Pakistan and Kazakhstan on Wednesday agreed to bolster bilateral ties through enhanced cooperation in trade, economy, energy, science and technology and education for the mutual benefit of two brotherly countries.
“As we move forward, we would be taking concrete steps to expand mutual cooperation in diverse fields, including regional connectivity, energy, security, education, culture, and people-to-people exchanges,” said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while addressing a joint press conference with Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
The prime minister said the two sides also agreed to strengthen economic cooperation by optimally utilising the existing institutional mechanisms, adding, the bilateral trade between the two countries was not commensurate with the actual potential and needed to be revitalized.
Nawaz Sharif said he was impressed by the remarkable political stability, social cohesion and impressive economic progress that had been achieved under the visionary and farsighted leadership of President Nazarbayev. “We wish Kazakhstan all the best on its road to progress and prosperity,” he maintained.
The Pakistani premiere said the current visit provided him the opportunity to discuss with President Nazarbayev, a wide range of subjects and they touched upon the whole spectrum of bilateral, regional and international issues.
“We are grateful to Kazakhstan for its valuable support to Pakistan for attaining full membership of Shinghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). “The people of Pakistan will always value this gesture of friendship,” he added.
He also appreciated Kazakhstan’s support to Pakistan’s successful bid to become non-permanent member of United Nations Security Council (SC) in 2012-13 and said it will happily support Kazakhstan’s candidature to the non-permanent seat of the SC for 2017-18. The two sides also reviewed the regional situation, especially with regards to peaceful and stable Afghanistan, which is vital for peace and stability in our region, he remarked.
President Nazarbayev said his country considers Pakistan as an important member of the region that was courageously fighting the war against terrorism.
He noted the deep-rooted ties between the two countries and said the current visit of the Paksitan’s PM would give further impetus to their ties established in 1992. He said Kazakhstan desired increase in exports, besides enhanced security cooperation. The president mentioned the memorandums of understanding (MoUs) inked between the two countries and said it would further strengthen their ties.
He also evinced interest in initiating trade with Pakistan through Gwadar Port. Prime Minister Sharif said there was also scope for joint ventures in textiles and pharmaceuticals, besides cooperation in oil and gas sectors. The prime minister said his visit to Astana had provided both sides the opportunity to reflect on their common goals of progress, prosperity, development, connectivity and integration of the entire region.
He expressed gratitude to President Nazarbayev, his government and the people of Kazakhstan for extending a warm welcome and generous hospitality to him and his delegation since their arrival in Astana.
“I am touched by the goodwill that the people of Kazakhstan express for Pakistan. In return, I bring with me the cordial greetings of the people of Pakistan for their Kazakh brethren,” the PM stated.
Earlier, during the talks the two leaders held discussion on bilateral relations with particular focus on ways and means to augment their trade and economic cooperation to the level that was commensurate with their deep-rooted ties.
The PM told the Kazakh president that it was his government’s top priority to transform relations with Kazakhstan into a strategic partnership and enhance bilateral cooperation in all areas, adding, economic diplomacy was high on his foreign policy agenda.
The two sides agreed that the Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) between the two countries, scheduled to meet in Astana in October this year, should suggest a road map for meaningful trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. Nawaz said the two countries should enhance their cooperation in the oil and gas sector.
It was agreed that the two countries could also cooperate closely in agriculture research and technology sector, as Pakistan had vast experience in this field. There was also scope for trade in cotton products, food items, engineering equipment and machinery and construction enterprises.
The PM said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that links the western region of China with Gwadar would be a beneficial route for the regional countries including Kazakhstan.
It was highlighted during the meeting that establishment of air and land connectivity between Pakistan and Kazakhstan would strengthen economic and trade relations between the two countries.