ISLAMABAD - Terming strong democratic system in Pakistan a key to the solution to the domestic problems as well as stabilising factor for regional peace, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Monday said the real role of the opposition was not to criticise the government, merely for the sake of criticism, but to point out the ills that need to be corrected.He said there was a heavy responsibility on the nation’s parliamentarians, who were already striving hard for strengthening democracy and resolving longstanding problems faced by the masses.Addressing the joint sitting of the Parliament for a second time, a rare distinction for any foreign dignitary, Erdogan said a strong democratic system in Pakistan could lead to an equally strong economic system that could benefit its people.Citing the example of his country, Erdogan said democracy had a long history of struggle and the way to achieve the goal was neither easy nor simple, as it always required a persistent struggle. He was all praise for the Pakistani parliamentarians the way they were effectively playing their role to make the country strong, stable and prosperous.In his 40 minutes extempore address in Turkish language, Erdogan, “It is for the young generation of the country to come forward and participate in the national democratic process to make the system strong,” he added.The Turkish prime minister, while referring to the deep historic ties between the two countries that have withstood the test of times, vowed to stand by Pakistan through thick and thin and to work together to further deepen their multifaceted ties.He said Pakistan was Turkey’s deep and old friend and he felt extreme satisfaction in addressing the joint sitting for the second time. He extended greetings to the entire Pakistani nation from the people and the Government of Turkey.He also prayed to Allah Almighty for the 138 army personnel who were trapped under an avalanche.Erdogan said the people of Turkey had always stood by their Pakistani brethren. “We share your sorrows and joys and our relationship is an example to be followed by the world.”Erdogan said the people of Turkey could never ever forget the role played by the Pakistani nation, who even starved to join in the struggle for the liberation of the Turk people. The relationship of deep friendship and respect was unprecedented, he added“I feel completely at home when I am in Pakistan. It’s like being back in the family,” he added.He was appreciative of the close ties that have evolved between the two countries over the years and recalled the frequent high-level exchanges that have taken between the two countries.He hoped the High Level Cooperation Council, which is meeting today (Tuesday), would further strengthen trade and commercial ties between the two countries. He said the series of meetings in that regard had been fruitful and stressed enhancing their air, sea and land links for mutual benefit.He was also hopeful that the defence cooperation between the two countries was strong and said people-to-people contacts and ties at the level of their business communities and youth would be beneficial for the two people.Erdogan also noted the huge sacrifices rendered by Pakistan, while combatting terrorism in the recent years. “We understand your pain and will continue to stand by you in the days ahead.”He assured that Turkey and Pakistan would stand together in the fight against terrorism. The Turkish Prime Minister referred to the trilateral arrangement among Pakistan, Turkey and Afghanistan and said the three countries would continue to jointly work for regional peace.He recalled the earthquake of 2005 and the floods of 2010 and 2011, when he had personally witnessed the large-scale devastations, and said his country was closely working with Pakistan in the rehabilitation work and would continue cooperation till its completion. He said the people and the Government of Turkey were not paying lip-service, but they had practically helped their Pakistani brethren.Erdogan, however, regretted the state of things in the Muslim countries. He mentioned the situation in Yemen, Egypt, Palestine and Tunis and stressed the need for unity and determination to confront the challenges it was facing.Later, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in his vote of thanks welcomed the Turkish counterpart and Erdogan’s address to the joint sitting of the Parliament another milestone in the long and glorious journey of amity.Referring to the role of Muslims of this region in the Caliphate Movement much before the creation of the Pakistan in 1947, Gilani said the people of both the countries were embedded in a unique relationship of brotherhood and immutable friendship.He also referred to the spiritual relations between the people of two brotherly Islamic states because of the nearness between Allama Mohammad Iqbal and Rumi whom the former considered as his spiritual leader and also read a couplet from the poetry of Allama Iqbal translation: “Saint Rumi has changed my earth into an elixir and out of my dust has produced many splendours.”Recalling his address to the Grand Turkish National Assembly in December 2010, Gilani said it was the great honour for him.He said Pakistan appreciated the way Turkey had emerged as the modern society while retaining the distinct features of its glorious culture and heritage under the charismatic and wise leadership of Prime Minister Erdogan.He further said Turkey had emerged as a role model for the Islamic World in terms of the recent political and constitutional reforms, which have helped in strengthening democracy and harmonizing roles of the state institutions. We are keen to learn from the experience of our Turkish brothers in every field.The premier also referred to the cooperation between the two states in various fields and referred to the historic joint political declaration on “Intensified Cooperation and the Establishment of the High Level Cooperation Council (HLCC) in Islamabad on 25th October 2009.“This initiative has given a new impetus to cooperation in diverse fields. Last year, our bilateral trade crossed the $1 billion mark. We are endeavouring to reach the target of $ 2 billion by the end of this year. The Currency Swap Agreement signed in November last year is a major step in this direction,” he added. In her welcoming address, Speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza said Pakistan and Turkey were strongly tied in religious, spiritual, cultural and linguistic links as both were cast in the same mould.“Our combined history bears witness that we have stood shoulder-to-shoulder in thick and thin, ups and downs and joys and despair.”She said the founding fathers of both states shared similar vision of global peace, liberalism and all-inclusive democratic values.Fehmida said Pakistan’s Parliament had keenly followed the Turkish premier’s initiative of trilateral dialogue in which its members had also regularly participated.“We can never forget that in response to this humanitarian crisis, Turkey launched the largest aid campaign in its modern history,” she said.