THE letter ‘Remembering Turkey’ (Nov 27) took me down the memory lane. I encountered similar sentiments of love and respect for Pakistan and its people in another brotherly Muslim country, Malaysia.
During my professional life with merchant vessels, I had the opportunity to visit this remarkable country many a time and always enjoyed the hospitality, love and fondness of Malaysian people towards Pakistanis. I wish to share one such episode.
The ship had berthed on Johar Baru port. After offering my evening prayers in a mosque within the port area, I asked a local coming out of the mosque the direction for a nearby shopping area after introducing myself as being a sailor from Pakistan. Upon hearing the word ‘Pakistan’, he greeted me with genuine affection, offering a free drive to the downtown.
On our way, he offered me to have meals at his house which I politely declined. During our conversation I told him how madly I loved pineapple which is a rare commodity in Pakistan. Next day, when I went for the breakfast in the dining room of the ship, the steward handed me quite a large parcel of pineapples that the very Malaysian had left for me the previous night with a note of wishes and prayers. I felt embarrassed as I did not have his contact information to thank him for his kind gesture.
Also, while at the Pakistan Marine Academy in Karachi. I had quite a few Malaysian cadets there undergoing nautical and engineering education and training. They were apparently people from a different world as they all were first and foremost human beings. Besides, they were highly disciplined and pleasant.
At the passing out ceremony, I remember vividly that almost all the awards and honours had gone to the Malaysians. They were loved and admired by all. Some of them still visit Pakistan and a few of them honour me by being my guests.
Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2020