During his meeting with Grand National Assembly of Turkey Speaker of Cemil Cicek at the Presidency on Wednesday, Zardari described Pakistan and Turkey as vibrant democracies and said the parliaments of the two countries and their members could play a critical role in strengthening and deepening the special relationship.
Cemil Cicek was accompanied by assembly members including Ozlem Yemisct, Burhan Kayaturk and Oktay Ozturk besides Turkish Ambassador in Pakistan Mustafa Babar Hizlan and other officials.
Speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza, Secretary General to President Salman Faruqui, Presidential Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar, Senator Sughra Imam and other officials were also present during the meeting.
The president expressed the hope that the visit would deepen the friendship between the two parliaments and the countries. He said it was a matter of great pleasure to note that Pak-Turk Friendship Group is the largest in Turkish Grand National Assembly.
Zardari said the evolving democracies throughout the world could learn a lot from the experience of Turkey in democratic evolution.
The president said frequent exchanges of parliamentary delegations between Pakistan and Turkey would provide an opportunity to learn from each other and work together for strengthening of democracies and democratic institutions.
He also mentioned important legislative measures undertaken by the Pakistani Parliament to strengthen democracy and democratic institutions, which included restoration of 1973 Constitution to its original form, 18th Amendment, devolving executive and legislative powers to the provinces, introduction of wide-ranging reforms in Gilgit-Baltistan and Federally Administered Tribal Areas, steps taken for safeguarding the rights of minorities, and legislative measures to introduce democratic culture in the governance pattern making it more transparent and all-inclusive.
Discussing bilateral relations, the president said the Turkish leadership was held in great esteem among the people of Pakistan.
Referring to Prime Minister Erdogan’s recent address to the Pakistani Parliament, the President said that his address was widely appreciated as frank and sincere advice from the leader of a brotherly country.
He said the people of Pakistan deeply appreciated the role of Turkish leadership in further strengthening historical relations between the two countries.
“We greatly admire giant strides that Turkey has made on the road to socio-economic progress under its visionary leadership. People-centric policies and the welfare agenda pursued by the Turkish leadership have made a qualitative impact in improving the lives of citizens in Turkey and Pakistan was keen to learn from the Turkey’s experience,” the president added. Zardari also reiterated the proposal to declare 2013 as “Turkey Year” in Pakistan and “Pakistan Year” in Turkey.
Cemil Cicek thanked the president for the warm welcome extended to him and his delegation and reiterated the desire of the Turkish leadership to further deepen and broaden the relationship between the two countries.