Shehbaz Sharif to depart for Turkiye today

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will depart for Turkiye on Thursday (today) on a two-day visit to “personally convey heartfelt condolences” over the loss of precious lives caused by the massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Turkiye and neighbouring Syria on Feb 6, the Foreign Office said.

In a press release, the FO said the premier — during his stay in the capital Ankara — will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to “personally convey heartfelt condolences on behalf of the entire Pakistani nation over the loss of precious lives and the widespread damage caused by the earthquake”.

The prime minister will visit earthquake-affected areas in southern Turkiye and interact with the Pakistani search and rescue teams deployed in the area as well as survivors of the earthquake.

Terming the trip a “special gesture of solidarity and support with the people of Turkiye”, the FO said the premier would “reiterate Pakistan’s firm commitment to stand by the Turkish people during these difficult times and to continue extending all possible support to the ongoing relief effort”.

Recalling aid provided by Pakistan in the form of relief items and rescue teams, the FO said the premier had assured Erdogan “of all possible assistance for the rescue and relief effort”.

“All available resources have been fully mobilized to help our Turkish brothers and sisters. The prime minister is personally overseeing the relief effort,” it added.

The FO asserted: “Pakistan and Türkiye enjoy deep fraternal ties. Our two countries have resolutely stood by each other during every trial and tribulation.”

The premier announced his visit in a tweet today as well, saying: “True to the spirit of one nation living in two states, we consider their loss as ours.”

In an apparent reference to the catastrophic floods that Pakistan experienced last year during the monsoon season, Shehbaz said, “Natural disasters, [such] as the earthquake in Turkiye & Syria, are beyond the capacity of any single government to handle.

“No country, howsoever resourceful, can deal with devastation of this magnitude. It is time the world came forward & extended support to the suffering humanity.”

Prime Minister Shehbaz’s visit had been scheduled for Feb 8 previously but was postponed on the day of departure, citing the ongoing relief efforts in Turkiye as the reason.

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