Pakistan, Turkey need mechanisms to boost trade: Nawaz
17 September, 2013
ANKARA: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Monday that Pakistan and Turkey need mechanism to boost trade and investment.
In an interview with Turkish media, he underlined good political relations between the two countries, saying, "A huge reservoir of goodwill and affection flows from one country to another."
He urged the Turkish businessmen and entrepreneurs to invest in Pakistan, especially in sectors like energy, infrastructure, engineering and agro-based industry. Citing recent success stories involving Turkish companies in Pakistan such as Lahore's Metro Bus Service and a wind energy project in Sindh, Nawaz called Pakistan an investor-friendly country that offers complete legal protection and fair treatment to both local and foreign companies.
He emphasised Turkey's role as a bridge between Asia and Europe, and Pakistan's potential to become a gateway to energy-rich Central Asia.
Education is the nation's top priority in ensuring equal opportunity and social justice, he said, adding that Turkish support and technical assistance in transforming Pakistan's education system would be welcome.
To a query, the prime minister said relations between Pakistan and Turkey are exemplary. He said his government is facing multiple challenges domestically and regionally and he has a broad agenda to discuss with the Turkish prime minister.
The prime minister said that domestically, priorities of his government include economic progress and prosperity of the people of Pakistan.
"It also includes socio-economic development, infrastructure development, education, especially technical and vocational training. Pakistan and Turkey already have wide-ranging collaboration in these areas. I would like to see this cooperation strengthen further," he said.
To another query, the prime minister said the Afghanistan-Pakistan-Turkey trilateral process is an important initiative aimed at promoting peace, stability and socio economic development in Afghanistan.
"We are grateful to Turkey for its continued support to the process that has now evolved into an institutionalised tripartite mechanism for multiple cooperation in diverse fields. Situation in Afghanistan, especially after the drawdown of troops in 2014, is a challenge for Pakistan and we would like to exchange views with our Turkish friends on this as well," he said.
He said the unique geographical situation of both Turkey and Pakistan makes them strategically important. While Turkey could become a bridge between Asia and Europe, Pakistan shares boundaries with two highly populated and big economies of the world and could be a gateway to the energy rich Central Asia, he added. To another query, he said peace and stability in Afghanistan is directly linked to peace and stability in Pakistan. "My government would continue to extend our sincere support for the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan," he added.
Asked about the tension on Line of Control (LoC), he said Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory pending with the United Nations Security Council. UN Security Council resolutions provide for holding a fair and impartial plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir under UN auspices to enable the Kashmiri people to exercise their right to self-determination, he maintained.
He hoped that UN would play its due role in resolving this dispute. Recent tensions along the Line of Control are indeed a matter of concern.
"To relieve the people of India and Pakistan from poverty and illiteracy, it is incumbent on the leadership of both the countries to sit together and ponder over these issues. I have always given high priority to good relations with India for the sake of durable peace in the region," Nawaz said.
To another question, he said Turkey is a trusted friend of Pakistan. Turkey, like any other sovereign country, is free to forge relations with other countries, including India, according to its own national interest, he said.