Pakistan grateful to Turkish nation for historic support – Pak Envoy

ANKARA, October 31: The support provided by the people and leadership of Turkey for mitigating the sufferings of food affectees of Pakistan is unprecedented and the people and Government of Pakistan will never forget this historic support. Pakistan’s Ambassador to Turkey, H.E. Mr. Tariq Azizuddin said this at a fund-raiser (Meena Bazar) organized by Türkiye-Pakistan Gönül Köprüsü Platformu at Ankara on Saturday.
Türkiye-Pakistan Gönül Köprüsü Platformu is an umbrella organization of Turkish NGOs working for the flood affectees of Pakistan.
The Ambassador commended that Turkey was the first country which had started building pre-fabricated home villages for the affectees in disaster hit cities including Nowshera and Muzaffargarh.
“Our friendship is deep rooted in history and culture,” said Mr. Tariq Azizuddin. “Turkey is always at the forefront of international efforts whenever Pakistan was hit by a disaster. Other nations and countries have also provided assistance, but the spirit and dedication of Turkish people has no parallel,” he added.
President of the Platform Mr. Burhan Kayaturk who is also President of the Turkish-Pakistan Friendship Association, and Mr. Osman Arslan, Secretary General of the Platform also addressed the gathering.
A music concert by famous Turkish artist Hasan Sağındık was also part of the grand show. A documentary highlighting the scale of flood disaster was also shown to the audience.

Recalling the Black Day of Kashmir

 Recalling the Black Day of Kashmir   By Momin Iftikhar
October 27, each year, is remembered as the Black Day across the length and breadth of Pakistan and the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir for the reason that on this inauspicious day the Indian occupational forces landed in Srinagar that started a chain reaction of events, which has continued to haunt the subcontinent to this very day.
On this day, in 1947, the festering tragedy of Kashmir was born; an act of aggression that has consigned the prospects of normalising the Indo-Pak relations to the realm of perpetual animosity, which has already led to two wars, in addition to the Kargil skirmishes of 1999.
Even when the partition of India and Pakistan had been formalised and announced on August 14, the princely State of Jammu and Kashmir - ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh - remained in a state of limbo. It was one of the 584 princely states, which - with the lapse of paramountcy of the British Crown in August - had to make the choice of acceding either to India or Pakistan. Kashmir’s predominantly Muslim population, their contiguity to Pakistan and the layout of major communication infrastructure made its accession to Pakistan a natural corollary of the unfolding events. However, given Nehru’s pathological fixation over Kashmir, strengthened by Lord Mountbatten’s machinations, this was not to be.
The invasion of Kashmir was on the cards, even as the boundary between India and Pakistan was being carved out through an award by Sir Cyril Radcliffe. When the Boundary Award was announced its most controversial decision dealt with the awarding of the Gurdaspur district to India, despite its Muslim majority and contiguity to the Pakistani territory. It is now certain that Nehru by manipulating his intimate contacts with Lord Mountbatten contrived through the Boundary Award to provide a land route to India for its ultimate occupation of Kashmir. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph on February 1992, Radcliffe’s Secretary, Christopher Beaumont, confirmed that the Boundary Award was manipulated by Mountbatten at the behest of Nehru. Developing the Gurdaspur access enabled India to effectively link up with the Kashmir Valley through a land route and be able to support large-scale operations in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
Nehru now sought two politico-military objectives: First, to force the Maharaja to sign an instrument of accession and secondly to wrest Kashmir by force. The plan envisaged that if the situation threatened to spiral out of control, legal niceties could be set aside and troop landing could proceed regardless of other factors. As it was, the landing of the Indian forces in Srinagar on October 27, 1947, took place without the signing of any instrument of accession. On that fateful day, the State of Jammu and Kashmir existed in the same constitutional limbo of insecure independence that it had enjoyed since the partition of India, following the lapse of the British paramountcy.
As October progressed, the public unrest and communal strife paralysed the Maharaja’s administration. There was a rebellion in the state forces, which revolted against Hari Singh’s authority. More so, they were also joined by some pathan tribesmen voluntarily. The Indians started a propaganda campaign to un-nerve the Maharaja by projecting this local threat as a systematic invasion by the tribesmen from Pakistan along the Jhelum Valley Road.
As the situation in Jammu and Kashmir deteriorated, Lord Mountbatten, as Governor General of India, called a meeting of the Defence Committee to assess the situation on October 25. The committee, under his chairmanship decided to immediately send V. P. Menon, along with senior army and air force commanders to land in Srinagar the same day, reconnoitre the ground situation and advise the Maharaja to abandon Srinagar for the safety of Jammu across the Banihal pass.
Mountbatten also ordered the British Commander of the Indian forces to assemble a fleet of 10 transport aircraft for an airlift operation after 48 hours for landing troops in Srinagar. Menon’s visit of October 25 so unnerved the Maharaja that he packed all his valuables and left for Jammu by road in the morning of October 26, without signing any instrument of accession. Mountbatten chaired another meeting of the Defence Committee on October 26 and ordered the landing of the first battalion of the Sikh regiment in Srinagar on October 27, even though no evidence exists of any instrument of accession having been secured thus far. On the same day, at about 0900 hours, the Sikh regiment was airlifted from Gurgaon and landed at the deserted Srinagar Airport.
The State of Pakistan, struggling to find its feet in its infancy, was stunned by the Indian aggression. So on October 27, Quaid-i-Azam asked General Douglas Gracey, acting Commander in Chief, to send the Pakistani troops to Kashmir. But the General refused, saying that he would need the approval of Field Marshal Claude Auchinleck, who held supreme command over the Indian and Pakistani forces.
Auchinleck flew to Lahore on October 28 with the line that sending the Pakistan army into Kashmir would amount to a formal declaration of war and that if Pakistan went to war he would withdraw all the British officers serving in the Pak Army. It was many months after that Pakistan was able to respond militarily in Kashmir, and when the ceasefire occurred on January 1, 1949, the Kashmir issue stood internationalised, by no one other than Nehru, who himself sought to take the matter to the United Nations for resolution and promised to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir.
Thus, in the context of the Indo Pak relations, October 27 truly stands out as a ‘Black Day’, constituting the tragic benchmark that sealed all prospects of peace and prosperity in the subcontinent. Such a monumental crime, however, has extracted from India its price in flesh and blood. Sixty-three years might have passed since the aggression, yet the Indian Held Kashmir has known no peace and the demand for Azadi - loud and strong - is making it impossible for the Indian leadership and its puppets in Kashmir to know any peace.
The writer is a freelance columnist.

Turkish government would consider the proposal of Currency Swap Agreement - Erdogan

Islamabad: October 13, 2010:  Turkish Prime Minister Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on President Asif Ali Zardari at Aiwan-e-Sadr today.
Briefing media Spokesperson to the President Mr. Farhatullah Babar said that the President, during the meeting, reiterated the proposal of upgradation of railway line between the two countries and urged the Turkish Prime Minister to seriously consider the proposal. He said that Pakistan was eager to further enhance mutual cooperation between the two countries for taking maximum advantage of the existing potential of the two countries and to fully translate their equation into a strategic partnership. He said that railway line upgradation project between the two countries was one such step for not only speedy transportation of the cargo but would also open new vistas of opportunities for the people and would contribute towards economic development. The President said that there was a need to urgently evaluate similar projects so that the next step that involves raising finances could be vigorously pursued.
In this context the President also suggested a currency swap agreement between the two countries to facilitate business, trade and commerce.
Mr. Babar said that the President also felicitated Turkish Prime Minister on the vote for a series of democratic measures in the recently held referendum. He hailed the verdict on reform package as a triumph of democracy and democratic processes and recalled recent democratic reform in the shape of 18th Constitutional Amendment in Pakistan.
The President also appreciated Turkish Government’s generous assistance, both in cash and kind, for providing relief to flood-hit people of Pakistan and also its pledge to actively participate in reconstruction and rehabilitation activities for the flood affected people. He said that the Government and people of Pakistan greatly value sensitivity and the support of the Turkish people and government at this hour of distress.
The President said that both the countries need to aim at increasing their trade and investments equations and further cooperate especially in transport, telecommunications, manufacturing, tourism and other industries.
Discussing regional situation, the President said that Turkey has an important role to play for not only bringing in socio-economic development in the region but also for the stability of the region. He said that regional issues can be best addressed by regional powers and finding indigenous solutions.
Prime Minister Erdogan thanked the President for the warm welcome and said that Turkey would continue to support Pakistan and its people at every critical occasion and would actively participate in the reconstruction and rehabilitation phase for the flood affectees.  He said that the Turkish government would consider the proposal of Currency Swap Agreement.

Pakistan grateful to Turkey for generous support - Pakistani Prime Minister

Islamabad: October 13: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has deeply appreciated Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey’s exceptional gesture of solidarity with Pakistan at this critical moment in Pakistan’s history by first sending Madam Erdogan to Pakistan to express the solidarity with the flood victims and then visiting Pakistan at the first available opportunity to be with leadership and people of Pakistan to express his country’s support with them in these difficult times.

During breakfast meeting with the Turkish Premier at Prime Minister’s House this morning, the Prime Minister conveyed the prompt profound gratitude of his government to Prime Minister Erdogan over the very generous and substantial funds raised to the tune of US $ 200 million out of which around $ 126 million were donated by the Turkish business community and ordinary people into his fund for Pakistan’s flood affectees.  He said that government and people of Pakistan were thankful that Turkish Prime Minister, Madam Erdogan and senior government and political leaders had taken upon themselves to organize fund raisers and had made appeals to their people through mosques to donate towards Pakistan flood victims.  He also commended that Turkey was the first country which had started building pre-fabricated home villages for the affectees first in Nowshera and now 2000 homes for 10000 affected people in Muzaffargarh.

The Prime Minister noted with a profound sense of gratefulness that Madam Erdogan, soon after her visit to Pakistan, not only mobilized the international community by writing personal letters to the spouses of the other heads of states and governments but also donated her personal jewellery towards the relief efforts of Pakistan’s flood victims.  He said that his government and people will never forget Turkey’s exceptional support during and aftermath of devastating floods and recalled that Turkey had similar stood by Pakistan in rehabilitation and reconstruction of earthquake affected areas in 2005.

The Prime Minister briefed his Turkish counterpart on the efforts being undertaken by the government in the rehabilitation and recovery phase in the wake of floods. He apprised the Turkish Premier about the establishment of National Oversight Disaster Management Council (NODMC) under the auspices of Council of Common Interests by taking all the stakeholders and provinces on board.  He said that the NODMC has been tasked to ensure that the required resources for the onerous task of rehabilitation and reconstruction are collected and disbursed transparently, efficiently, effectively and equitably.  

Prime Minister stated that the economic impact of the floods is colossal. Though the damage need and assessment report of World Bank and ADB is likely to be issued during this week, the cost of rehabilitation and long term reconstruction is expected to run into tens of billions of dollars, he assessed.  He informed the Turkish Prime Minister that his government had devised a comprehensive strategy to carry on the residual relief activities in the flood affected areas and concurrently moved into early recovery phase.

The Prime Minister said Pakistan would be sharing its national strategy for rehabilitation and reconstruction with the development partners in the forthcoming meeting of Pakistan Development Forum scheduled in the next month.  He said that Pakistan would count on Turkey’s continued support to its national efforts to rebuild lives and properties of its people and was greatly encouraged by Turkey’s offer for getting involved in reconstruction of infrastructure in Pakistan.

While dilating on the fraternal cordial ties between the two countries rooted in centuries old bound of history, culture and religion, the Prime Minister said that his government was determined to build upon on the existing excellent relations with Turkey on the geo-economic advantages and take them to unprecedented level.  He said that both countries should strive through concerted efforts to raise the level of present volume of trade to two billion by 2012 as had already been agreed. He emphasized that the Turkish government should encourage its private sector to collaborate even more closely with their Pakistani counterparts in key sectors like construction, infrastructure, engineering, energy, agriculture, telecommunications, mining and textile etc.  He underlined the need of opening of Turkish Banks branches in Pakistan to facilitate strengthening of present trade and investment ties.

The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of upgrading the rail and road links between the two countries and the running of fast speed cargo trains between Islamabad and Istanbul on regular basis.  He hoped that both the countries will engage with Iran for the early upgradation of rail and road links to fast track this project.

Prime Minister Erdogan expressed his and people of Turkey’s sincere commiserations and sympathies on the worst calamity in the history of Pakistan. He assured the Prime Minister that his government and people would steadfastly stand by their Pakistani brethren during the process of rehabilitation and reconstruction.    He termed the happiness of Pakistani people as the happiness of Turks and their sorrow as the sorrow of Turks.

While discussing the measures for further strengthening of time tested and exceptionally fraternal ties between the two countries, the Prime Minister Erdogan invited his Pakistani counterpart to visit Ankara next month to participate in the Second High Level Cooperation Council Meeting with him to steer their unique partnership for expanded cooperation in multifaceted fields.  He agreed with the Prime Minister that Pakistan alone cannot face this enormous challenge of rehabilitation and long term reconstruction of the devastation caused by massive floods. He hoped that international community will realize the magnitude of economic difficulties faced by Pakistan to meet this challenge.  He reassured the Prime Minister that Turkey on its part would wholeheartedly support and participate in the rehabilitation and long term reconstruction phase particularly in construction of houses, road, rail and power infrastructure.

Amb Soysal calls on Pak PM, Amb Tariq presents cheque of US$1.8 million

ANKARA, October 13: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has assured his Government’s complete support for making Ambassador Rauf Engin Soysal’s assignment a resounding success. Ambassador Soysal, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Assistance to Pakistan called on Mr. Gilani at the Prime Minister’s house in Islamabad, on Tuesday evening.
The Prime Minister welcomed the appointment of Ambassador Soysal and recalled his very fruitful tenure as Ambassador of Turkey from 2007 to 2009. The Prime Minister said his return to Pakistan in the new capacity, was return to his second home.
Ambassador Soysal while handing over a letter from UN Secretary General addressed to the Prime Minister about his appointment said that it was a great honour and privilege for him to be chosen at the recommendations of the Government of Pakistan to be the Special Envoy of UN Secretary General for Assistance to Pakistan. He considered the new assignment as a sacred responsibility and intends doing his best to deliver on the confidence reposed on him by the UN Secretary General and the Government of Pakistan. 
He said, his main focus would be on coordinating efforts of all the relevant UN Agencies for efficient, equitable and transparent use of assistance in relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts of the Government of Pakistan.
Mr. Tariq Azizuddin, Pakistan’s Ambassador also called on Mr. Gilani and presented a cheque of US $ 1.812338 million to the Prime Minister. The amount was raised by the embassy and donation from the people of Turkey and Pakistani community, towards Pakistan Prime Minister’s Flood Relief Fund 2010.
 Mr. Gilani lauded the role of Pakistan Ambassador and Pakistani Embassy at Ankara for their highly commendable campaign for the noble cause of mobilizing relief assistance for the flood affectees. He hoped that Pakistani Diplomatic Missions abroad would work in this regard with the same zeal and dedication.