Life in Karachi better than perceived abroad

KARACHI - Dr Christian Brecht is the present Consul General of Germany based in Karachi and reflects about his first year in the city in an exclusive interview with The Nation, which he gave the other day. He shared his experiences in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the City of Karachi and his job as German Consul General. Dr Brecht is married to a French lady with two children; after doing his Research Assistantship at the University of Geneva, he decided to opt for the German Foreign Service and was first posted in Beijing, China, then stationed in Yangon, Myanmar to residing in Santiago de Chile; he then moved on to Sydney, Australia, to his previous assignment in Paris, France and then coming to Karachi as Consul General; Pakistan being the first ever Muslim country he has been posted to. As Dr. Brecht states every posting has its own flair, some being more some less enjoyable, some more, some less challenging. What he likes best about his job, is the fact that it is flexible. The job demands new knowledge with every posting and an open mind set throughout the career. Having a great insight into Islam, he staunchly believes that unfortunately it is not being given the right projection that it requires and is being widely misinterpreted; a plight that the religion suffers at the hands of a certain few narrow-minded people. This he considers tragic. Deformation of Islam, translated to the outside world, gives a great misconception of Islam and what is going on in the Islamic World. One must portray the correct picture of this religion. For it is meant to be a religion of Peace. About the German-Pakistan business ties, he informed this reporter that, in 1959 a Pakistan-German Investment Protection Treaty was signed that will be having its 50th anniversary this year and will be celebrated in Berlin where a delegation from Pakistan will be on a visit and will modernise the treaty. Moreover, he said, The Pak-German Business Forum will be visiting TDAP soon to enhance trade ties between the two countries. Another important event is the Asia-Pacific Week in Berlin where also a special Pakistan Day will be held on October 12 so that Pakistan-German business people can meet to better exploit business opportunities. But there is more to Pakistan-German friendship. As far as scholarships are concerned, Germany is funding scholarships through its DAAD program, offering students from around the world to study in Germany. At the moment as many as twelve hundred Pakistani students are studying in Germany. DAAD will soon be opening its office in Islamabad, so that people can feasibly apply for scholarships. As far as cultural ties between the two countries are concerned, the Goethe Institute Karachi covers a wide range of activities in this regard from holding workshops and language courses to having conferences and musical events and even participating in KARA Film festival. Goethe Institute is shortly going to enter into another engaging project, in which it plans to teach German to school children at different schools in Karachi and other cities in Pakistan. Coming from the land of philosophical geniuses like Kant, Goethe, Nietzsche, Karl Marx and some famous composers such as Bach and Beethoven, Germany is still producing great luminaries and inventors. Often German personalities win a Nobel Prize because of their outstanding achievements. One of Germanys aims is to promote science and technology. On a final note, the Consul General of Germany likes to visit architectural structures like Mohatta Palace and Jinnahs Mausoleum and on Sundays he visits the crowded Empress Market. I have felt welcomed in Karachi and I have been treated with hospitality wherever I went. Though, the city faces a lot of challenges and problems not only in the field of security, but also with quite a percentage of impoverished population, issues in infrastructure, electricity, water, education, environment and more. I personally feel that the City Nazim is doing a great work. He has setup a Master Plan and is trying to improve the lives of 17m people residing here. I just hope that the city returns to peace and normalcy soon and the government finds a way to tackle the challenges ahead.