Ankara February 17 (Dawn): Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who is in Turkiye on a two-day visit, vowed on Friday to send fresh aid for victims of the powerful 7.8-magnitude in the country, reiterating that Pakistan “is standing with Turkiye” in this difficult time.
“By our own eyes, we have seen the massive devastation in Turkiye today,” he said in a media talk at Adiyaman University.
“I want to convey that after my discussion with President Erdogan yesterday, we [Pakistan] have changed our strategy. Previously we were sending winterised tents, blankets and foodstuff.
“But now we will only focus on winterised tents,” he said, adding that they should be fireproof.
PM Shehbaz stated that he would reach Pakistan tonight and hold a meeting with all the potential local tent manufacturers in the country. “I will hold a meeting with them and make a concrete plan for the speedy manufacturing of high-quality tents which are fireproof.”
And then, he continued, the tents will be shipped to Turkiye through aircraft, land routes and sea.
“My chairman of the National Disaster Management Agency is sitting here and I have tasked him to undertake this very important project.”
PM Shehbaz promised that the tents will be despatched to Turkiye at the earliest.
“Whatever we are worth […] I want to address millions of brothers and sisters in Turkiye […] this is not something we are doing to impact you […] it is our duty and it comes from our heart.
“We speak different languages but we understand each other very well. This is the feeling and sincerity of purpose on both sides,” he said, asserting that Turkiye will soon come out of the crises.
“We stand with you,” he added.
Earlier today, the premier visited quake-affected areas of Adiyaman and interacted with the locals. He was accompanied by Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb and officials of the NDMA.
PM Shehbaz also handed over relief sent by Pakistan for Turkiye to Turkish officials.
After arriving in Turkiye on Thursday, the prime minister met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara and expressed “profound condolences” on behalf of the people and the government of Pakistan.
“I assured him of our steadfast support toTurkiye. I am confident that under [the] president’s leadership, Turkiye will emerge from this catastrophe stronger,” he had said in a tweet.
PM 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.
In a grand gesture of support, he had set up a relief fund for the quake-devastated country along with sending a 51-member rescue team a day after the quake hit Turkiye.
Following the initial support, more aid has been sent as well, including relief goods, tents and a team of doctors.