Appendix A.1 Invitation to Pakistan1
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RAYMOND MASSEY: The unity of God, the oneness of the universe, the brotherhood of man, the age old articles of faith of the people of Islam have begun to acquire new meaning today in the life of the young nation of Pakistan, a national homeland for the Muslim people. Inheritors of a tradition and a culture whose roots go deep into the ancient past, Pakistanis look to their faith to guide their nation’s future.
“Our people seek equality, solidity, and freedom,” were the words of Pakistan’s poet philosopher, Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, who lies buried at the great Badshahi Mosque in the ancient city of Lahore. Three centuries have gone by since Aurangzeb, last of the great mogul emperors, entered Lahore on the back of an elephant. The 20th century has brought new techniques to Pakistan. It has brought new friends—Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan, president of Pakistan, Malik Amir Mohammad Khan, governor of West Pakistan, and United States Ambassador Walter P. McConaughy greet Mrs. John F. Kennedy, wife of the 35th President of the United States.
Pakistan has played host to kings and to queens, to prime ministers and to presidents. For the first time in its history, Pakistan offers its proverbial hospitality to the wife of a president. And at the United States Embassy, Ambassador McConaughy welcomes his visitor from 9,000 miles away. United in many fields, Pakistan and the United States, a variety of cultures and of traditions, come together in friendship and in common cause.
The tradition of independence is close to the hearts of freedom-loving people everywhere. Mrs. Kennedy and her sister, Princess Lee Radziwill, join in the celebration of Pakistan Day. Mrs. Kennedy honors the memory of the founder of the Pakistan homeland. “Two nations striving for independence and freedom,” said Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, “the United States democracy has acted as a beacon light and an inspiration.”
750 miles southwest of Lahore on the shores of the Arabian Sea lies the port city of Karachi. From the busy city streets rises a realistic monument to the Khardiazm’s belief in his country’s strength, the modern State Bank of Pakistan, a symbol of economic freedom and of faith in a nation’s future. The future of any nation, young or old, lies with her children. The children’s wing of the Jinnah Central Hospital, largest in Pakistan, receives the cooperation and support of many nations. The mother of two young children, Mrs. Kennedy knows what it means to bring a smile to the face of a sick child.
Among the gifts and the equipment she has brought from the United States to Jinnah Hospital, not the least is Mrs. Kennedy’s own delight in making a new young friend. Never far from Pakistan’s hope for the future are her memories of the past. Through the ancient streets of Peshawar, gateway to Pakistan’s northwest frontier, Mrs. Kennedy follows the route history followed. Qissa Khawani, the bazaar of the storytellers, for centuries a meeting place of soldier and tribesmen, of merchant and scholar on their way down the long stretch of perilous road from the mountain reaches of the Khyber Pass.
Descendants of the tribesmen of all still guard the bleak approaches to the pass. The tribal Malik still welcome friends in the traditional way with traditional gifts.
The Khyber Rifles, historical defenders of a fertile valley of the Indus, of the land below the mountains.
Year after year, century after century, friend and invader travel this road, armies in caravans bound for the riches of the great subcontinent of Asia. Darius the Great, Alexander of Macedonia, Genghis Khan, Timur of Samarkand swept down across these mountains.
Sundown at the governor’s house in Peshawar. The drums of the Khyber tribesmen no longer sound for battle, but revive for the American visitor an ancient ritual, the Kathak’s dance.
The pomp and ceremony of another day now mark the opening of a modern ritual, celebrating a tradition in the ancient city of Lahore—the ninth annual Pakistani National Horse and Cattle Show.
President Ayub’s gift to Mrs. Kennedy, Sardan, descendant of a masked winner, traces his ancestry back to the famed stables of the Aga Khan. A gift from the president and the people, a symbol of the warmth of the welcome the visitor from America received wherever she went.
From Lahore to Rawalpindi, to Peshawar to Karachi, from the distant plains of Texas and the subways of New York are brought to Bashir the camel driver the good wishes of many Americans and the greetings of Mrs. Kennedy and her sister. Bashir has his own contribution to make to Mrs. Kennedy’s visit to Pakistan.
In the search for identity, for purpose, and for a place in the 20th century, Pakistan has not forgotten man’s need to dream. Over 300 years ago, the Shalimar Gardens brought repose to a Mughal emperor. Today, the gardens offer repose and delight to anyone who seeks it.
JACQUELINE LEE KENNEDY ONASSIS: I must say I profoundly impressed by the reverence, which you in Pakistan have for your art and for your culture and for the use that you make of it now. My own country, even too, have a pride in their traditions, so I think as I stand in these gardens, which were built long before my country was born, that that’s one more thing that binds us together and which always will.
I was sad to have to say goodbye so soon to President Ayub, to the Governor of West Pakistan, and to the people of this vital and beautiful country. I had always heard of Pakistan’s proverbial hospitality, and it was even more than I had expected. I hope that with my husband, I will be able to return again soon for a visit with the people of West Pakistan and East Pakistan, too.
- Source: Kennedy Library, United States Government Agencies Collection, Series 01, United States Information Agency/Service Films, Invitation to Pakistan, March 1962: 21–26, USG–01–14. Produced by the United States Information Service. Directed by Leo Seltzer. Written by Doris Ransohoff. Narrated by Raymond Massey. See Document 96.↩