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ISTANBUL: Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday stressed upon the Turkish companies to invest in Pakistan, as infinite potential between the two brotherly countries should also be reflected in bilateral trade and business.

Addressing a Turkiye-Pakistan Business Council meeting, the prime minister said his government would no longer tolerate any snags and impediments in the way of investment from foreign investors including the Turkish brothers.

He reassured that his government would fully provide a hassle and red tape-free environment to the Turkish investors.

He informed that during his meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it was conveyed that more Turkish companies were eager to come to Pakistan.

The Prime Minister said that it was regrettable that in the past regime, the Turkish companies that had invested in Pakistan were not given their due payments. Similar was the case with the Turkish airlines operating in Pakistan.

Turkish Ministerial delegation meets PM Shehbaz

The Prime Minister said such lethargy and red tape were not acceptable to his government and the people of Pakistan as they had benefited from the Turkish investment and support.

“I want to convey this message to all, through you that we are brothers and family, and will not tolerate such snags and impediments which hurt our ties,” he said and reassured that his government would remove all the issues and address their genuine issues.

He said to further promote their bilateral trade and business relations, work on ‘Trade and Goods Agreement’ between the two brotherly countries would be expedited.

He said that they had singed a MOU to enhance the bilateral trade volume up to $5 billion in the next three years.

Turkiye’s annual trade stood around $250 billion dollars and the trade between Pakistan and Turkiye was hovering around one and half billion dollars which had been peanuts while considering the immense potential, he added.

The prime minister stressed that such a scenario did not reflect their exemplary brotherly ties and stressed upon fully exploring the indefinite potential on both sides.

He said they should make efforts and endeavours to double this trade volume in the next three years with strong commitment and sincerity of purpose as ‘only hard work and untiring efforts will be keys to a wonderful success story’.

The prime minister said their friendship and brotherhood had been known to all and sundry, as the world knew them ‘like brothers and a family’.

“Though the people of the two countries speak different languages, but they understand each other as their hearts beat together,” he said, adding that the historical relations and fraternal ties were not properly reflected in the volume of bilateral trade and business.

The prime minister opined that in every country, the trade, investment and business activities were governed by the financial rules and regulations.

He said that in this regard, the two brotherly countries had thrashed out their problems to a great extent.

PM Shehbaz Sharif said that he firmly believed that it was not too late to mend, and stressed that they should move forward with joint efforts and cooperation.

“Let’s start today and look forward and learn from the past and move with speed, so that we can compensate for the past losses and make dividends. There is immense potential on both sides, let’s synergize and move speedily to show to the world that we as brothers have the will, commitment and sincerity of purpose to convert our words into action,” he added.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif mentioned that certain Turkish companies faced red tape in Pakistan. There might be lack of understanding of the wider pictures, sometime bureaucracy created problems, he said, adding that they needed to cut down the red tape with sharp scissors and to simplify the system.

He said the governments might come and go, but the trade and business ties between the brotherly countries should not be impacted. The prime minister said that China was a sincere and time-tested friend of Pakistan that had invested about 33 billion dollars in the flagship China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) during 2014 to 2018 before the completion of Nawaz Sharif’s government and subsequently, it was slowed down.

The Prime Minister also noted that the world had been passing through difficult challenges, like the Russia-Ukraine conflict which saw spiralling of commodities and petroleum prices with the supply of gas becoming scant. The countries like Pakistan were suffering due to such scenario; wheat and fertilizers were hugely required by Pakistan to meet its domestic requirements.

The prime minister also lauded President Erdogan for making diplomatic efforts and rescuing the world by streamlining the supply of wheat from Ukraine.

He also mentioned the incredible efforts of United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres in this regard, as well.

The Prime Minister narrating the initiatives of his government to meet Pakistan’s energy requirements, said that the government had decided and resolved to cut down the import of very expensive oil and petroleum products import over which they had spent $27 billion in the last year.

The country could not afford import of such costly oil and petroleum products, he added.

He informed that they had arranged a conference over the energy issues in Islamabad which were attended by the foreign investors.

During the moot, they had rolled out a project of 10,000-MW solar seeking investment in Pakistan, he said, adding that they had been committed to implement this scheme and also ensured an enabling and friendly environment to investors as they would be walking into the future with great understanding and learning.

The Prime Minister assured the Turkish investors that his government would ensure speedy payments, within a period of sixty days through a very transparent manner.

Terming it ‘a gateway to new order in Pakistan’, the prime minister expressed the confidence that it would save them from import of costly oil and other products.

“Come to Pakistan and I will assure you that we are great partners,” he added.

The prime minister said that Pakistan and Turkiye both believed in the peaceful coexistence and regretted that some countries had the habit of dictating terms, but the use of peaceful means should be the world order.

About his visit to Turkiye, the prime minister said that it provided them a wonderful opportunity to renew their brotherly ties and thanked President Erdogan for according them a warm welcome in their second home Turkiye.

About his meeting with Turkish president, he said that they held very productive and fruitful consultations to further strengthen the bilateral trade and defence cooperation and cited that the launching of MILGEM Class Corvette for Pakistan Navy, reflected the joint cooperation between the two countries.

He said one vessel was launched in Karachi and the second here in Istanbul, terming the launching events as ‘One of the finest moments in our fraternal ties to strengthen our defence production and joint cooperation’. The prime minister, also strongly condemned the terrorist attack in Istanbul, and extended deep condolences for those Turkish brothers and sisters who had lost their family members in the barbaric incident.

Expressing sympathies with the bereaved families, he prayed for the eternal place of the departed souls in Jannah.

The prime minister said Turkiye like Pakistan, had been victims of terrorist attacks and commended the Turkish authorities for arresting the terrorists immediately. The terrorists, he said, had no religion and were not human beings. The prime minister underlined the need for all the peaceful international community to act together against the menace of terrorism with strengthened support and cooperation.

He said Pakistan had defeated this menace and, in this process, the armed forces, law enforcement agencies and civilian had offered huge sacrifices to defeat them. The prime minister also expressed his gratitude to the president of Turkiye and his people, for helping Pakistan in the recent floods that had devastated a large population.

About 33 million people were affected by the merciless floods, and millions of houses were completely or partially damaged. A total of 1700 people including children were dead, he added.

The prime minister said President Erdogan had called him and an air bridge was established between the different cities of the two countries. Trains loaded with relief goods for the flood affected people were sent on almost daily basis.

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