Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will visit Turkey on an official trip next week, the Foreign Office confirmed on Friday, adding that more details will be shared closer to the tour.
“The prime minister would be visiting Turkey next week, and we would be sharing with you more details containing elements, specific elements and engagements envisaged during this visit,” spokesperson Asim Iftikhar told a weekly press briefing. This would be the third official foreign tour of Sharif since assuming office—earlier this month, he traveled to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in a bid to revive bilateral ties with the Gulf states.
The premier’s Saudi trip was also intended to convince the Gulf kingdom to rollover a $3 billion deposit with the State Bank of Pakistan, with Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan telling Reuters earlier this week that talks were underway to finalize this.
During his briefing, the Foreign Office spokesperson also briefed journalists on the recent foreign tours of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. He said the minister had visited Davos, Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting from May 23-26, adding that Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar had accompanied him.
On the sidelines of the event, said the spokesperson, Bhutto-Zardari held bilateral meetings with Queen Máxima of The Netherlands, Finland Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, as well as others. Last week, he said the foreign minister had visited China on the special invitation of Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
Yasin Malik case
The spokesperson also reiterated Pakistan’s condemnation of India’s conviction and sentencing of Kashmiri leader Yasin Malik in a “grossly suspicious and contrived case” registered under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the Indian Penal Code. Noting that the Indian Charge d’Affaires in Islamabad had been summoned to the Foreign Office on May 25 and conveyed Pakistan’s strong indignation over the highly reprehensible sentencing of Malik, he said Islamabad would continue to raise its voice against human rights violations in India.
“India must harbor no delusions,” he said. “Pakistan will continue to raise its voice to express its concerns and highlight the gross excesses that India continues to commit with unchecked impunity against the Kashmiri people and their political leadership in IIOJK [Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir].”