Ambassador Jilani Meets Los Angeles Community Members
By Rafique S.M. Ahmed
Mr Jalil Abbas Jilani, Pakistan's new ambassador to the United States, met members of the community at a reception hosted by Dr Muhammad Khalid Ejaz, Acting Consul General of Pakistan in Los Angeles, on February 12, 2014 at the Long Beach Marriott Hotel.
The banquet hall was tastefully decorated, thanks to immaculate arrangements made by Mrs Shoaib Patel, and was almost full to capacity despite the fact that the reception was held on a working day. Ambassador Jilani arrived on time and was warmly greeted by the Acting Consul General, Dr Muhammad Khalid Ejaz, and prominent members of the community. The Ambassador graciously met everyone on his way to the Banquet Hall. National anthems of both the United States and Pakistan were played, marking a respectful and sentimental salutation to both the countries.
The function started with the recitation and translation of the
Holy Qur'an. Dr Erum Ejaz was the Master of Ceremony and should be commended for doing a wonderful job. Her choice of Urdu words and delivery were absolutely superb and sounded like a string of springs of cold water flowing down gingerly and smoothly from the top of the mountain.
On behalf of the Consulate and the community, Dr Muhammad Khalid Ejaz expressed gratitude to the Ambassador for honoring the Pakistani community of California with his very first visit outside Washington DC. He also elaborated on the distinguished career of Ambassador Jilani and recalled his outstanding services to Pakistan over the last several decades.
Ambassador Jilani was given a rousing welcome when he rose to address the audience. He was very candid and at the same time very humble. He reiterated his commitment to provide the best possible service not only to the Pakistani-Americans but also to Pakistan. He opened the floor for questions and very eloquently responded to various issues raised by the gathering.
After the delicious dinner, catered by Dara Shah Khan, owner of Shahnawaz Restaurant, musical entertainment was provided by none other than our own popular singer and entertainer, Haneef Noor Mohamed, who sang Pakistani national and folk songs and entertained the audience with beautiful ghazals and popular movie songs.
Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani assumed his responsibilities as Ambassador of Pakistan on January 2, 2014. Prior to this appointment , he served as Foreign Secretary of Pakistan from March 2012 to December 2013.
He is a career diplomat and has also served as Ambassador of Pakistan to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union (2009-2012) and as Pakistan's High Commissioner to Canberra, Australia (2007-2009).
Ambassador Jilani holds a Bachelor's Degree in Law and MSc in Defense and Strategic Studies. In his professional life, he has specialized in South Asian affairs and served as Director India (1992-1995), Deputy High Commissioner/Acting High Commissioner to New Delhi (1999-2003) and Director General South Asia and SAARC (2003-2007). In 2005 he also served as the Government's Spokesman on Foreign Affairs.