Lahore’s historicity,culture make it great tourist destination: Yuriy Fedkiw

301

LAHORE,Aug 27 (APP)- Outgoing US Consul General Yuriy R Fedkiw said
Lahore,the cultural treasure trove,is a great tourist destination
as there is a lot to discover about the city as a traveller.
In an interview with APP on the eve of his departure for the United States here,he said Lahore should be one of the top tourist destinations in the South Asia,adding that he had been enamored with its gardens, architectural heritage,food and educational institutions.
To a question, the diplomat said he had a special fascination for the Wazir Khan Masjid and it always seemed to have a magical effect on him, adding that the mosque provided a vital link between the present and the past and he felt like being transported to the great Mughal period whenever he visited the mosque.
“I had visited the Lahore Fort, the Badshahi Masjid, Shalamar Gardens, Katas Raj and some sites in Multan, but Wazir Khan Masjid always provided me with tranquility and grandeur like no other,” he reminisced.
Fidkew said that it had been a privilege to be part of the preservation process of Chowk Wazir Khan Masjid and Shahi Hamam– the 17th century Mughal architectural masterpieces,during his stint as the Consul General here.
About food, he said that he loved ‘Aaloo Gosht’ (Mutton potato curry) and ‘Tikka’, adding that he was awed by the spices initially but developed taste for the right spices gradually. “I will miss the Lahori food,” Fdekiw added.
The outgoing consul general made a special mention of the hospitality shown by Lahorites. He said that he was awed by the warmth and love of the people for Americans, adding that he was welcomed with open arms everywhere he went. Fedkiw said that from common friends to the unfamiliar shopkeepers in a market-place everybody extended the warmest hospitality.
About his efforts to promote people-to-people contacts, the US diplomat said that the Unites States government had introduced various programmes to bring together people of both the countries in almost all sectors including education, business, commerce, agriculture and energy, etc. He said that English Access Programme was an initiative to bring people closer.
To another query, he said that education, gender equality and women empowerment were his focus, adding that women are a huge untapped human resource,and they could play an important role in boosting province’s economy. He said that the US Consulate had always supported the Punjab government for providing maximum opportunities to
women and youth.
He said, “We look at the education very holistically and USFEP has been providing opportunities to Pakistani student who wish to study in the US, which would enable them to learn about cultures and lives.”
The diplomat said that the US Consulate Lahore also promoted initiatives to promote business and commercial ties among the people of the Punjab and the United States, adding that Doing Business in America Desk was recently set- up at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
to bring the businessmen from the two countries closer and open up new trade avenues.
The outgoing diplomat Fedkiw said that the Pak-US friendship spanned over 70 years,adding that the kinno produced in Sargodha spoke volumes of the bilateral relations as the kinno gardens were started in Sargodha with the technical advice from the US agriculturists. The US had been very reliable friend of Pakistan in development of agriculture and livestock,he added.
To a question,Fedkiw said Lahore was his second home and he would always cherish the memories of his stay in this historic city, adding that Lahore is a city which is alive and vibrant.