ISLAMABAD: In a brave gesture, Turkish Ambassador Sadiq Babur Girgin and mission’s armed forces attaché Captain Halil Kepeciouglu hosted a reception to celebrate the Victory Day of his country here at a five-star hotel situated in the heart of the Red Zone in the backdrop of serious threat perception.
Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Asif Sandila was the chief guest on the occasion. The officers belonging to the three services turned up in a large number at the reception, outnumbering the civilian guests. The overall number of the guests was indicative of the esteem the Turkish envoy commands in Pakistan. The guests were seriously perturbed about the situation in the Red Zone and in particular over the gathering of a crowd whose credentials are dubious and somewhat threatening.
The gathering of the crowd was a source of concern for the diplomats since its sit-in is adjacent to the Diplomatic Enclave and it has made their movement almost impossible. They are dispatching reports to their capitals regularly and were surprised that the capital of a nuclear state had become hostage to a few hundred people.
The recent statement of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Mullah Fazlullah about the vulnerability of Islamabad, wherein he has stated that a crowd of 30,000 had crippled the federal capital of Pakistan, was under discussion by the diplomats. The TTP is viewing it as a good example for its future course of action. The diplomats were keen to see an early end of the siege of Red Zone so that they could transact their normal business. Canada’s High Commissioner for Pakistan Gregory Guy Giokas was very candid about the queries regarding Dr Tahirul Qadri who is a Canadian national. While having chat with some guests, he maintained that the Qadri didn’t involve in any such political activities back in Canada where he lived peacefully with his followers. He said that he had been receiving text messages and e-mails in large number against Qadri on daily basis but officially no complaint had been filed pertaining to his activities or about him. The soft spoken high commissioner was of the view that if Qadri was engaged in any activity which was repugnant to the law in Pakistan, the administration was free to take action against him. The Canadian government will not come in it. He said that making sit-in or staging protest was part of normal democratic practice and it could be done outside the Parliament in Canada. He was surprised that Qadri’s Canadian nationality was brought in question despite the fact that he was also a Pakistani national. “He cannot be recalled by Canadian government for any reason.” Indian High Commissioner TCA Raghvan who lives in the Diplomatic Enclave said that he could hear the music and speeches of the sit-ins round the clock but didn’t get disturbed since he was inhabitant of South Delhi’s areas where Hindu temples broadcast ‘Puja’ round the clock through high power amplifier and he was used to it. The Indian high commissioner was impressed about the statement made by Javed Hashmi and termed him as a dignified person. Raghvan said that he had met him once.
The co-host, Captain Halil Kepeciouglu delivered an interesting speech about the bilateral ties of Pakistan and Turkey referring to its one hundred years old history in English but he rendered the translation in Urdu as well that was pleasantly heard by the guests. The guests were also shown the capabilities and maneuverings by the Turkish armed forces on a large screen.