ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif returned to the country on Thursday after completing a three-day official visit to Turkey.
Turkish Minister of Trade Mehmet Mus saw off the prime minister and his delegation at Esenboga Airport.
The prime minister termed the visit successful. He had met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and foreign and trade ministers, besides addressing the business communities of Turkey and Pakistan.
Before returning to the country, PM Shehbaz met Turkish Health Minister Dr Fahrettin Koca and congratulated him over the commendable handling of Covid-19. The prime minister emphasised that Pakistan and Turkey should continue to address health and economic challenges arising out of the pandemic and step up cooperation in vaccine development.
He stressed the importance of enhancing bilateral cooperation in the health sector. He appreciated President Erdogan for transforming the health system in Turkey in the last two decades.
He recalled several joint initiatives undertaken by the Turkish government in Pakistan in the health sector, especially in health services, pharmaceuticals, digital health and training and capacity building of medical professionals.
Mr Sharif appreciated the establishment of Recep Tayyip Erdogan Hospital in Muzaffargarh following the massive floods in Pakistan 2010. He advised the Turkish-Pakistan Joint Working Group (JWG) on Health to undertake in-depth discussions on various aspects of bilateral health cooperation.
The prime minister underscored the importance of following up on various initiatives, including collaboration in the establishment of pathology labs, enhanced functioning of Pakistan Kidney Liver Institute, and automobile ambulances.
The Turkish health minister highlighted the potential for enhanced collaboration in various aspects of the health field, such as manufacturing of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, health tourism and quality control. He indicated that a team of the Turkish health ministry would visit Pakistan in the near future.
The health minister said a “Pak-Medica Expo and Business Forum” would be held in Pakistan in October this year.
During the meeting, it was agreed that the two sides would remain engaged in agreed areas of cooperation through the JWG on Health.
Prime Minister Sharif also visited The Nation’s Library in the Turkish capital and evinced keen interest in the largest collection of books in the country.
The prime minister expressed profound appreciation for the exclusive section set up for Pakistani books at the library. He also took a round of the area dedicated to children interested in book-reading.
Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2022