Iqbal's couplet resounds at UN celebration of Nowruz

New York, 22 March, 2017

Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said at an impressive ceremony to mark Nowruz at the UN, that the idea of Pakistan was born 77 years ago, in 1940, a day after Nowruz.

The Pakistani envoy said that this was a specially auspicious time for Pakistan as 70 years of Pakistan’s independence will be commemorated this year. Pakistan, she said, has now seen 70 springs, enjoying the fruits of freedom, growing from strength to strength, playing a key role in international peace and security and taking its rightful place in the international community.

Secretary General UN, António Guterres and President of the General Assembly, Peter Thomson attended and spoke at the ceremony as did the Ambassadors of all the countries where Nauroz is celebrated, including Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, India and Central Asian Republics.

The arrival of spring, which Ambassador Lodhi described as “the eternal symbol of renewal and regeneration”, has been celebrated in our region for centuries. “It is when the resilience of the human spirit is revitalized, harmony and tolerance are celebrated, forgiveness is practiced, divisions and tensions are removed, and we all become one integral part of an inspiring collective heritage”, she added.

Referring to Nowruz as a symbol of equality, manifested by the equal length of its day and night, the Pakistani envoy said this was the same spirit of equality on which the United Nations was founded.

“This should guide our engagement at a moment when we are all striving to make this organization more democratic – based on the Charter principle of sovereign equality”, she said.

A couplet by Pakistan’s national poet resounded in the hall of the Trusteeship chamber when Ambassador Lodhi cited Allama Mohammed Iqbal on the coming of Spring.

She also told the august gathering that at the 13th Summit of the 10 member Economic Cooperation Organization, which Pakistan hosted in Islamabad recently, the Heads of State and Government discussed connectivity and regional prosperity and also emphasized the important role played by strong cultural ties.

She said, “The Islamabad Declaration also reiterated that the International Day of Nowruz remained a welcome factor that contributes to the strengthening of friendship between our nations”.

Pakistan, she said, has always stressed the necessity of promoting civilizational exchanges, which promote harmony and foster international cooperation. “The positive energy from such exchanges help to influence and shape the course of our collective future”, she added.

Over the last couple of years, she said, the world body has collectively set ambitious goals for ourselves, and added, “From our determination to build sustainable peace, combat climate change, promote gender equality to successfully implementing the sustainable development agenda, we have embarked upon an enterprise to make the world a better and a safer place for succeeding generations”.

Ambassador Lodhi concluded her remarks with the words of Allama Mohammed Iqbal:

“Spring clouds have pitched their tents over mountains and plains,

Look! Flowers are flourishing in gardens and meadows’

The spring wind blows”

And with that, she added, comes hope and the prospect of a brighter future.

At the close of the ceremony, video clips were screened from all the countries where Nowruz is celebrated every year. An impactful video from Pakistan was also shown to the large gathering at the event depicting the arrival of Spring, celebration of Basant and Nowruz.