The leaders of Pakistan and Uzbekistan held a virtual meeting on Wednesday to discuss ways of enhancing bilateral cooperation, with a particular focus on trade, security, and defense.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev also underscored the importance of Trans-Afghan Railway Line Project, which was agreed between Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan earlier this year. The project will link the Central Asian transport network with Pakistan’s seaports of Gwadar, Karachi, and Qasim. Once completed, the initiative will transform the geo-economic dynamics of the entire region, according to Khan.
Underlining the need for early finalization of a preferential trade deal and transit trade agreement between the two countries, Khan said they will bolster collaboration in the fields of economy, defense, education, culture, and tourism.
Highlighting Islamabad’s economic security paradigm and its shifting focus to geo-economics, he said Central Asia is a region of particular importance in this vision.
The two leaders also discussed global and regional matters of mutual interest, and reaffirmed their commitment to continue supporting each other at all international and regional forums, the statement said.
Khan apprised Mirziyoyev of the latest situation in Indian-administered Kashmir and underlined the need for a peaceful resolution of the long-running dispute over the Himalayan territory.
He also spoke about Pakistan’s efforts to facilitate the Afghan peace process, stressing that the current situation is a historic opportunity that must be seized by Afghans to achieve an inclusive, broad-based, and comprehensive negotiated political settlement, the statement added.
The leaders agreed to boost people-to-people contacts, including through religious tourism.
The two countries inked several agreements and memorandums of understanding, including for developing further cooperation in the field of agriculture, mutual recognition in the fields of conformity assessment of products, standardization, metrology and technical assistance, and an agreement on defense cooperation, according to the statement.
Mirziyoyev reiterated his invitation to Khan to attend the high-level International Conference on Regional Connectivity in Tashkent in July this year.
Khan also invited the Uzbek leader to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience.