Culture & Sports
The Embassy encourages and supports Pakistani-Community to organize cultural & sports activities to foster goodwill, understanding, friendship and networking between people of Pakistan & the Netherlands. Since Pakistan & the Netherlands share common passion of sports particularly Hockey while Pakistan’s most popular sports Cricket is also gaining popularity in the Netherlands. It is, therefore, only natural that events of these two sports serve as wonderful vehicle for bringing two cultures and people together.
For past 25 years, two annual events – Pakistan’s Ambassador Hockey Trophy & Cricket Cup – have been regularly held & both have evolved into glorious, time-less tradition. The Hockey Trophy has traditionally been played between teams of Dutch Parliament, Foreign Office & Pakistani-Dutch community. In 2013,at the occasion of silver jubilee of the hockey tournament, a new team-Flying Dutch Veterans has also played the tournament in addition to three traditional teams.
The Cricket Cup, on the other hand, has a different audience: it is played between teams of Dutch Cricket Board (KNCB) & Pakistani-Community XI, drawn from young players of various clubs. Both events have elicited keen interest & support of Dutch side.
The annual tournaments of hockey and cricket have been stringed into a brand name of DOSTY, which means friendship in Urdu, and which truly represents the spirit behind these tournaments.
In the same year 2010, the Pakistani-Dutch community with support of Embassy & Gemeente Den Haag, launched the first ever Pakistan Cultural & Sports Festival which attracted thousands of eager participants. The sequel, Pakistan Cultural & Food Festival, was held in 2011 at a bigger venue & with upgraded overall arrangements. In 2012, the Third Pakistan Festival was held in Amsterdam.
The Fourth Pakistan Food and Cultural Festival was held in the Hague. These festivals also brought together thousands of Dutch citizens of various ethnic backgrounds & helped promote cultural harmony & understanding. Pakistan’s lead music stars including Mr. Abrar-ul-Haq, Hadiqa Kiani, Humara Arshad and Nabeel Shauket have performed in the festivals.
The 5th Pakistan Festival (Mela) was held in Rotterdam on 8 June 2014 by the Pakistani Dutch community with the support of the Embassy of Pakistan. The festival is a mega annual event that started in 2010 to project the soft image of Pakistan and Pakistani-Dutch community, promoting harmony and understanding, and bringing various communities closer. The festival boosted goodwill for Pakistan and the country’s soft image. The festival provided an opportunity to Pakistani and other communities living in the Netherlands to intermingle and promote inter-cultural understanding through a fun-filled day of cultural performances, cuisine and music. The festival was inaugrated by Ambassador Moazzam Ahmad Khan and Mr. Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam.
The festival had something for everyone. Games and recreational activities for children and a wide varity of Pakistani products, food and clothes for women. The cultural performance featured dances by renowned artist Megha from Pakistan and local Pakistani children, Songs by Ruby Reshma (Daughter of the late lengendry singer Reshma) local Pakistani talent and Fashion show by Pakistani designers, culminating in a musical evening by the Famous Pakistani singer Amanat Ali.
The achievements of Pakistani Dutch community members were recognized through presentation of awards on recommendation of the Mela Committee, the awards were presented by Ambassador Moazzam Ahmad Khan. The Mela Committee presented a special award in the the honour of Mr. Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Foreign Secretary in recognition of his achievements, during his ambassadorial assignement in the Netherlands, including the commencement of Pakistan Festival (Mela) every year. The award was recieved on his behalf by the Ambassador.
The festival venue remained jampacked with spectators throughout the day. Families turned out in large numbers to feast on Pakistani food, enjoy traditional and cultural performances and shop Pakistani products.
The Mela reached its climax when Amanat Ali entertained the audience with his popular numbers.