High time for Pak-Turkiye boost strategic cooperation

F.P. Report
KARACHI: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday lauding the leadership role of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said that it was high time for Pakistan and Turkiye to enhance their bilateral strategic cooperation for the prosperity of the two nations.
The prime minister, addressing the launching ceremony of the fourth MILGEM Class Corvette – PNS Tariq here, said the joint venture project was an example of cooperation and support between the two brotherly countries. Earlier, the prime minister and visiting Vice President of Turkiye Cevdet Yilmaz launched the fourth MILGEM warship. Initiated in 2018, the MILGEM project envisages the construction of four Corvettes for the Pakistan Navy – two in Pakistan and two in Turkiye.
The prime minister said Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a great leader which was reflected by his “wonderful” victory in the recent poll. Therefore, the prime minister said it was high time for both countries to enhance their strategic cooperation ad add more joint ventures in other fields. The prime minister earlier attended the launching ceremony of the third Naval Corvette, PNS Khyber, in Istanbul, in November 2022. The first two Corvettes, PNS Babur and PNS Badar were launched in Istanbul and Karachi, in August 2021 and May 2022 respectively.
The MILGEM project represents an enduring symbol of Pakistan-Turkiye collaboration in the maritime domain. It is a tangible step towards self-reliance and indigenization and would fulfill the critical security needs of the Pakistan Navy. The prime minister said that Pakistan and Turkiye were tied with the commonality of faith, heritage and civilisation with both sharing perspectives on regional and global issues. Referring to the tremendous support by the people of the subcontinent during Khilafat Movement, the prime minister said the bilateral ties predated the establishment of Pakistan.
“We celebrate each others’ success stories and also stand together in the face of challenges… This is the level of our relations as we share each others’ bounties and sorrows,” he remarked. The prime minister recalled Turkish President Erdogan and Turkish First Lady’s visit to Pakistan after the floods as well as the generous contribution by the Turkish people for the flood victims of 2010 as well as last year.
The prime minister said that Pakistan Navy was fully dedicated to ensuring the high-quality maritime activities. He said following the increasing burden on Port Qasim of Karachi, Pakistan was needed to create linkages between Karachi and Gwadar ports as Gwadar was about to become a business center for the country as well as the region. Calling the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor a “roaring success” the prime minister said Pakistan and China had agreed to launch the second phase that would comprise green corridor, business corridor, special economic zones and IT corridors.
He said the second phase was bound to increase the quantum of business transactions and Turkiye was a “natural partner” and reiterated his invitation for the country to join that join that wonderful opportunity of prosperity. Prime Minister Shehbaz thanked Turkish President Erdogan, Naval chief, head of Karachi Shipyard and the ministry of defense production as well as the workers for their hard work and contribution to make the MILGEM project a success.
He said that following the said achievements, certain actors were trying to establish their hegemony, so it was important to strengthen our navy and maritime activity. For this purpose, he said the government was fully geared to provide all-out resources to the Pakistan Navy to augment national security. The prime minister also announced a “gift” of Rs200 million for the experts and workers involved in the construction of the MILGEM-IV, with a view to recognize their efforts and for their encouragement.
In his address, Turkish Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz condoled the loss of lives in Bajaur attack and reiterated Turkiye’s condemnation of terrorism in all of its forms and manifestations. He said the people of Pakistan had a unique place in the hearts of Turkish people as both stood by each other throughout the centuries. He particularly mentioned the Turkish support to Pakistan after the flood and thanked Pakistan for its solidarity after the deadly earthquake hit Turkiye in the recent past.
He said considering the prevailing regional situation, the Pakistan-Turkiye defence cooperation was becoming more relevant with enhanced scope. He said that Pakistan and Turkiye were faced with the challenges like Turkiye like cross-border terrorism which necessitated the understanding of the terrorists’ objective and acting totally opposite to their expectations.
The Turkish vice president said Turkiye had become a major global actor and reduced its foreign dependence in the defence industry, consequent to the will and leadership of President Erdogan. He said Turkish shipping industry was among the world’s top ten industries producing the warships. He told the gathering that the MILGEM warships were equipped with cutting edge technology and weapon system developed by Turkish industries.
Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Amjad Khan Niazi said the MILGEM project would become an emblem of the Pakistan-Turkiye friendship. He said both countries stood shoulder to shoulder in hour of need and exemplified the recent flood in Pakistan and earthquake in Turkiye. Highlighting the opportunities of regional connectivity being provided by the CPEC, the Naval chief said the upgradation of Karachi Shipyard would be key to improving Pakistan’s self-reliance, through the government was also striving to develop another shipyard in Gwadar.
He also appreciated the dedication and hard work of the workers and engineers and congratulated al the stakeholders for achieving the milestone. Turkish Deputy Defense Minister Celal Sami, in his remarks the MILGEM project was the manifestation of exemplary bilateral relations.
Calling for enhancing the bilateral trade volume, the deputy minister said Turkiye was ready to take part in building Jinnah Class Frigate. Managing Director of Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works Rear Admiral Salman Ilyas said the project showed technological advancement and commitment to improving the maritime defence.
He said the MILGEM was capable to carry out a variety of naval operations. He said the Karachi Shipyard was is fully equipped to undertake multiple projects and was in the process of building the indigenously designed gunboat and Jinnah Class frigate, besides contributing to the water supply project for Karachi. Federal ministers Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Ahsan Iqbal, Syed Naveed Qamar and Israr Tareen, Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori and Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah also attended the ceremony.
Pakistan, Turkiye agree to maintain close coordination for improved ties: Pakistan and Turkiye on Wednesday agreed to continue close coordination and engagement through well-established bilateral mechanisms to continue with the upwards trajectory of bilateral relations. The bilateral relations were discussed in a meeting between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and visiting Turkish Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz, after they jointly launched PNS Tariq Corvette.
The two leaders discussed wide-ranging issues encompassing bilateral relations, the regional situation and other areas of mutual interest. Appreciating the strong bilateral cooperation, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif stressed the importance of transforming the brotherly relations into mutually rewarding trade and economic ties. He underscored the importance of enhancing people-to-people contacts and joint collaborations in R&D, IT, energy, infrastructure, food security, tourism and mining sectors.
Facilitating business community, resolution of their issues among govt’s priorities: Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday said that provision of facilities to the business community and resolution of their issues were among the top priorities of the government.
During a meeting with a delegation of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) led by its President Tariq Yousaf and Chief Executive Officer of Trade Development Authority Zubair Motiwala, the prime minister lauded the contribution of traders in addressing the economic issues of the country, the PM Office Media Wing said in a press release. Sindh Governor Kamran Tissori and Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, federal ministers Syed Naveed Qamar, Syed Ameenul Haque, Ahsan Iqbal, Eng. Khurram Dastagir Khan and Musadiq Malik, special assistants Tariq Bajwa, Tariq Pasha and Jahanzaib Khan, State Bank governor, FBR chairman and other relevant authorities attended the meeting.
The prime minister maintained that the incumbent government had taken steps for the creation of business friendly environment in the country and had set up a project of generating 10,000MW of solar power in which the foreign investors were showing keen interest. He also welcomed the suggestions regarding equitable distribution of electricity and gas.
With constitution of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), he said, huge foreign investment would be secured. The prime minister, during the meeting, directed the State Bank and Federal Board of Revenue to resolve the business community’s issues with their cooperation. He assured that the government would provide electricity to the traders in Karachi at similar rates. On the occasion, Chief Executive of the Trade Development Authority and traders’ leader Zubair Motiwala submitted proposals for the resolution of the business community’s problems and praised the prime minister for the resolution of their issues.
PM congratulates Talal, Daniyal: Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday felicitated Talal Chaudhry and Daniyal Aziz on expiry of their five-year disqualification term awarded to them under separate contempt of court proceedings. On his Twitter handle, the prime minister thanked Allah Almighty and said that darkness of negative acts taken by a clique, who worked against progress and prosperity of Pakistan, had been ending.
The prime minister lauded their steadfastness and loyalty with PML-N leader Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and their fortitude to brace all the ordeals.