ISLAMABAD:Turkey, which is reeling from the devastation in the aftermath of powerful earthquakes that have killed more than 8,500 people, has at the last moment refused to host Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Ankara.
The visit of Shehbaz Sharif to Turkey has been postponed due to Turkish leadership’s engagements related to the ongoing rehabilitation work and bad weather, The Express Tribune reported citing Express News sources.
Sharif was due to leave for Turkey on February 8, however, the visit has been postponed as he will not be able to visit the earthquake-affected regions as the helicopter could not fly during bad weather and Turkey’s President and Vice President have been engaged in relief work, the news report cited sources.
Turkey has been facing a major humanitarian crisis after earthquakes jolted the country on Monday. The earthquake was felt in neighbouring countries, including Syria. Countries around the world have been sending relief materials and rescue teams to Turkey to assist in rescue operations. However, Pakistan’s PM had planned to visit the earthquake-hit country.
Earlier on Tuesday, Pakistan’s Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said that Shehbaz Sharif will leave for Ankara on Wednesday morning to express solidarity with the people of Turkey. In a tweet, Aurangzeb said that the All Party Conference due to take place on Thursday has been postponed.
Marriyum Aurangzeb tweeted, “Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will leave for Ankara tomorrow morning, he will express his condolences and condolences to the people of Turkey for the destruction of the earthquake and the loss of life. Due to Prime Minister’s visit to Turkey, the APC convened on Thursday February 9 is being postponed, a new date will be announced in consultation with the allies.”
In another tweet, Aurangzeb announced that Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif has decided to create the Prime Minister’s relief fund to support the earthquake victims of Turkey. She further added, “The cabinet has announced to donate 1 month salary to the relief fund. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has appealed for the generous help of our brother country Turkey.”
The death toll from the earthquakes that jolted Turkey and Syria has risen to at least 11,376, CNN reported citing authorities.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that at least 8,574 people have died and nearly 50,000 others have been injured in Turkey. He made the remarks during his visit to disaster areas near the epicentre of Monday’s earthquake.
The total number of deaths has now reached 2802 in Syria. As many as 1,540 deaths have been reported in rebel-held regions in the northwest, CNN reported citing White Helmets.
Meanwhile, 1,262 people have died in government-controlled areas of Syria, Syrian Health Minister Hassan al-Ghobash said, CNN reported citing Syrian state media. The total number of injured people in Syria has reached 5,008, which includes 2,258 in government-controlled areas and 2,750 in the rebel-held parts. (ANI)