Peshawar – The Honorary Consulate of the Russian Federation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be formally inaugurated in the provincial capital on February 19.
Russia’s ambassador Alexey Y Dedov would attend the event to be held at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar.
Muhammad Arsallah Khan, who has been appointed the Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, told The News that the consulate has started operating in Peshawar but it would be formally inaugurated on February 19. “I was designated as the Honorary Consul about four months ago though the process to open the consulate in Peshawar had started more than one and a half year ago,” he added.
Pointing out that this is the first time that Russia would have an honorary diplomatic mission in Peshawar, Arsallah Khan said the Russians had always wanted to come to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but somehow it didn’t happen. He said Russian diplomats told him that until now they had been talking about having an honorary consulate in Peshawar, but finally this is going to happen.
Arsallah Khan, who is the son of retired Inspector General of Police for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, Mohammad Abbas Khan, opined that it was time Pakistan re-balanced its ties and befriended Russia and other regional countries instead of pursuing a policy of getting too close to one power and alienating others. “Russia is our natural ally. For too long we remained at a distance from each other. We went the other way, but we now have to correct our priorities,” he argued.
Arsallah Khan, who is chief executive officer of a marketing, development and investment firm, Kmak Conglomerate Private Limited that is part of the consortium developing the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) in Peshawar, said as an Honorary Consul of Russian Federation he would make an effort to improve relations between Pakistan and Russia and facilitate those who want to become part of this endeavour. “I would strive to bring Russian investment to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. I feel confident that this is possible,” he added.
It may be added that Afghanistan, Iran and the US already have their permanent consulates in Peshawar. Japan and France have honorary consuls in Peshawar while the UK has an office where its diplomats used to visit regularly in the past.