Like many Pakistanis, as a Pakistani citizen and official, I have always harbored friendly feelings towards China; and therefore, am concerned about everything happening in China. I feel very proud and pleased for the achievements China has made since it's opening up, and for the continuous deepening and developing of traditional Pakistan-China cooperation. I still remember, several years ago when I heard Beijing was awarded the opportunity to host the Olympic Games, the joy in my heart was not any less than that of the Chinese public.
Later, some three years ago, when I learned that I would be dispatched to the Pakistani Embassy in China, I was filled with excitement, thrill and eagerness. Many friends and colleagues extended their congratulations to me. This chance not only allows me to experience China close-up; but also enables me to play a more direct role in contributing to the Pakistan-China friendship. In the Embassy, I am responsible for the press and culture, including sports. Witnessing the Beijing Olympics makes me luckier than my predecessors – not to mention that I am a sports fan.
Since taking this position in China, I have been following closely the information about the Beijing Olympics. I cannot remember how many press conferences and activities for the Olympic Games I have attended. I can neither remember how many times I have visited the Olympic venues – although many of them are still under construction – sometimes accompanying visiting Pakistani delegations, sometimes with my family and friends, and sometimes on my own.
I can say I have witnessed how world-famous venues like the “Bird's Nest” and “Water Cube” rise from the ground. In this sense, I am an eyewitness of the preparatory work for the Beijing Olympics. I am very proud of this.
What impressed me most is the Chinese government and people's enthusiasm and effort for the Olympic Games. Anybody without prejudice and discrimination would be moved and touched by the entire nation's sincerity to host a great Olympic Games. The Chinese youth are so eager to work as volunteers; even the elderly are not far behind. They are beginning to study foreign languages, which is not an easy task for most of them. They have only one wish: to contribute to a successful Beijing Olympic Games.
It's a pity that some people are unwilling to look at all the efforts the Chinese government and people have made for the Olympic Games. They even try to disrupt the Games with some irrelevant issues. It is understood that the Olympic flame spreads the message of love, peace and friendship from country to country and city to city during its global tour.
But in some countries, the flame's path was disrupted and blasphemed. In response to these acts against Olympic spirits, all I can do is to introduce the preparations for the Beijing Olympics and express my firm belief that the Beijing Olympic Games will be a success for people.
Whether accepting media interviews or writing articles and during diplomatic occasions or private talks with my families and friends, I have reiterated that the Beijing Olympics will be the best Olympics ever held in the history of the Olympics. I draw this conclusion from my understanding of the great nation and my working experience in Beijing in the last three years.
The devastating Wenchuan earthquake took place less than three months before the opening of the Beijing Olympics, causing a huge loss of life and property. Facing the catastrophe, the Pakistani government and people stand firmly with China.
The courage, wisdom and strength that the Chinese leadership, government and people have shown are enough to tell the world that the country will definitely overcome the difficulties and present a beautiful, successful Olympics to the world.
At this time, I would like to salute the kind, wise and sagacious leadership, the government and the hospitable Chinese people, in advance, for presenting the gift of peace, love and friendship to the world in the form of the upcoming Beijing Olympics.
Athletes, players, officials, and guests from around the world who come to Beijing for the Olympic Games will certainly enjoy the hospitality of the Chinese people, the profound Chinese culture, and the achievements China has made.
Wishing the Beijing Olympic Games success!
By Muhammad Iftikhar Raja, Attaché (Press and Culture), Pakistani Embassy in China