Islamabad - Turkey has donated 15,000 doses of meningitis vaccine for Pakistan’s intending Hajj pilgrims during a ceremony held here at the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony on Wednesday.

Turkish Ambassador Sadik Babur Girgin handed over the vaccine to Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Sardar Muhammad Yousaf. The vaccine worth Rs 40.65 million would be administered to pilgrims at the time of training at Haji camps before leaving for Saudi Arabia.

The ministry will purchase the rest of the vaccine doses, about 130,000, on its own for pilgrims. The pilgrims are vaccinated against various diseases before leaving for Saudi Arabia. Talking on the occasion, Sardar Muhammad Yousaf said Pakistan and Turkey have been enjoying exemplary relations since the era of Ottoman Caliphate. “Both the countries are enjoying cordial relations based on mutual trust and harmony. Turkey has always extended utmost help to Pakistan during pressing times.”

Referring to the Turkish help during the 2005 earthquake, he said Turkey had extended valuable help to Pakistan for rehabilitation and reconstruction of the destroyed buildings and infrastructure in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He appreciated the help extended from Light House, a Turkish NGO in education sector including the help in construction of 10 additional blocks of Hazara University.

The Turkish ambassador remarked the brotherly relations between Turkey and Pakistan would grow further with the passage of time. He said the vaccine is a gift of Turkish people to the people of Pakistan. Turkey also donated the vaccine last year for Pakistani pilgrims.