Pak-Uzbek leaders affirm Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan railway

By Staff Reporter
Thursday – April 15, 2021
ISLAMABAD: The prime minister (PM) Imran Khan and Uzbek president Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Wednesday, supported the project for the construction of “Termez – Mazar-e-Sharif – Kabul – Peshawar railway line,” as an important initiative to establish railway connectivity from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea through Afghanistan and Pakistani sea ports of Karachi, Gwadar and Qasim.

According to press releases, both the leaders recalling the centuries-old linkages between the peoples of the two countries highly appreciated holding of the first virtual summit as a landmark event in boosting Uzbek-Pakistan relations.

PM Khan underscored the importance of rail, road and air connectivity and highlighted the enormous potential that exists in diverse fields to build an expanded mutually beneficial partnership.

He highlighted Pakistan’s economic security paradigm and the shifting focus to geo-economics and stressed that Central Asia is a region of particular focus in this vision.

The level of progress on the Trans-Afghan railway line project, agreed between Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan earlier this year, was reviewed.

The project will be a first step in linking the Central Asian transport network with Pakistani seaports of Gwadar, Karachi and Qasim.

PM Khan stated that, once completed, the initiative will transform the geo-economic dynamics of the entire regime.

Uzbek president Mirziyoyev and PM Khan reviewed the existing status of bilateral relations and discussed its enhanced future trajectory.

They exchanged views on issues of regional and global interest, including the situation of COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

The two leaders agreed to enhance their multi-faceted bilateral cooperation in all areas of common interest. They emphasised closer coordination at international fora on issues of mutual convergence.

They decided to regularly convene existing political and economic mechanisms between the two countries, including consultations between their respective foreign ministries and to strengthen parliamentary collaboration.

The two leaders expressed satisfaction on the level of bilateral cooperation within the framework of international organisations, including at the United Nations (UN).

They reaffirmed their resolve to continue to support each other at the UN, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) and other international and regional fora.

As members of the UN Human Rights Council, the two sides expressed readiness to support joint actions to curb human rights’ violations and combating Islamophobia as well as strengthening interfaith harmony.

PM Khan apprised Uzbek president Mirziyoyev on the latest situation in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), shared Pakistan’s perspective on issues of peace and security in South Asia, and underlined the imperative of peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir (JK) dispute.

He highlighted Pakistan’s efforts to facilitate the Afghan peace process for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

PM Khan stressed that this historic opportunity must be seized by the Afghan parties to achieve an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive negotiated political settlement.

The two leaders underlined the significance of the SCO as an important platform.

The two sides exchanged views on the Afghan peace process and reaffirmed their support for a negotiated political solution for lasting peace in Afghanistan and the region.

They expressed their readiness for maintaining regular dialogue and building constructive cooperation in the area of security and defence.

The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the level of defence cooperation. In order to further promote cooperation in this area, the two leaders agreed to continue mutual participation in joint military exercises and trainings and to cooperate in the field of professional development, exchange of best practices, and collaboration between military institutions of the two countries.

They expressed readiness to expand cooperation between law enforcement agencies (LEAs) of the two countries, in particular in the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking.

The two leaders agreed that cooperation in the trade and economic sphere was a key priority to consolidate partnership between the two countries. They also recognised the enormous economic potential for a mutually beneficial relationship.

They agreed to enhance volume of bilateral trade through adopting joint measures by diversification of trade, increasing business-to-business contacts, exchange of trade delegations and extending visa facilitation.

They noted interest to increase industrial cooperation between companies and entrepreneurs of Uzbekistan and Pakistan, especially the growing inter-provincial cooperation after the visit of governor of Punjab to Namangan region of Uzbekistan.

The two sides agreed to fast track finalisation and signing of the preferential trade agreement (PTA) to enhance bilateral trade by eliminating trade barriers.

PM Khan underlined the importance of enhancing political and diplomatic linkages, fast tracking trade and economic cooperation, ensuring early finalisation of the PTA and Transit Trade Agreement (TTA), increasing security and defence cooperation, and taking steps to deepen mutual collaboration in the fields of education, culture and tourism.

They recognised the presence of huge opportunities to cooperate in spheres of agriculture, pharmaceuticals, textile, leather and chemical industry, energy and information technology. They agreed to promote mutual collaboration in these sectors.

The two leaders underscored the importance of regional integration and connectivity as cornerstone of economic development and progress. They welcomed exchange of high-level visits in the fields of trade, railway and aviation in this regard.

They showed interest to resume regular flights between Uzbekistan and Pakistan by their respective airlines after stabilisation of COVID-pandemic situation.

The importance of convening the Uzbekistan-Pakistan business week and business conference in Tashkent in July, 2021 was discussed.

Uzbek president Mirziyoyev and PM Khan recalled the long-standing cultural, historic, religious and spiritual links between the two countries.

They agreed to further enhance cultural relations and people-to-people contacts and welcomed proposals to build up collaboration between leading universities, research institutions, libraries and museums of the two countries and to conduct joint research on Baburi heritage.

They further identified development of tourism as priority area of common interest in particular the spiritual (Ziyarat) tourism between the two countries.

The two leaders signed, on the sidelines of the virtual summit, signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) for developing further cooperation in the field of agriculture.

They signed agreement on mutual recognition in the fields of conformity assessment of products, standardisation, metrology and technical assistance.

They two leaders also signed a MoU on defence cooperation.

The two leaders highly appreciated the opportunity offered by the virtual summit for productive engagement and dialogue.

They expressed confidence that the understanding reached during the summit will further deepen bilateral cooperation and contribute towards developing cooperation in a frame of multi-dimensional relationship.

They agreed to continue the summit-level political dialogue in future.

Uzbek president Mirziyoyev re-confirmed his invitation to PM Khan, to attend the high-level international conference on regional connectivity to be held in July 2021.

The PM thanked the Uzbek president and reiterated his invitation to him to visit Pakistan at a convenient time.