LAHORE: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday said Pakistan would extend every possible support to Turkiye in the wake of catastrophic earthquake that killed and injured thousands and urged the people to donate to the Prime Minister’s relief fund.
Talking to media here at the Lahore airport, the prime minister handed over 100 tonnes relief goods including food, medicines and winterized tents for the people of Turkiye.
Shehbaz Sharif said the people of Pakistan stand in solidarity with their brethren in distress and would do everything to help them rebuild their lives.
He recalled that how Turkiye had established an air bridge with Pakistan after the horrific 2005 earthquake that killed around 80,000 people in Azad Kashmir.
The prime minister was earlier briefed about the collection and dispatch of the relief goods from Pakistan to Turkiye and Syria. He was informed that the NDMA was coordinating and rushing relief goods from various cities of Pakistan to the quake affected areas.
“We would leave no stone unturned to help the Turkish brethren … we have never seen such catastrophe in a century and can feel the pain and loss of the people of Turkiye,” the prime minister said and likened the people of Turkiye and Pakistan as “two hearts and one soul.”
He recalled that the wife of President Erdogan even had donated her precious necklace to help the people of Pakistan who lost their homes and livelihood after the 2005 earthquake.
He said his government had decided to turn the ongoing rescue and relief efforts for Turkiye into a nationwide support campaign.
The prime minister said an air bridge has already been set up to transport relief good to Turkiye and the trucks of National Logistic Cell will carry 100 tonnes relief goods to Turkey via Iran.
A PIA 777 aircraft earlier in the day carried relief goods to Turkiye from Lahore, while 30 tonnes would be airlifted from Islamabad. Another batch of 40 tonnes relief goods will be sent from Lahore on Saturday.
The prime minister made an impassioned appeal to the people, the business community and the philanthropic organisations to gear up their efforts and send winterized tents, blankets, food and clothing for those who lost everything in the 7.8 magnitude earthquake.
He asked the people to send their donations to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund for the earthquake in Turkiye. He said it was bitter cold in the earthquake affected areas and urgent help was required to save precious lives.
He said the search and rescue teams from Pakistan were already in Turkiye and lending their help in trying to rescue people trapped in the rubble. He said that he has also spoken to the chief ministers and requested them to take ownership of national relief campaign for earthquake-hit people in Turkiye. He said he has also asked the Minister for education for a campaign in the schools to collect donations from the students.
Meanwhile, snother relief consignment carrying about two hundred and fifty tents has been dispatched to Turkiye through a special flight from Islamabad International Airport.
Talking to the media persons on the occasion, Minister for Power Khurram Dastgir assured that maximum number of winterized tents will be sent for the earthquake victims of both Turkiye and Syria.
Special Assistant on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Faisal Karim Kundi said it has also been decided to establish camps at the district level to collect relief items for the quake victims. He said the philanthropists should generously contribute in order to extend help to the victims.
Senator Talha Mahmood said Turkiye has always stood by Pakistan in the hour of difficulty. He said the entire nation is aggrieved over the death and destruction caused by the calamity.— Agencies