ISLAMABAD: Chairman Senate’s Defence Committee Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said here Wednesday that robust and special bond of friendship between Pakistan and Turkey was nurtured by expression of solidarity of its founding fathers even before Pakistan came into being.
He was speaking at a simple ceremony organized by Turkish ambassador to Pakistan S. Babur Girgin at the embassy to mark 100 years centenary of Canakkale Martyrs Day whose brave fight had forced invading French and British navies to beat retreat during the First World War(1914-18).
Turkish stiff resistance to the invading troops had sunk French and British ships.
General Rashad Mahmood, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee was the chief guest on the occasion and the ceremony was attended among others by ambassadors and elite of the city.
March 18 is marked every year in Turkey as Canakkale Martyrs Day to pay tribute to the soldiers who fought and died at the Straits of Dardanelles in the battle of Gallipoli during the First World War in which 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians were killed.
It was during the First World War in which Pakistanis travelled to Turkey to fight alongside their Turkish brethren whose services were also eulogized by the Turkish ambassador in his brief remarks on the occasion.
The participants on the occasion observed one minute silence in memory of these martyrs and offered special prayers for the departed souls. Some of the relatives of Pakistanis who went to Turkey to fight along Turks were also present on the occasion.
Mushahid reminded the select gathering attending the ceremony that South Asian Muslims support to Ottoman Empire predated the creation of Pakistan. He referred to a fund raising campaign by the poet of the East Allama Muhammad Iqbal from the historic Badshahi mosque Lahore in 1912 for backing the Ottoman Empire.
He said the father of the nation Quaid-e- Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and architect of the modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk were the two great Muslim leaders who lived in the 20th century.
He said when Ataturk passed away in 1938; Jinnah had urged the Muslims to celebrate Kemal Ataturk Day in India as the former regarded him as one of the greatest sons of Islam.
Pakistan had a track record of supporting Muslims in the world and had been in the forefront of expressing its solidarity with their cause as it did with Turkish brethren, Bosnians, Palestinians, people of Tunisia and Algeria when they were struggling for liberation.
Referring to the Ramadhan War between Egypt and Israel in 1973, Mushahid said Pakistani pilots had shot down two Israeli fighter planes.
During the Bosnian war when Serbs were persecuting Muslims in Bosnia, Pakistan had extended material support to Bosnian Muslims.
Mushahid said when he met the late first president of Bosnia Herzegovina Alija Izetbegovic during a visit to Bosnia, he had presented him a book Islam between East and West authored by Izetbegovic.
This book was dedicated by Izetbegovic to Allama Iqbal.
In his brief remarks in Urdu, Turkish ambassador to Pakistan Babur Girgin surprised the guests and delved on historical links and existing solidarity between Pakistan and Turkey since days of the Ottoman Empire.
He mentioned by name those Pakistanis who went to Turkey during the First World War to fight alongside the Turkish soldiers.
The ambassador said when Pakistan was struck by devastating quake in 2005, two Turkish nationals who were busy in helping the victims died in quake-hit areas whom he considered martyrs the same way, many Pakistanis went to turkey hundred years back to fight on the side of Turks and embraced martyrdom.