Sherry hosts summer garden barbeque for US lawmakers, officials
The News, June 28, 2012
WASHINGTON: A summer garden party hosted by Pakistan Ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman Wednesday drew attendance from prominent Washington personalities including senior administration officials, key lawmakers and a host of writers and experts.
The A-list gathering of Washington glitterati at the annual summer barbeque underscored Pakistanâ€™s importance to US policy and opinion makers in the regional scenario. â€œLooking at the convivial tone of this event, you would never think the two countries are not in anything but strategic embrace,â€ remarked one senior administration official. â€œThis just goes to show we are all keen to use opportunities to do business and build ties.â€
The real signal of the strength of embassy ties, however, was seen by the unprecedented show from the White House national security team in full strength, exuding renewed interest in Pakistan, with star billing going to the normally reclusive National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, who remained deep in conversation with the ambassador most of the time.
White House Advisor on Pakistan and Afghanistan General (Retd) Douglas Lute, who is tipped to soon head an expanded national security regional framework, was also seen engaging with both media and think tank heavyweights. Director Pakistan Affairs at the State Department Tim Lenderking, White House Director Tamana Salikuddin and Ambassador Capricia Marshall were among many of the Obama administration officials who were seen in small huddles trying to untangle the web of obstacles challenging the Pak-US relationship at the ambassadorâ€™s residence.
The event, also attended by Pentagon, Treasury and officials from other US departments, offered a popular mix of Pakistani barbecue and Sufi-pop music to an eclectic gathering that included a number of noted think tank experts, journalists, anchors and writers.Â One Congressional staffer remarked, â€œAmbassador Sherry Rehman is now the most familiar diplomat on Capitol Hill, making friends up and down both Houses, and the presence of so many power figures at her soiree speaks of her tenacious lobbying in American power centres, as well as Pakistanâ€™s crucial importance in Washington.â€
Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Sherry Rehman observed, â€œEvents such as this help break some of the ice that builds up in a challenging time, and tonight I honestly hope that the new light I see at the end of this tunnel is not a moment we fail to seize.â€