By Islamuddin Sajid
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday invited Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Cabinet to visit Pakistan, officials said.
Khan extended the invitation during his meeting with Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu at the prime minister’s office in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, according to a prime ministry statement.
Soylu was accompanied by Deputy Interior Minister Ismail Catakli, Turkish Ambassador to Pakistan Mustafa Yurdakul, Turkish General Gendarmerie Command Deputy Commander Lt. Gen. Ali Cardakci, Migration Management Directorate head Abdullah Ayaz, and Savas Unlu, the EU Affairs and Foreign Relations Department head.
Pakistan’s Minister of State for the Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi and other top foreign and interior ministry officials were also present.
Welcoming Soylu to Pakistan, Khan said Turkey holds a special place in the hearts of Pakistanis, who deeply admire Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Turkey’s
Khan expressed satisfaction at the upward trajectory of bilateral relations between Pakistan and Turkey.
"Pakistan and Turkey have always stood by each other, and Pakistan’s government would further strengthen its ties with Turkey," Khan added.
Cooperation against money laundering terrorism
The leaders discussed bilateral relations and ways to enhance cooperation in various areas, including security, border management, immigration, and counter-terrorism.
Khan offered to share his country's expertise and experience in dealing with terrorism, calling it a large threat to the entire region.
He also told Soylu of various steps taken by Pakistan to tackle the issues of money laundering and illegal immigration.
Soylu, for his part, pledged that Turkey will provide all possible support for Pakistan’s fight against money laundering.
Turning to terrorism and regional peace, Soylu praised Pakistan’s efforts and sacrifices to defeat terrorism.
The two leaders also agreed to put in place a robust mechanism to deal with the issue of illegal immigration.
Soylu -- who is on an official visit to Pakistan -- congratulated Khan on his being elected prime minister earlier this year and invited him to visit Turkey.