ISLAMABAD    -   Turkmenistan celebrates its independence from the USSR on 27 October. The ambassador of Turkmenistan and dean of diplomatic corps Atadjan Movlamov hosted an impressive reception to celebrate the 28th anniversary of his country’s independence at a local hotel in Islamabad. The chief guests on the occasion were Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noor Ul Haq Qadri and Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan. Lt. Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Salim Saifullah, Anwar Saifullah, Gohar Ayub Khan, Yaqoob Tabani and Habib Rafique were also among the notable guests.

This glorious event was attended by number of people from different spheres of life including diplomats, ambassadors, businessmen, civilians, army personal and foreign office officials. Ambassadors from Central Asian countries including Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Russian ambassador were sitting on the stage. The participation of a large number of guests at Turkmenistan national day shows that Atadjan Movlamov has worked hard to encourage people to people ties between the two countries.

National anthems of both countries were played and cake was also cut by the guests. The Turkmenistan ambassador and his spouse warmly welcomed all the guests at the entrance of the hall.

The participants exchanged views on various national and international issues but the royal visit was the top topic of discussion. While people appreciated the efforts of both countries to strengthen bilateral relations, one of the participants said it is a best way to promote the soft image of Pakistan to the world. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travel to northern sites has shown the breathtaking beauty of Pakistan alongside the bustling cities. Moreover, it has provided the opportunity to the people of Pakistan to show their love and hospitality.

Maulana Fazal ur Rehman sit-in and march to Islamabad on 27th October was also a topic of discussion among the participants. Everybody was curious to know whether Maulana is allowed to come to Islamabad or would he be stopped from entering the city.

Pakistan Army has always been blessed with great Army personnel from the past to present era. It is ranked 6th among the largest armies of the world. Presently there are 7 Lieutenant Generals in Pakistan Army who belong to 76th PMA long course. From this course many shining stars have emerged including Lt. Gen Wasim Ashraf (Commander Pakistan Army Southern Command), Lt. Gen   Muhammad Adnan (Corp commander Bahawalpur), Lt. Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Lt. Gen Nauman Mehmood (IG C&IT), Lt. Gen  Azhar Abbas (Corps Commander Rawalpindi), and Lt. Gen Faiz Hamid (DG ISI). Lieutenant General Sahir Shamshad Mirza interacted with guests in a very pleasing and friendly manner. He is an outstanding general and is currently serving as Adjutant General (AG) at GHQ and this post is supposed to be very close to the Chief of Army Staff. Gen Mirza has proven his calibre while serving as Vice Chief of General Staff (A) and Director General Military Operations. The credit of his life achievement and accomplishment goes to his untiring efforts and hard work. He climbed the ladder of success professionally through his talent and competence. He is very humble in meeting and dealing with the people which is very outstanding feature of his character.

Russian Ambassador Danila Ganich was present on the stage and sitting next to the host which meant that Turkmenistan ambassador gave the highest protocol to federal minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan who was sitting on his right and the Russian ambassador on his left. Ganich had served in Pakistan twice before, from 1999-2003 and 2007-2013. He is a very active, dynamic and energetic person. It was a pleasant surprise for me to meet the new Russian Ambassador who is an old friend of mine. It seems that during his tenure, the long awaited visit of President Putin would be materialised in future. Being a member of Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Pakistan is strengthening its ties with Russia in a positive direction. Recently, Pakistan-Russia Druzhba 2019 military drills concluded in southern Russia which strengthened defence ties of both countries. In 1990, when I was in Moscow as the representative of Pakistan-Russia friendship association, a Russian intellectual group asked me a question how to promote Pakistan and Russia relations; I replied that it is better to promote the relation among two armed forces. They asked me another question how to start the process of improving the ties between the two countries, I replied that Russia should supply helicopter to Pakistan which materialised later on.

The Dean of The Diplomatic Corps and Turkmenistan Ambassador Atajan Movlamov is the longest serving envoy in Pakistan. He in his remarks said that The Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Gas Pipeline (TAPI) work has already started. This gas pipeline will work for regional integration and prosperity. He further said that negotiation for power transmission line along with gas pipeline is also underway.

Noor ul Haq Qadri is an eminent religious scholar. Whenever I met him I found him very humble. His vision has always inspired me. Noor ul Haq Qadri is an intellectual, knowledgeable and progressive religious scholar. He has a very pleasant and charming personality. He impresses others while interacting with them. He is the right religious scholar in Pakistan to project the soft image of Islam and to counter Islamophobia in the West.

Guests were served with delicious Turkmenistan cuisine which was admired by the guests.