In honour of this year, the 70th anniversary of the founding of Pakistan, our first three events celebrated the lives and legacies of undisputed heroes of Pakistan: one of the founding fathers of the nation Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, the poet and ideologist Allama Iqbal, and the great philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi.

Thursday, 23rd November, 2017

The Foreign & Commonwealth-OfficeA special tour of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Time: 10.15 for 10.30 a.m
Venue: Foreign and Commonwealth Office, King Charles Street SW1A 2AH.
Admission: This event is open to members of The Pakistan Society and their guests. Please note: numbers are limited.
RSVP: by email only please to:

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We have been offered a private tour of this fabulous Grade 1 Victorian building. In brief, the tour will include the magnificent, richly decorated Durbar Court, the India Office Council Chamber, the Locarno Suite and the exuberant triple-height grand staircase.

Although the first-ever Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs was appointed in March 1782, but the first purpose-built Foreign Office was not begun until 1861. The well-known architect George Gilbert Scott was responsible for the overall classical design, in partnership with Matthew Digby Wyatt, the India Office’s Surveyor. Lack of money during post -1945 austerity Britain and distaste for anything Victorian saw the former grandeur reduced to squalor, and many of the fine areas were lost from sight behind false ceilings and plasterboard partitions. In the 1960s, as part of the plans for a new Whitehall, it was decided to demolish Scott’s buildings and to erect new offices on the same site. Fortunately lack of money and public outcry led to the offices being designated as Grade 1 and then to a rolling programme of lavish restoration. After two decades of work, not only have the glorious fine rooms and public spaces been brought back to life but also produced 25% extra usable space – which houses many of the 1,200 staff – for far less than the cost of demolition and rebuilding. It was originally conceived as ‘a kind of national palace or drawing room for the nation’, to impress foreign visitors. It certainly continues to do so.

Wednesday, 13 December, 2017

St-Thomas-in-TaxillaSt Thomas in Taxila – an illustrated talk by Serena Fass

Time: 6.00pm with the talk at 6.30pm
Venue: The High Commission for Pakistan, 36 Lowndes Square, London SW1X 8JN.
Admission: This event is open to Members of The Pakistan Society and their guests.
RSVP: Please ensure that you register your attendance via the website for security and catering purposes. If in doubt email:


Please note: You may book only for yourself, your spouse and two further guests or yourself and three guests (maximum of four in total). You will be asked to fill in the name of the person each place is for, including your own. You will receive an email confirmation of your places but no physical tickets will be issued.

If you wish to bring more guests please email:

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There has long been evidence that St Thomas, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, travelled from Jerusalem via Persia to Taxila, as well as to other places in the south of the sub-continent. In this talk, Serena Fass will concentrate on the three years in the middle of the 1st century AD when it is said that St Thomas was in Taxila. Here, she explains, he was a guest of the Zoroastrian King Gondolpheres and, among other things, he built a palace for the King.

The plausibility of St Thomas being in Taxila is not the same as absolute proof, but there is more than just tradition to substantiate his presence there, including a 1st-century coin found in the excavations at Taxila, which bears the likeness and name of the King in Aramaic script, the language of Judea. A ‘St Thomas’ cross was discovered in Sirkap, near Taxila, which also dates from the 1st century, and a contemporary manuscript, The Acts of Saint Thomas, discovered in Syria in the early 19th-century, corroborates the story of Thomas’s arrival in Taxila. As the highly-respected historian and broadcaster, Professor Michael Wood, says, ‘this is a literally amazing story.’

Serena Fass has been studying and researching the life and times of Jesus, and the spread of early Christianity, for many years; she is the author of three books on the subject, including her most recent one, In the footsteps of St Thomas, for which she travelled extensively in Pakistan, and for which Michael Wood wrote the introduction.

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