ANKARA - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that Afghan President Hamid Karzai had requested Pakistan to release Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar as he thought it was essential to bring the Taliban leadership to the negotiating table.
“However, we are working on modalities and it was not decided who Baradar would be handed over to. We are also taking into consideration latest developments and ground realities before taking a final decision in this regard,” Nawaz said.
To a question by this correspondent at a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan, Premier Nawaz said he would set up a special cell to follow up on over 40 Pakistan-Turkey MoUs. “If effective monitoring mechanism is missing, the entire efforts would go down the drain. I am sure Premier Erdogan would also have a similar office to meet requirements of various projects in line with the MoUs.”
Answering the scribe’s second part of the question, Prime Minister Erdogan said there was a tripartite arrangement among Pakistan, Turkey and Afghanistan through which efforts for a lasting peace in the war-torn Islamic state were being pursued.
He said terrorist elements were crossing over to Pakistan, Iran and some other countries, and it had to be stopped at all costs. Pakistan and Turkey had suffered a great deal at the hands of terrorists and extremists, he said. He said Turkey, as a member of Nato, would provide full support to Afghanistan and his troops would stay in Afghanistan as long as required.
HLCC MEETING: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other members of his delegation spent a very busy day here on Tuesday. The day started with laying of floral wreath at the mausoleum of Ataturk followed by investiture ceremony for conferment of Turkey’s highest civil award on PM Nawaz. His delegation then participated in the special session of High Level Cooperation Council (HLCC).
Speaking after the HLCC meeting, the prime minister said the two sides had decided that the leader-driven consultative mechanism should reflect this political reality and now it has been decided to rename it as High Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC).
Prime Minister Erdogan and he had just concluded a very productive third session of the Strategic Council.
“Our discussions were marked by unanimity of views on all issues of mutual concern. A number of wide-ranging MoUs/agreements have also been finalised during the meeting,” Nawaz said.
The PM said consistent with our shared vision to strengthen connectivity, a number of important decisions have been taken. It has been decided to enhance the number of weekly flights between Pakistan and Turkey to 28. An MoU on the Islamabad-Istanbul Gul Train project has been signed, providing for a regular run of the train service for the first 6 months.
“We are meeting at a time when there is strife and instability in our wider region. As two strong democracies, Pakistan and Turkey need to redouble their efforts to promote peace and stability in the region. I look forward to welcome Prime Minister Erdogan for the next session of High Level Strategic Cooperation Council in Pakistan in the near future,” Premier Nawaz added.
AWARD CEREMONY: Speaking at the occasion of conferment of Jumhuriyet Nishan by President Abdullah Gul, the prime minister said: “It is indeed a great honour for me to have been bestowed with the award. As a recipient of Turkey’s highest state decoration, I am deeply touched by the exalted recognition granted for my humble contribution to furthering our fraternal relations, a calling close to my heart. At the same time, it is renewal of an abiding commitment, to work continuously and untiringly, towards exploring new vistas for cooperation between our two countries”.
The significance of this graceful ceremony goes beyond its symbolism and it is a testimony to the special and unique nature of our relationship that thrives in the hearts of our two peoples, from the heights of the Himalayas to the plains of Anatolia, he added. “This relationship is, however, as much a narrative of the past and the present as it is a promise of a great future for two democracies, with a common outlook and shared perceptions. I believe that through the holding of the 3rd meeting of the High Level Cooperation Council (HLCC), we are taking concrete steps towards that end,” he concluded.
Earlier, President Abdullah Gul said Order of the Republic was presented to statesmen who were exceptionally successful in forging friendly ties and bringing people closer. He lauded the mandate given to him in May 11 elections. He appreciated his election as prime minister for the third time.
FLORAL WREATH: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif along with all members of his delegation laid a floral wreath at the mausoleum of Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk located in the centre of the capital city.
Agencies add: Turkey has extended help to Pakistan in controlling cyber crimes, tackling the issue of radicalisation and fighting extremism.
The affirmation to this effect was made in a meeting held between Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Guler and other high security officials in Ankara. Nawaz said his government would seek help and guidance from Turkey to rid the country of extremism.
12 MoUs, agreements signed
ü Joint Declaration of the 3rd High Level Cooperation Council(HLCC)
ü MoU for Cooperation and Information Exchange between the Under-secretariat of Treasury of Turkey and the SECP
ü MoU for Cooperation in Tax Matters
ü MoU on Strengthening Cooperation in the field of Education
ü Renewal of Cultural Exchange Programme
ü Agreement on the Establishment, Functioning and Activities of Cultural Centers
ü Framework agreement between Ministry of Housing and Works and TOKI
ü MoU for Cooperation in Technical and Vocational Training
ü Cooperation Protocol on Security
ü MoU on Civil Aviation
ü Agreement on the Transfer of Offenders
ü Protocol on Science and Technology Cooperation