoting to inspire and energize any gathering big or small. I happened to have an exclusive sitting with him in his office more than a year that I reduced into writing and posted on Opinion Maker, it became a great reading that generated lot of interest amongst the readers. It was not a conventional interview based on some format discussing questions that are normally provided to the host in advance for the preparation. It was a writing of a sitting with him that tuned a different frequency where he felt more comfortable to share his candid views in a very relaxed mood.
Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) headed by Senator Prof Khurshid Ahmed is one unique Think Tank in private sector that is playing a great role in enhancement of intellectual discourse. In the continuity of the same policy and spirit, Mashallah Shakri was invited here to bid him a farewell in a simple but in an impressive manner. It was a small gathering that comprised of the intellectuals and former diplomats in Islamabad. Ambassador Shakri was perfectly at home in the gathering that he knew personally and mixed with all.
Senator Professor Khurshid Ahmed welcomed the distinguished guest with a brief address that was a straightforward heart to heart
feelings from a brother for a brother. He was very forthcoming in recounting the association of Mashallah Shakri with Pakistan, his contributions in promoting the bilateral ties between the two countries. He also recounted the adverse affects of terrorism on the bilateral relations between Iran and Pakistan.
Mashallah Shakri was very eloquent, polite and warm in his expressions. He said Iran would help in development of security and security of development and is also willing to invest in Pakistan but as a policy would never give any money as aid etc. He was categorical that Iran wants to see Pakistan stand on her own feet but these foreign loans and aid does not let Pakistan strive for a better, prosperous and independent Pakistan.
Mashallah Shakri informed the gathering that Iran is willing to supply Pakistan with electricity, oil and gas at very competitive prices that would be much more economical and reliable because of the geographical proximity.
Departure of Mashallah Shakri would be missed for a long time by the intellectual circles in particular but he was also a well known name in Pakistan. He has left a big challenge for his successor to pick up the threads from where he has left.
Khalid Rahman, the DG of IPS was quite active in entertaining the guests.