Being in Turkey has always been a matter of joy. Turks love Pakistan and its people, excel in hospitality and make you feel at home. The reception hosted by Turkish Consul General Murat M. Onart at his residence Monday evening, was a mirror image of what you feel while visiting that great country.
It was warm from the word go, till the end, not a moment of respite to escape from that reality. Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Sirajuddin, was the chief guest in his capacity as acting Governor, (Governor Zubair being abroad).
The invitees included a galaxy of luminaries from almost walks of life. A long list of consul generals and diplomats were there, showing the respect and honour for a country, which had protected democracy and human dignity, guarding it jealously since the days of Mustafa Kamal, the Muslim hero who ended kingship and caliphate to introduce democracy in the Muslim world in 1928. Occasionally, the system did receive jolts, but was back on the rails again.
Its recent history where people came on the streets to defy attempts by some adventurous military men will remain as golden chapter in the country’s history.
In a commentary, read out after formal ceremonies of national anthems of Pakistan and Turkey were played, it was emphasized again that Turkey had refused to compromise on its liberty. Onart in brief speech stressed that Turkish was an export-oriented economy.
Its people backed democracy, for Pakistani government and its people too deserved highest appreciation for backing the democratic dispensation when it was in danger of being derailed. Agha Sirajuddin Durrani paid glowing tributes to Turkish leadership and the nation, recalling that Peoples Party founder leader, late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and his illustrious daughter Benazir had always held the country and its people in great esteem. He hoped that postings and transfer was normal with diplomats or civil servants, but hoped that very soon Mustafa Onart will return to Pakistan as ambassador of his country to Islamabad.
Prominent among those gracing the occasion were the consuls general of USA, Grace Shelton, Francoise Dollarso of France, Philippe of Switzerland, Aleksandr G. Khozin of Russian Federation, and his deputy Andrey Federov, the new deputy high commissioner of UK Elin Burns, her number two Steeve Crossman, of Malaysia Ismail Bkri, of Japan Toshikazu Isomura and his lovely wife in traditional Kimono, of Peoples Republic of China, Wang Yu, of Korean Republic Kim Donggi, of Bangla Desh Noor-e-Helal Saifur Rehman, and of Qatar, Oman, Bahrein, acting Consul General of Oman( the Consul General Abdullah Shamsie being out of station), Italy and others.
The business elite included Kalim Farooqui, Nadeem Kazmi, Ambassador (Rtd) Mustafa Kamal Kazi, Bram Avari, his two sons Dinshaw and Xersex, and many more. A delightfui mix of Turkish, Pakistani cuisine was added attraction. It was a great evening.