In order to motivate expatriates and others living in Islamabad to visit one of Pakistan’s most beautiful locations and with a view to promoting tourism to the Gilgit-Baltistan area in general, the CEO, Serena Hotels (South and Central Asia) Aziz Boolani and Mrs Wiqar-un-Nisa Boolani hosted a dinner at the Nazara Lounge of the Serena.
The event was attended by many ambassadors and high commissioners along with their spouses as well as prominent members of Pakistani society. A video titled ‘Yahaan’ (here) which has been dedicated to the beauty of Gilgit-Baltistan — labeled as Pakistan’s ‘best kept secrets’ — with vocals by Shafqat Amanat Ali, was screened on the occasion. It showcases the breathtaking beauty of the area, both natural and man made as well as the lifestyle of the people and its main purpose is to promote tourism to give a much needed boost to the economy.
Addressing the gathering the host thanked his guests for accepting his invitation then went on to say a few words about the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) which has been doing tremendous work in the area. Apart from renovating four historic edifices — Khaplu and Shigar palaces and Altit and Baltit forts and imparting high class education to girls and boys, the AKDN has undertaken sustainable development projects like rehabilitation of settlements etc. He thanked the ambassador of Norway, Robert Kvile for his country’s support for the cultural assets of Pakistan, a support which is rights based and is seen as an integral part of overall development but focusing on two main areas — strengthening performing and visual arts and preservation of heritage.
He also praised the producer of the video, Zarmine Ansari ‘for the inspired idea of promoting the heritage properties through the video/song’ and all the others who were involved in the project including director Soheb Akhtar.
In his response Ambassador Kvile said he was happy to be part of the process of preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of Pakistan and though he had been a little hesitant when the idea was floated, he was soon won over by its concept and the message it will send out. He too said words of praise for Zarmine and thanked her and all the rest of those involved in the production of the video.
Dinner was a fine dining experience served to perfection with good food and in a relaxed atmosphere, with the video screened continuously in muted voice mode, which led it to be part of the conversation. And the icing on the cake so to say was that each guest was presented a copy of this beautiful production to view at leisure at home —