Erdogan in Pakistan: Of speeches and bloopers

Published: May 24, 2012

Recently, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan addressed a joint session of the Pakistani Parliament for the second time in four years. In his speech, he took the opportunity to offer his condolences for the Siachen tragedy, discuss bilateral trade, economic cooperation and generally about the strong bond of friendship between Pakistan and Turkey.

The premier also had something to say about the role of opposition parties, commenting that opposition parties exist to reform the government, not to kick it out. Mr Erdogan also talked about the very important role of the Parliament and finally, lauded Pakistan for upholding democracy.

In short, a well worded speech covering a wide range of topics.

Fortunately, our own politicians never fail to disappoint; Gilani’s started out good enough; he called Mr Erdogan’s address a milestone in the Pak-Turk relationship and about how the friendship between the two countries was very old. And then, in true Pakistani prime minister spirit, he started talking about the Khilafat Movement!

Yes, about the Khilafat Movement, whose sole purpose was to keep a man whom the Turks did not like, in power. The abolition of the Caliphate was an extremely important event in the formation of a modern Turkish nation from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire. You would think that the Pakistani prime minister would have the good sense not to use the Khilafat Movement as an example of how old the Pak-Turk relationship is, especially considering that Pakistan did not even exist at that time and our founding father Muhammad Ali Jinnah was hardly happy about the Khilafat Movement.

But then again, what else can the nation expect from Mr Gilani?

Chaudhry Nisar was hardly better, pointing out to Erdogan immediately that the opposition was in the Parliament because of him (how lovely!). He then proceeded to talk about how Pakistan was facing problems from all sides instead of talking about Pakistan and Turkey and using the opportunity to properly welcome Mr Erdogan.

Other than this, I think Gilani is a little confused about where Erdogan stands; Gilani called Turkey a role model for the Muslim world in democracy, forgetting, it seems that Turkey is strictly secular, something not acceptable to most Muslim nations.

Personally, I’m all for following Turkey’s example, but it seems at little strange to call someone your role model when you don’t accept their ideology. Watch the video and you’ll see for yourself!

Muhammad Hassan

Muhammad Hassan

A student of A-Levels at Beaconhouse. He tweets @MHassan02

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.