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Nisar asks Erdogan to bridge gap between Muslims, West

22 May, 2012

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ISLAMABAD: Opposition leader in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Monday requested Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to play his role in bridging the gap between Islamic world and Western countries.

"It is the right time that you take a lead and convince the Western world to respect Muslims, their culture and traditions," Nisar told the joint session of parliament in which Erdogan also addressed. Islamic countries, he said were confronting severe challenges, including terrorism, militancy and economic crisis.

Terming Turkey a true friend of Pakistan, the opposition leader said the West had always given due regards to its points of view.

Welcoming Erdogan, the opposition leader said that he (the prime minister) was visiting at a time when Pakistan was facing a difficult time not only at home, but also on the international level.

"We are confronting political differences in Pakistan and we the opposition party not attending parliament sessions for the last couple of days, but today we are sitting in the House only because of you (Erdogan)," he said.

Nisar said, "During the last 60 years, every government, including non-democratic, tried its best to enhance friendship with Turkey, which always remained a time-tested friend of Pakistan. However, during your tenure the relationship between Pakistan and Turkey has reached its highest peak. We take pride in your country's success. Pakistan has a lot of friends but positive response always came from Turkey first, whether it is earthquake or flood in Pakistan," he said.

Talking on behalf of the people of Pakistan, he said that people loved him, and that Turkish leadership was a close ally of Pakistan. In her welcome address, National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza said, "This is the second time that this House is enlightened by your wisdom and your visionary thoughts.

Your Excellency now becomes the only foreign dignitary in our parliamentary history to have addressed parliament of Pakistan twice.

It is indeed an evidence of the combined confidence and respect of our people in your leadership and it amplifies the closeness of the bonds of friendship between our two countries." She said Pakistan and Turkey were nations cast in the same mould.

They were strongly tied together in religious, spiritual, cultural and linguistic links. "Our combined history bears witness that we have stood shoulder-to-shoulder in thick and thin, ups and downs and joys and despairs," she said.

Pakistan has been passing through difficult times and this House has dealt with several challenges in this regard by providing the executive policy guidelines through numerous unanimous resolutions.

"At such critical juncture, your address to this House is of utmost importance to us. We, therefore, look forward to seeking valuable advice from you on issues, concerning global peace," she said.

Earlier, members of parliament accorded warm welcome to the Turkish prime minister on his arrival to the joint sitting.

The members, led by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, welcomed the Turkish prime minister with applause and desk thumping.


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