UPDATE - Pakistani Embassy in Türkiye marks 76th Independence Day

UPDATE - Pakistani Embassy in Türkiye marks 76th Independence Day

Pakistan, a thriving nation of over 240M people, is an important member of international community, says country’s ambassador

By Zehra Nur Duz and Seda Sevencan

ANKARA (AA) – The Pakistani Embassy in Türkiye marked the South Asian nation’s 76th Independence Day at an event in the capital Ankara.

Addressing the event, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Türkiye Yousaf Junaid said Monday’s “landmark” event marks the “culmination of a long and arduous democratic struggle by Muslims of the subcontinent for a separate homeland.”

“Now it is our responsibility to live up to the ideals of our founding leaders and play our role in the sustainable and inclusive development of the country,” Junaid said.

He also called for an end to the “atrocities in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.”

“Consistent with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the final disposition of Jammu and Kashmir must be carried out in accordance with the will of the Kashmiri people, by allowing them the right to self-determination – thereby ending one of the longest global disputes on the agenda of the UN,” he said.

Speaking on relations between Pakistan and Türkiye, which he said are based on “brotherhood,” he added: “It is a heart-to-heart relationship that transcends the boundaries of time and geography.”

The two nations have always stood by and supported each other at all times and will continue to do so, he said.

Bridges on the Istanbul Strait linking Asia with Europe will be illuminated in the colors of Pakistan’s flag this evening to mark the occasion.

On Aug. 14, 1947, the independent state of Pakistan appeared on the world stage for the first time when the Indian subcontinent was formally divided into two new dominions of India and Pakistan under the terms of the Indian Independence Act adopted by the British parliament.

The Muslims’ proposal to establish a separate state was accepted on March 23, 1940.

- People-to-people contacts to boost relations with Türkiye

In an effort to help boost ties with Türkiye, a group of three Pakistani expats made a weeklong trip, meeting local Turkish people and helping to establish links between universities.

Istanbul-based Yasir Naeem Qureshi, US-based Agha Adeel Saadat and UK-based Mian Sajjad Mahmood in a joint effort toured many cities in Türkiye, meeting locals to help do their part to strengthen the historic relations between the two nations.

“People-to-people connectivity is a must, and our aim of touring across Türkiye was to start building friendship on a people-to-people basis,” Saadat told Anadolu.

“It is to find commonalities among the two peoples to establish organic…grassroots-level camaraderie,” he said. “We spent a day with a Turkish family in Ordu, and it was quite a different experience.”

The trio also visited Ankara University in the capital city as well as 19 Mayis University in Samsun province along the Black Sea coast. They also visited central Konya province and other cities.

Saadat said his team is working with universities in Pakistan to establish IT and research-based exchange programs.

“We are working with 19 Mayis University and Ghulam Ishaq Khan University in the first phase,” he said.

He added that tourism presented a good opportunity for the two countries to expand economic relations.

- Deep-rooted relationship between Türkiye, Pakistan

The Consulate General of Pakistan in Istanbul also organized an event on the occasion of Independence Day.

The occasion commenced with Pakistani singers who performed songs in Urdu and continued with the national anthems of Türkiye and Pakistan.

In an address at the event, Ambassador Junaid delved into the historical backdrop of Pakistan's independence and discussed the profound reasoning behind its creation in 1947.

Addressing the challenges faced by the newly independent Pakistan, he noted that despite limited resources and a nascent infrastructure, the nation under the leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah embarked on a journey of progress and development. He highlighted Pakistan's achievements in various fields, from science and medicine to literature and culture, showcasing the nation's resilience and commitment to growth.

Turning his focus to international relations, the ambassador underscored the foundational principles of Pakistan's foreign policy, emphasizing “cordial and friendly relations” with all nations. He also drew attention to the ongoing issue of Kashmir, describing the historical context and the tragic human rights abuses being committed in the region.

The ambassador recounted the historical connection dating back to the Mughal Empire, which had sown the seeds of cultural similarities between the two nations.

“So this was a very deep rooted relationship,” he added.

He also expressed his heartfelt gratitude for Türkiye's unwavering support, particularly during times of crisis, citing instances where Pakistan stood by Türkiye.

Acknowledging the exceptional camaraderie between Pakistan and Türkiye, he noted that their relationship extended far beyond the realms of diplomacy and friendship.

“I think Pakistan and Türkiye have a relationship which goes beyond the annals of normal diplomacy and friendship, because that is based on equality and brotherhood.”

Haydar Ali Yildiz, the mayor of Beyoglu district, highlighted the profound solidarity that unites the two countries in both challenging and joyous times.

Yildiz's speech exuded optimism about the future, asserting that the already robust relationship will continue to flourish.

*Riyaz ul Khaliq contributed to this report from Istanbul

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