Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to Turkiye scheduled for today has been postponed due to the “ongoing relief efforts” there after a major 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck parts of Turkiye and Syria on Monday morning, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb confirmed.

The premier was set to leave for Turkey today. He had also set up a relief fund along with sending a 51-member rescue team.

The All Parties Conference (APC) called to discuss the national security situation, which was rescheduled for Feb 9, had also been postponed for a second time for this very reason.

It is not clear yet when the multi-party moot would be held, considering the prime minister’s visit has been postponed.

Pakistan aids in relief efforts

The devastating earthquake, which had its epicentre in Kahramanmaras in central Turkiye, has claimed more than 8,300 lives in Turkiye and Syria till now, with thousands injured and many still trapped under rubble.

The quake tremors were felt as far away as Greenland while multiple aftershocks of huge magnitudes and extreme winter weather further worsened the situation.

21 tons of relief goods

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) took more than 21 tons of relief goods to Turkiye and Syria.

On behalf of the NDMA, two PIA planes left for Istanbul and Damascus from Islamabad on Wednesday morning, a PIA spokesman said in a brief statement here.

He said PIA flights PK-705 & PK-9135 carrying 7.4 tons and 14 tons of cargo (quake-relief assistance) departed from Islamabad to Istanbul and Damascus at 8:45 am and 10:30 respectively.

The spokesman elaborated that the 14 tons of assistance, which had been dispatched to Damascus, also contained winter tents and blankets aimed at protecting the flood-affected people from the cold weather harshness.

On Tuesday morning, the first batch of relief items from Pakistan reached Turkiye, a Pakistan Air Force spokesperson said.

Separately, in a tweet on Tuesday, Aurangzeb announced that the federal cabinet had also decided to donate their one-month salary to the relief fund.

Moreover, a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office the same day said grade 18-22 officers would contribute a day’s salary to the fund.

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