Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday offered Turkish entrepreneurs to invest in a 10,000-megawatt solar power project for Pakistan, saying “my investor is my master”.

The premier sought the investment while addressing a meeting of the Pakistan-Turkiye business council in Istanbul, where he reached later for a two-day visit.

He told the investors that his government was resolved to cut down “very expensive” imports of oil and petroleum products, on which $27 billion was spent last year. “We simply can’t afford this.”

So, he explained, his government had invited foreign investment at a conference in Islamabad around a month and a half ago for a 10,000MW solar power project.

“It’s not just a paper, or a talk, or a feasibility,” he said about the project. “I, along with my colleagues, […] am committed to this philosophy that we shall implement this scheme in letter and spirit with our own resources, with investment from Turkiye, from China, from Saudi Arabia, from Qatar, from the UAE (United Arab Emirates), from wherever.”

He assured the investors that the Pakistan government would create a conducive, enabling and friendly environment for them to invest in the project.

“Please try to understand that past is past, and we are walking into the future with a sense of great understanding, learn our lesson from the past.

“We will move forward with this commitment that my investor is my master. And that’s what I believe — not from today but from ages — and that’s what we are going to implement in times to come,“ he convinced his audience.

“Please be ready with your coffers open,” he urged them, announcing that his government would be organising a special conference for “my Turkish brothers and sisters” where a presentation would be given on the plan for the project.

He also assured the investors that speedy payments to them would be ensured.

“It will be a complete departure from the past. Within 60 days, Turkish, and of course all international investors, will be paid without recourse to any third party,” he said, adding that the payments would be speedy and transparent.

The premier said believed it would be a “gateway for a new order in Pakistan” and allow the country to save billions of dollars by cutting down on fuel imports.

“Please trust me, trust my words. Come to Pakistan and, I will show you that, God willing, we will be great partners in this great investment portfolio, which will be a win-win situation,” he urged the investors.

Earlier, the premier termed the launch of a Milgem Corvette ship as one of the “finest moments” in ties between Turkiye and Pakistan which will strengthen and enhance the two countries’ defence production and joint cooperation.

PM Shehbaz, who left for Turkey on a two-day visit yesterday, witnessed the inauguration of the third of four Milgem Corvette ships for the Pakistan Navy at the Istanbul Shipyard on Friday.

The Milgem project — based on a joint collaboration between Turkiye and Pakistan — was signed with ASFAT Inc, a Turkish state-owned defence contractor firm in 2018, according to which the Pakistan navy would acquire four Milgem-class ships from Turkey.

Speaking about the project today, PM Shehbaz said Milgem Corvette was a “great step forward” in terms of defence cooperation between the two countries.

The premier also offered condolences over the loss of life in a “barbaric action” by terrorists against the innocent people of Turkiye.

“Our hearts go out to their families,” he said, adding that Turkiye, like Pakistan, had been a victim of terrorist attacks.

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