Ministers, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:
Thank you for joining us to celebrate the 240th anniversary of America’s Declaration of Independence, and the election of our 45th president. Thank you to the Marine Corps Color Guard for bringing ceremony to this occasion. Thank you our team at the American Embassy for organizing this event, and to our donors for their generosity. And thank you to the Marriott Hotel and its partners for setting up this wonderful venue and providing breakfast for us all.
Whether on Independence Day or Election Day, Americans celebrate the founding values of our nation. President Obama reminded us in his remarks on July 4 of this year, “In 1776, a band of patriots joined together to throw off the yoke of tyranny and craft a framework of democracy…. Believing we are authors of our own destiny, they began an experiment in self-government, calling for freedom, equality, and justice. Their unyielding spirit inspired our Nation – leading pioneers westward, astronauts upward, and troops forward, and leading generations to face challenges with big-hearted optimism and determination.”
At the White House last year, President Obama and Prime Minister Sharif reaffirmed that a mutual commitment to democracy is a key pillar of the American-Pakistani partnership. Allama Iqbal, who we also celebrate today, said, “Democracy is a system where people are counted, not weighed.” And, today, as they count the votes, we are watching our own democracy in action.
Along with democracy, the American-Pakistani relationship is based on our many shared interests in peace, stability, security, and prosperity. On a daily basis, Americans and Pakistanis work together on a wide range of areas from security and economic development to energy and agriculture, and of course education, where we are proud to say that we send over a thousand Pakistanis on exchanges to America every year. Many of our partners in these fields are with us today, and we thank you for joining us.
Please enjoy the morning.