13 marzo, 2017
Ambassador Rafat Mahdi.
Pakistan is a country formed in 1947 as a consequence of the partition of India in its process of decolonisation from the British Empire. The national language is the Urdu and 97 per cent of the citizens are muslims.
The Pakistani embassy in Spain, also accredited to Andorra, is located in Pedro de Valdivia. I got to interview with the actual Ambassador of Pakistan, Rafat Mahdi, who has also occupied a number of key posts at United Nations. Mr Excellency is a man with a lot of experience and a lot of travelling though out his life.
The interview began by a few personal questions to Mr. Mahdi, such as what has led him to the position he is today and his overall response was determination and passion. I also asked him what is the roll of an Embassy, he explained that there are there different categories, the cultural, the economical and the document information one, like visas or simple information. An ambassador normally completes 6 years abroad and 3 years in their local country.
Rafat Mahdi had the opportunity to meet Nelson Mandela, not once but seven times who had taught him humility, infinite kindness and a very wide practice of the understanding towards others which is needed in order to accept ourselves. He repeated a number of times how of a great person Mr Mandela was. Mr.Mahdi also cited in a charming voice Mandela´s words:
“Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people…Do not judge me by my successes… judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again…I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” That was Nelson Mandela he said looking at the front in a nostalgic manner. I asked whether he believe he has achieved the power of putting people over his freedom, to which he replied: “That is the most difficult thing to do my dear”.
We continued speaking about all the disputes Pakistan and India have, whether it would be possible the dialogue over the confrontation. He adopted a position in which Pakistan is determined to collaborate in order to achieve a more peaceful relation between both countries however India not so much. He made reference to a number of solutions proposed by Pakistan towards the neighbour country, all of them unsuccessfully achieved.
Moreover, we directed the interesting conversation unto the conflict in Syria. The Ambassador was clear on his message, Pakistan and all the countries around the conflict area are the ones in need of more humanitarian support. He kept repeating: “We are the ones suffering the most, our people is and it is a very complex situation”. I read about some shootings from the Pakistan Government in support of terrorist groups, therefore I asked Mr. Mahdi but he denied any military act from his government. He in fact highlighted their effort in promoting peace and good living standards to their people.
Continuously, I asked for an opinion on the new Trump administration, if it will increase a more economically free and peaceful world or whether the opposite, in between some laughs, Rafat Mahdi did not want to answer so we moved on unto a new topic in the conversation.
This was the Pakistan-Spain relations which the Ambassador affirmed they are improving continuously in order to maintain more diplomatic relations and to cooperate and benefit from each other. He explained there are some bilateral relations.
Mr. Mahdi and I kept talking about world concerns, whether civilization is one of the main issues of this society or whether we should keep implementing it to those uncivilised countries.
I asked him about the freedom of women within Pakistan, as I believe they do not have much liberty. Mr Mahdi replied: “We respect so much women in our country, for example, if they carry two bags, we take both of them as the gentleman we are”. My personal opinion in this issue might not be of relevance however I believe it is not a valid example of equality and respect towards women, however his mind is a completely different one from mine which I can not judge as he is an older man and has been raised in a completely different way as I have.
Overall the conversation was interesting and profound, and I was glad of being able to speak to someone of such responsibility and such background as Mr. Mahdi.