Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on the first day of his official visit to Turkey on Tuesday that the closeness of Pakistan and Turkey’s relationship was not reflected in trade relations between the two countries, and expressed a desire for the volume of trade between the two to reach $5 billion per year.

The Prime Minister expressed remorse for what he called the previous government’s “maltreatment” of Turkish businessmen over the past four years while speaking at the Turkey-Pakistan Business Forum.

“Turkey designed the first metro in Lahore. Pakistan was offered solid waste management knowledge in exchange for peanuts. Turkish police officers provided free training to our officers. What we have done to our Turkish brothers, however, is in exchange.”

He also declared that Turkish citizens will no longer be subject to visa restrictions.

The PM also commended Turkey’s leadership for its principled support on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in an interview with Turkish news agency Anadolu.

“We share similar views on regional and international issues and work closely on bilateral, regional, and multilateral forums,” Sharif said ahead of his three-day official visit to Turkey.

He said Pakistan and the US had a long-standing and broad-based cooperation in numerous areas of mutual interest, when asked about Pakistan’s involvement in US strategy in the region.

“We want to strengthen and broaden our engagement with the United States,” he said. “The United States is Pakistan’s largest export market and a major source of FDI and remittances.”

He said the objective of connectivity and win-win cooperation at the heart of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was in accordance with his government’s aims, as well as the vision for Pakistan as a peaceful, affluent area.

He said that work on the CPEC Special Economic Zones was ongoing, and that Pakistan was encouraging foreign investment in critical industrial areas.