PM Shehbaz Sharif and Turkish Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz launch PNS Tariq into the sea.—APP
PM Shehbaz Sharif and Turkish Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz launch PNS Tariq into the sea.—APP

KARACHI: Pakistan and Turkiye should elevate their strategic cooperation for the progress and prosperity of the two nations, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Wednesday, once again inviting Ankara to join the China-Pakistan Eco­nomic Corridor (CPEC).

“The two countries share bonds of faith, heritage and civilisation. We have identical perspectives on regional and global issues,” he said while addressing the launching ceremony of PNS Tariq, a corvette built for Pakistan Navy in collaboration with Turkiye under the Milgem project, at Karachi Shipyard.

PM Shehbaz held up the joint venture project as an inspiration for greater collaboration to make the two countries self-reliant in different fields.

He also recalled President Erdogan’s visit to Pakistan after the floods last year as well as the generous contribution made by the Turkish people for victims, both in 2022 and in 2010.

Earlier, Turkish Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz and PM Shehbaz performed the inauguration ceremony of the ship.

Initiated in 2018, the Milgem project envisages the construction of four corvettes for Pakistan Navy — two each at home and in Turkiye.

Navy’s preparedness

The prime minister said Pakistan Navy was dedicated to ensuring preparedness under all circumstances for defending the country’s maritime frontiers.

Speaking about plans to create more space for ships at the country’s ports, Shehbaz Sharif said a “linkage is needed between Karachi port and Gwadar in order to ease congestion at Port Qasim”.

Hailing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as a “roaring success”, the prime minister said the two countries had agreed to launch the second phase of CPEC soon. “It will consist of a green corridor, business corridor, special economic zones and IT corridors,” he said, reiterating his earlier invitation to Ankara to join the CPEC project.

In his address, VP Cevdet Yilmaz said Pakistanis had a unique place in the hearts of Turkish people.

Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2023

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