Pakistan, Uzbekistan set up strategic partnership

PM Imran seeks access to access to Central Asian states in talks with Uzbek president


APP July 15, 2021
The prime minister arrived in Tashkent earlier today on an official two-day visit to Uzbekistan on the invitation of His Excellency President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. PHOTOS: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD:

Pakistan and Uzbekistan on Thursday reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen their fraternal ties based on religious, cultural and historical commonalities.

Moreover, the two countries, expressing satisfaction at the continued progress in bilateral relations, announced the establishment of strategic partnership for the mutual benefit of the two nations.

Prime Minister Imran Khan and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev after holding wide ranging bilateral talks, signed the Joint Declaration on the Establishment of Strategic Partnership between, with a focus on increased cooperation in the areas of trade and economy.

The development took place during Premier Imran’s two-day (July 15-16) visit to Uzbekistan on the invitation of President Mirziyoyev.

Prime Minister Imran Khan 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,” Premier Imran expressed these views while addressing a joint news conference with the Uzbe President Shavkat Mirziyoyev after holding an in-depth discussion on various issues of mutual interest.

Stressing on the importance of economic cooperation, PM Imran 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.

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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.

Imran said that Pakistan with a shift in its from geo-strategic to geo-economics wanted to strengthen its trade and economic relations, adding that 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.

He 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, saying it was very important and would benefit the two countries.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad and Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, who accompanied PM Imran, and the relevant ministers from Uzbekistan signed the agreements on behalf of their respective sides.

The agreements and MoUs signed included Protocol on the Exchange of Pre-arrival Information on Goods moved across the State Border; Uzbekistan and Pakistan on Transit Trade (AUPTT); Protocol on Cooperation in the Field of Military Education; Simplification of Visa Procedures for Businessmen and Tourist Groups; MoU between Foreign Service Academy of Pakistan and University of World Economy and Diplomacy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan; Cultural Exchange Programme 2021-2026; and MoU on Matters relating to Tourism.

During their meeting, Premier Imran and President Mirziyoyev exchanged views on the current status of bilateral relations in all areas of mutual interest and agreed to further strengthen their multifaceted ties in political, trade and economic, energy, communication, science and technology, education and cultural spheres.

The two leaders also exchanged views on issues of international and regional significance including the situation related to Covid-19 and agreed to build further cooperation in this regard.

Imran and Mirziyoyev agreed to expand multifaceted bilateral cooperation in all areas of mutual interest and stressed the importance of closer coordination based on coinciding positions in the international arena. To this end, the leaders decided to use the existing political and economic mechanisms between the two countries, including consultations between Ministries of Foreign Affairs.

The prime minister underlined the importance of structured engagement between Pakistan and Uzbekistan under the five pillars of Pakistan’s ‘Vision Central Asia’ policy – political, trade and investment, energy and connectivity, security and defence, and people-to-people contacts.

The prime minister also outlined his vision of “Naya” Pakistan embedded in values of social justice, education for all, peace, prosperity and economic development of the people.

The leaders expressed satisfaction at the level of bilateral cooperation within the framework of international organisations and reaffirmed their commitment to continue supporting each other in the UN, SCO, OIC, ECO and other international and regional forums on issues of mutual interest.

As members of the UN Human Rights Council, the parties expressed their readiness for joint action to suppress violations of human rights and counter Islamophobia, as well as strengthening interfaith harmony.

The PM emphasised on the urgent need for peaceful resolution of all outstanding regional disputes and conflicts to fully utilise the enormous potential of connectivity between Central Asia and South Asia

The leaders discussed the security situation in detail in Afghanistan and the ongoing peace process. The parties stressed the necessity to resolve the conflict through Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political process through peaceful and inclusive negotiations resulting in comprehensive political settlement.

President of Uzbekistan highly appreciated the role of Pakistan in promoting the peace process in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s contributions to socio-economic development of the country.

The prime minister hailed Uzbekistan's efforts for the socio-economic reconstruction of Afghanistan through the implementation of a number of significant projects, the main one of which is the construction of the Termez-Mazar-i-Sharif – Kabul – Peshawar railway.

The leaders stressed the importance of regional integration and connectivity as a cornerstone of economic development and progress. In this regard, they welcomed the exchange of high-level visits in the areas of trade, railways, transport and aviation.

The two leaders reiterated their support for the Termez-Mazar-i-Sharif – Kabul – Peshawar railway project as an important initiative to create a rail link from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea through Afghanistan and the Pakistani seaports of Karachi, Gwadar and Bin Qasim.

The parties also welcomed the proposed expedition of representatives of the relevant ministries and departments of Uzbekistan and Pakistan along the route of the railway line in near future with appropriate security measures for the representatives of both sides.

The two leaders also recognised immense potential of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor for the benefit of the entire Central Asian region and beyond entailing greater connectivity and trade linkages through a network of transport, fiber optic cable, energy pipelines, and investment opportunities in its SEZs.

The Uzbek side accepted the invitation with appreciation. The dates of the visit will be agreed through diplomatic channels.

This declaration was signed on July 15, 2021, in Tashkent in duplicate in Uzbek and English.

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