Strong Pakistan-Uzbekistan trade, economic ties to ensure win-win situation: PM Imran Khan

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Prime Minister Imran Khan and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev shake hands after their meeting. — Photo courtesy: Radio Pakistan

TASHKENT, July 15 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said with Pakistan and Uzbekistan sharing the same objective of lifting their people from poverty, increased and strong bilateral trade and economic relations would be mutually beneficial to a win-win situation for the two sides.

“Uzbekistan can benefit from Pakistan’s geo-strategic location, a market of 220 million people and providing access to Middle East and Africa, While Pakistan can have access to Central Asian States through Uzbekistan, an important country of the region,” he remarked.

The Prime Minister expressed these views while addressing a joint press conference with the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev after holding an in-depth discussion on various issues of mutual interest.

Stressing on the importance of economic cooperation, he said the two countries were following similar visions of the new Uzbekistan and new Pakistan to lift their people out of poverty through a welfare state.

The Prime Minister said that it was a model of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) who established the first welfare state and ensured inclusive development by taking care of the poor and downtrodden.

He mentioned that China pursued the same strategy to lift its people out of poverty.

The Prime Minister said that Pakistan with a shift in its from geo-strategic to geo-economics wanted to strengthen its trade and economic relations, adding, Pakistan’s strong trade relations with Uzbekistan, which is a big country in Central Asia, would be a win-win for the two countries.

He said that Pakistan’s seriousness to have strong trade and economic relations could be gauged from the visit of the biggest-ever country’s trade delegation comprising over 130 large business houses.

The Prime Minister said that when he was leaving for Tashkent, he received messages from a number of Pakistani businessmen expressing their desire to be part of the delegation.

He welcomed the agreements signed between the two countries private sectors and said it was very important and would benefit the two countries.

The Prime Minister said that Pakistan wanted to benefit from the expertise of Uzbekistan, which manufactured agricultural implements.

Besides, he said, Pakistan had also sought help and cooperation from Uzbekistan in cotton seed.

Lauding the passion of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on a railway project from Pakistan to Uzbekistan through Peshawar, Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif, the Prime Minister said it was very project for regional connectivity and assured that his government will fully pursue and push for realization of the project.

Imran Khan said that during the talks the two sides also discussed the situation in Afghanistan, adding, as the brotherly people of Afghanistan were suffering from hardships for the last 40 years, now there should be peace and peaceful settlement.

He said that the two sides also agreed to arrange a meeting of Foreign Ministers of Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Iran and Turkey before a summit-level meeting to discuss the Afghan situation and find a way to avoid civil war in the brotherly country,

The Prime Minister further said that in order to strengthen cultural relations between Pakistan and Uzbekistan, the two sides have decided to make a film on Zaheeruddin Babar, a ruler of the Mughal era in Hindustan, which was a superpower of that time and owned 25% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He said that the youth of Pakistan and Uzbekistan must know the history and culture of Muslims and their its leaders, adding, they can also make films on Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Mirza Ghalib and Imam Bukhari.

The Prime Minister said that when people of the two countries will get closer through enhanced cultural exchanges and relations, he will also introduce and work for the promotion of cricket in Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan-Pakistan Business Forum

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said Pakistan’s connectivity with Uzbekistan in trade and bilateral spheres would open up new avenues of prosperity in the region.

“Pakistan has immense potential to connect Central Asia with rest of the world and become a hub of trade,” the prime minister said in his address at the Uzbekistan-Pakistan Business Forum, held here in the Uzbek capital.

The forum was attended by a large number of businessmen from Pakistan and Uzbekistan besides the delegation of prime minister including Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi, National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf and Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Minister for Information Technology Atif Khan.

Prime Minister Imran Khan assured the businessmen and traders of Uzbekistan that Pakistan would extend them every possible facilitation in promotion of trade.

“I want to assure the business community of Uzbekistan that this relationship is just the beginning of the journey of development and prosperity,” he said.

The prime minister said the railway project among Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan would prove to be a revolution of development.

The prime minister stressed that to exploit the region’s potential, peace and security in the neighbourhood was essential.

On the situation in Afghanistan, he said peace in the war-torn country was important to ensure materialization of development projects in Central Asia.

“Pakistan is keen for peace in Afghanistan and considers it vital for trade connectivity among the regional countries,” he said, adding that such trade linkages helped in raising the living standards of the citizens.

Imran Khan referred to the cooperation among the neighbouring countries of the European Union, that focused on bilateral trade arrangements for the benefit of their people.

He hoped that with the support and will of the regional States, the situation in Afghanistan would lead to improvement.

The prime minister said Pakistan and Uzbekistan enjoyed relations rooted in common faith, culture and history and offered a unique dimension to the two nations to explore each other in diverse areas.

Earlier, Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov in his speech mentioned the strong ties between Pakistan and Uzbekistan in multiple areas of cooperation.

He welcomed PM Imran Khan on his official visit to Uzbekistan, which he said would usher in a new area of cooperation and joint ventures between the two brotherly countries.

Speaking to media in Tashkent, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan and Uzbekistan had vast potential to explore the opportunities of bilateral trade and investment for their mutual interest.

The foreign minister, who is part of the official delegation of Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to Tashkent and attended the Pak-Uzbek Business Forum, said the business community from the two sides showed immense interest in bilateral engagement.

He mentioned that the Pak-Uzbek Business Forum was attended by around 130 representatives of leading companies and business houses from Pakistan.

He said the activity resulted in signing of agreements worth $453 million and hoped that it would lead to further strengthening of bilateral trade.

Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said two important objectives of the prime minister’s visit were to ensure travel facilities among Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan and to deliberate upon ways to ensure peace in Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan desired an effective trade linkage up to Uzbekistan and other Central Asian states.

“We want an effective transportation infrastructure so that the goods loaded from Pakistan’s Karachi and Gwadar seaports could reach Uzbekistan’s Tashkent,” he said in a video message from the Uzbek capital.

He hoped that such measure would increase trade with Uzbekistan “manifold”, and also mentioned the excellent efforts made by the Ministry of Commerce in this regard.

The information minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan, at tomorrow’s important conference on peace in Afghanistan, would highlight Pakistan’s stance on the significance of regional connectivity for a strong economy.

He expressed gratitude to the government of Uzbekistan for extending a warm welcome to the prime minister and his delegation and said the visit would “open up new vistas of economic opportunities between Pakistan and Uzbekistan, and the rest of Central Asia.