The Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davotoglu arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday on his maiden visit to Pakistan since coming into power. He and his Pakistani counterpart chaired the 4th meeting of the High Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC); a regularly convening forum established on prime ministerial level in 2009. Chairing the HLSCC might be the official reason for the visit, but the Turkish premier has an extensive agenda, which includes looking beyond purely bilateral cooperation and playing a role in stabilising Afghanistan.

Turkey has become an important bilateral partner of Pakistan; a relationship that has been almost exclusively cultivated by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). The Sharif brother’s showpiece infrastructure project, the Metro bus, and the establishment of the Lahore Waste Management Company were inspired by, and funded by Turkey. The government is keen to build on this, and so is Turkey. The Turkish premier brings with him a heavy contingent of cabinet members and investors, who will participate in the Pakistan Turkey Business Forum and the Joint Working Groups (JBGs) on Finance and Banking; Trade; Energy; Transport and Communications; Education; and Culture and Tourism. The two governments have reportedly signed 11 Memorandums of Understanding (MOU), the exact contents of which are yet to be disclosed. Regardless, bringing investment into Pakistan at a time when most investors would stay away is commendable, as is the prudence of diversifying investors and not solely relying on the Chinese.

Another offshoot of this strengthening relationship is the resurgence of the trilateral cooperation forum between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey. Mr Davotoglu reiterated Turkey’s resolve to battle militancy and met General Raheel Sharif as he left for Kabul. Turkey has previously mooted a negotiated solution to militancy in Afghanistan; it being involved in the process in the middle of a raging operation might push the Taliban towards a peaceful resolution.