Chief Minister (CM) Shahbaz Sharif has requested Prime Minister (PM) Yousaf Raza Gilani to allow air traffic rights to Turkish airlines from Lahore to Istanbul in order to make it easier for Turkish business people to visit the Punjab.
A copy of the letter Sharif wrote to the PM is available to The Express Tribune. The CM wrote that the Punjab government was collaborating with the Istanbul Municipality on various projects. Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) had inked a seven-year agreement with a Turkish company for collection and disposal of solid waste in the city while the Lahore Transport Company (LTC) has signed another agreement for a metro bus service.
These initiatives would result in greater exchange of visitors and air traffic from both countries. Islamabad and Karachi already have direct flights to Istanbul. Direct air service between Lahore and Istanbul would facilitate the business community. The CM asked Prime Minister Gilani that Turkish airlines be allowed flight operations from Allama Iqbal International Airport.
The Punjab government had sent a charter airplane to Karachi to transport a Turkish delegation led by Mayor of Istanbul Dr Kardir Topbas when he visited the city recently. An official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the government had shelled out Rs5million for the transport. The LWMC has signed an agreement with a Turkish company for the lifting and disposal of solid waste. The LWMC will pay $360 million to the company for seven years of service. As much as 1.9 million tons of waste is generated in the city and only 1.2 million was being lifted said, an official said.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2012.