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Bridging The Gap
Pakistan’s decision to declare Gulen group a banned outfit pleases Erdogan
  Friday 04 January, 2019
Pakistan’s decision to declare Gulen group a banned outfit pleases Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday expressed his pleasure over the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s decision of declaring Pak-Turk Education Foundation – a group backed by Fethullah Gulen – a banned outfit.

The apex court had ordered to hand over custody of all 28 Pak-Turk schools in Pakistan to the Turkiye Maarif Foundation (TMF) last month.

Addressing a joint press conference in Ankara with Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is on two day visit to Turkey, President Erdogan lauded the leadership role of PM Imran in the world of cricket.

He said transfer of Pak-Turk schools to the TMF was a great example of strong relationships between the two countries. He thanked the people and government of Pakistan for that gesture.

He assured Turkey would continue to support Pakistan in future, adding, there was very strong support in Turkey for Pakistan.

About the trilateral Istanbul summit of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey, he hoped it would be held after March 31 elections in Turkey. This trilateral summit would help solve many other problems facing those countries, he added.

He said bilateral, commercial ties between the two countries and cooperation and solidarity would be pursued and further extended in future. The Turkish President said both the countries also discussed joint steps in the field of defence industry.

Both sides discussed the trainer aircraft that Turkey had acquired from Pakistan. The Turkish sale of Milgem vessels to Pakistan was also discussed. He said both sides also discussed their efforts regarding the attack helicopter and wanted to explore further collaboration.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, speaking on the occasion after one-to-one and delegations level meetings with the Turkish leadersip, said that there was unanimity of views between the two sides on various issues of bilateral and regional interest.

He said Pakistan and Turkey enjoyed very special relations bonded with fraternal ties rooted in history, culture and religion. The prime minister said Pakistan wanted to strengthen its relationships with Turkey in all fields. Pakistan wanted to take benefit from Turkish expertise in construction field as the government had embarked on an ambitious project of constructing five million housing units in next five year. Turkey had constructed two million houses in the last six years, the prime minister added. This is the first time that such an ambition plan had been undertaken in Pakistan, he said.

The prime minister said Pakistan also wanted to take benefit from the Turkish health system, legal aid to under privilege people and education reforms. The government had pledged to develop the new Pakistan on the model of State of Madina, he said.

About the Afghan issue, the prime minister said people of Afghanistan were suffering for more than three decades and it was time that the international community, and anyone who could help in bringing peace to the war torn country, should come forward.

He said Pakistan had already been helping dialogue between the United States and Taliban, but it needed much stronger efforts from all the stakeholders and its neighbours.

The prime minister said he was looking forward to the trilateral summit meeting of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey in Istanbul. He expressed the hope that the trio would be able to help in the peace process.

The prime minister while speaking about peace in South Asia said Pakistan was trying to have a dialogue and friendly relationships with India. He said that Kashmir was the basic issue between the two countries, adding that there was now an indigenous movement in the Indian occupied Kashmir.

“The more force India uses the more it alienates the people of Kashmir,” the prime minister said.

He said both sides also discussed the issue of Syria and prayed for peace in the war torn country, so that the sufferings of Syrian people could end. The prime minister wished Turkey all the best in its endeavors to find a peaceful solution to Syrian issue. Prime Minister Imran assured the Turkish leadership of Pakistan’s full support in defeating the Islamic State.

The prime minister hoped that with the help of Pakistan’s neighbours — Iran, Afghanistan and Turkey — “we can eliminate terrorism.”

Earlier in the day, PM Imran and President Erdogan agreed to enhance bilateral relations and strengthen economic ties between the two countries during a meeting in Ankara, according to a PM Office statement on Twitter.

The premier had arrived in the Turkish capital on a two-day visit on Thursday. His delegation includes Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar and Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Khusro Bakhtiar.

Addressing Turkey’s business community, PM Imran reminisced Pakistan as fasting growing economies back in the 1960s. “We were role models for developing countries. South Korea, Malaysia wanted to adopt our model. These countries moved ahead while Pakistan’s growth declined because of our socialist mindset.”

Criticising Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s nationalisation policy; Imran said policy deterred wealth creation. “Profit-making was considered a sin. Businessmen, industrialists were hounded out of the country.”

The policy, Imran said, was discarded in the 1980s but its influence on bureaucracy and politicians remained. “Our government feels wealth creation will help steer Pakistan out of the economic crisis. It will raise people out of poverty.”

Hailing China as an example, he said the country had achieved what no other could in the history of mankind. “They lifted over 700 million people out of poverty line in 30 years.”

PM Imran revealed that the government had set up an office in the prime minister’s secretariat aiming to boost investment. He underscored the importance of ridding society of corruption. “Corruption makes it difficult for small and medium enterprises to flourish. It becomes the reason behind countries failure to reach their potential.”

The prime minister said his government realised hurdles faced by the Turkish businessmen in Pakistan and was focused to find solutions. “We assure you, you will find a completely different government,” he added.

We are looking for investments in Pakistan and increasing the country’s exports and we want to provide employment to the young population, he said.

Separately, FM Qureshi held a meeting with his Turkish Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and discussed regional and bilateral issues. According to Foreign Office, Qureshi appraised Turkish foreign minister of Pakistan’s efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

On Thursday night, Pakistan’s delegation attended a banquet with leading Turkish business group. The dinner was hosted The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB).

In his speech, PM Imran conveyed his government’s intent to enhancing trade between the two countries. He enphasised that Pakistan was on its way to strengthening its system of governance.

The prime minister also elaborated the China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC) which will connect Pakistan will parts of the world and ease transportation and open business prospects.

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