Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif's visit to Ankara, scheduled for today (Wednesday), was postponed at the last moment due to the ongoing relief and rescue operations in Turkiye following the devastating earthquake.
Express News, quoting official sources, reported that the prime minister was supposed to leave for Turkiye in the morning but the visit has been postponed due to bad weather and the Turkish leadership's engagements related to the ongoing rehabilitation efforts.
Sources added that PM Shehbaz would not be able to visit the affected areas as helicopter could not fly during bad weather, while the president and vice president of Turkiye are also engaged in relief activities.
The visit is expected to be rescheduled and the new dates will be anounced later.
Read World leaders voice solidarity after powerful earthquake strikes Türkiye
Federal Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb had earlier announced that the prime minister would be travelling to Ankara to express solidarity with the people of Turkey and convey his condolences to Turkish President Erdogan over the deaths caused by the earthquake.
The inofrmation minister had said that the All-Party Conference (APC) called by the premier on February 9 would be postponed and a new date would be announced in consultation with the allies.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif urged solidarity through ‘tangible and timely material support for suffering humanity’ after Turkey and Syria were struck by devastating earthquakes that killed over 4,000 people.
Taking to his official Twitter handle, the premier stated that “24 hours after the devastating earthquake hit Turkiye and Syria, [the] scenes of death & destruction are mind-numbing”.
24 hours after the devastating earthquake hit Turkiye & Syria, scenes of death & destruction are mind numbing. It breaks the heart to witness sheer scale of unfolding human tragedy. Solidarity should translate into tangible & timely material support for suffering humanity.— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) February 7, 2023
“It breaks the heart to witness [the] sheer scale of unfolding human tragedy,” he added.
Shehbaz establishes fund
The information minister also announced that PM Shehbaz decided to establish the prime minister's relief fund to support the earthquake victims of the "brotherly country" Turkey in during difficult times.
The federal cabinet said that it would donate one month's salary to the relief fund, Marriyum said via her Twitter account.
وزیراعظم شہباز شریف نے برادر ملک ترکیہ کے زلزلہ متاثرین کی مشکل گھڑی میں معاونت کے لئے وزیراعظم ریلیف فنڈ قائم کرنے کا فیصلہ کیا ہے۔ کابینہ نے 1 ماہ کی تنخواہ امدادی فنڈ میں دینے کا اعلان کیا ہے۔ وزیراعظم شہباز شریف نے مخیرحضرات کو برادر ملک ترکیہ کی فراخ دلانہ مدد کی اپیل کی ہے— Marriyum Aurangzeb (@Marriyum_A) February 7, 2023
The premier also appealed to the people to generously help Turkey.
Rescue teams worked early on Tuesday to release people trapped in the rubble of buildings in southern Turkey as the death toll in the country from a devastating earthquake a day earlier rose to nearly 3,000.
The magnitude 7.8 quake hit Turkey and neighbouring Syria early on Monday, toppling entire apartment blocks, wrecking hospitals, and leaving thousands more people injured or homeless.
Nearly 8,000 people have been rescued from 4,758 buildings destroyed in the tremors a day earlier, Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said in its latest statement.
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