Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended a Grand Cultural Show at historical Atchison College on Monday after arriving in Pakistan’s second largest city Lahore on Sunday night for a two-day official visit. He was accompanied by Chief Minister of Punjab province Shahbaz Sharif as a military contingent fired a 19-gun salute of welcome after fireworks. Pigeons were released as folk dancers danced to the tunes of flutes and drums during the biggest welcoming ceremony held in Lahore. The Turkish Premier was presented a guard of honor by a traditionally-clad contingent of the paramilitary Rangers force. The Grand Cultural Show was organized in honor of Erdogan, who showed interest in the ornaments and inquired about historic and cultural details, by Atchison College to display Pakistan's rich culture. Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, the younger brother of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, presented a horse to Erdogan as a gift. Earlier, on his arrival at Allama Iqbal International airport in the country’s cultural hub Lahore, a military ceremony was held in honor of Erdogan, who was welcomed by Shahbaz Sharif and Turkey's ambassador in Islamabad Babur Girgin.
Erdogan is accompanied by Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan, Transport Minister Binali Yildirim and two deputy chairmen of his Justice and Development (AK) Party, Numan Kurtulmus and Mevlut Cavusoglu.
The Turkish Prime Minister will spend a busy day on Tuesday in capital Islamabad, where he will meet Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif who had visited Turkey last month.
Erdogan will also attend a reception to be hosted by President Mamnoon Hussein in his honor.
Currently, the bilateral trade volume stands at over $1 billion as the trade volume between the countries has grown over sevenfold in the last decade, according to official figures. The bilateral trade is largely in favor of Pakistan. Turkey’s principal exports to Pakistan are air transportation vehicles, textiles, defense industry products, chemicals, machinery, cereals and prefabricated houses, whereas Pakistan’s exports are fabric, garments, plastics and chemicals.
Construction is the leading sector for Turkish investors in Pakistan. Since the early 1990s, the total amount of projects completed or undertaken by Turkish contractors exceeds $1.8 billion. Turkish companies are becoming more active in the energy sector of Pakistan as well.
Turkish firms built the first wind turbines of Pakistan in 2009. Furthermore, a Turkish company will generate and supply electricity to Karachi with the biggest power ship in the world. The Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKI) is engaged in the construction of 5,000 houses in the areas affected by the 2005 earthquake.