ANKARA, 14 August 2016:  The 70th Independence Day of Pakistan was commemorated today in Ankara with traditional fervor. The Ambassador of Pakistan, Sohail Mahmood, hoisted the national flag on the tune of national anthem in presence of the Pakistani community, students, Turkish guests and Embassy officials and their families.

The special messages of the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan were read out on the occasion.

In his remarks on the occasion, Ambassador Sohail Mahmood paid rich tributes to the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the sacrifices of our forefathers, which made the creation of Pakistan a reality despite heavy odds. He emphasized that it was our duty to safeguard this independence at all costs and bequeath a better Pakistan to the next generation. He said that the Quaid had envisioned Pakistan to be an economically strong, democratic, modern welfare state. There was no place for extremism and terrorism in the tolerant and moderate polity the Quaid visualized. We saluted the sacrifices of our valiant security forces, who were sacrificing their today for a secure Pakistan tomorrow, through the operation Zarb-e-Azab.

The Ambassador added that this year’s Independence Day was also being commemorated at a time when atrocities by the security forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir were touching new heights. Recent phase of popular resistance had commenced with Burhan Wani’s martyrdom on 8 July.  Excessive force was being used against innocent civilians including children, women and elderly and even harassment of doctors was going on, adversely affecting provision of medical services to the wounded. While the world community was watching these developments, conscientious voices against this oppression were also being raised. The Ambassador thanked the Turkish people and government for condemnation of this violence and for stressing the need for dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the Kashmir dispute.

While referring to the 15 July attempted coup in Turkey, Ambassador Sohail Mahmood said that the Pakistani leadership and its people were among the first to condemn it and to stand in strong support and solidarity with President Erdogan, the elected government, Parliament and democratic institutions of Turkey. He said Pakistan was the first country be visited by Turkish Foreign Minister after the coup attempt, where he thanked Pakistan for showing strong support for Turkey.

Ambassador Sohail Mahmood added that Pakistan-Turkey relations were being further strengthened in the economic and defence arenas. He updated the guests about the progress made on Pakistan-Turkey Free Trade Agreement (FTA). He also underscored the importance of growing cultural collaboration and informed that more than 1500 Pakistani students were pursuing higher studies at leading Turkish Universities. The Ambassador also underscored the key role that the Pakistan community was playing for promoting Pakistan-Turkey relations in various domains.

The Students of Pakistan Embassy School (PEISG) in Ankara presented special performance composed of milli songs. Afterwards, flanked by Pakistani children, Ambassador Sohail Mahmood cut the Independence Day cake.

Event’s photographs are attached, more from the link