One of Turkey’s finest actors and now a sensation in Pakistan, Engin Altan Duzyatan met three terminally ill Pakistani children via video link this week. Known for his leading role as Esrtrugul in Turkish series Diriliş: Ertuğrul, which became popular worldwide, the actor has amassed a huge following globally. He is now going on to do bigger and better things with his fame.
Pakistan’s Make A Wish Foundation arranged the event in Karachi which was attended by the Turkish Consul General Tolga Ucak and prominent Pakistani actors. The foundation grants one wish of children who are suffering from fatal diseases. Fizza Khuda Baksh, 14, Sidra Khan, 15, and Sohail Umer,16, had wished to meet Altan.“I am touched by the love and affection from Pakistan and especially from Make-A-Wish children,” Altan said while speaking with the children. He said he will soon visit Pakistan to meet his “Pakistani brothers and sisters”.
His television series is based on the life and times of the 13th-century Muslim Oghuz Turk leader Ertugrul, and has taken Pakistan by storm after the country’s state-run Pakistan Television (PTV) aired it in April this year. “I saw your drama on PTV which is lovely and telling us the Islamic history and how our heroes fought for Islam,” Umer said while speaking with the actor on video call. Meanwhile, Khuda Baksh said, “I wished to speak and meet you and today my dream was fulfilled by Make-A-Wish”. Altan promised the children to visit Pakistan soon.
The Turkish series has often been referred to as the Turkish version of Game of Thrones and outlines the history surrounding 13th century Anatolia; while telling the story prior to the establishment of the Ottoman Empire. It illustrates the struggle of Ertugrul Gazi, father of the empire’s first leader.
For the video call, the children wore traditional Turkish outfits from the historical play and also presented a gift of sword to the Turkish star, as per the theme of his super hit drama serial. The gift was received by the Turkish consul general on behalf of the actor.Speaking on the occasion, Ishtiaq Baig, organiser and founder of Make-A-Wish Pakistan, said that people of Pakistan consider Engin Altan as their own hero. “Your kind gesture of meeting these children is commendable, which shows that you are not only a great actor but also a great human being,” he said.
He went on to add that Engin is so popular in Pakistan that even if he stood for an election, he would most certainly have won. The theme song of Ertugrul Ghazi was also presented by Make-A-Wish volunteers on the occasion.
Notable personalities were in attendance of the event including Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani and Pakistani artists including Aftab Imam, Humayun Saeed, Zeba Bakhtiar, Ayesha Omar, Nadeem Baig and Make-A-Wish trustees: Justice (retd) Ashraf Jahan, Dr Ikhtiar Baig, Najia Ashraf, Dr Farhan Essa and families of Make-A-Wish children and volunteers.