Imran khan’s visit enhanced prospectus for regional cooperation and integration: President Ashraf Ghani
Mr. Bakhtyar reiterated dedication for multilateral regional connectivity to ensure positive-sum economic gains
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has termed the recent visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Afghanistan as an important milestone in strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries. He expressed these views during the 19th Ministerial conference of Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation virtually held on Monday. The Afghan President said the visit has enhanced prospects for regional cooperation and integration. Federal Minister for economic affairs makhdum khusro bakhtyar participated in the 19th ministerial conference of Central Asia regional economic cooperation (carec) virtually held on 7th December, 2020. President of Afghanistan Mr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani while delivering his special message, especially appreciated Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent visit to Kabul. He termed PM Imran Khan’s visit an important milestone in strengthening bilateral ties and enhancing prospects for regional cooperation and integration. CAREC Program is a partnership of 11 countries and 6 development partners working together to promote development through cooperation, leading to accelerated economic growth and poverty reduction. It is guided by the overarching vision of “Good Neighbors, Good Partners, and Good Prospects.” The ministers & senior representatives of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan also addressed to the conference. Senior representatives of ADB, IMF, WB, AIIB, IDB, EBRD, EIB, OFID, USAID, UN Agencies, WTO, and JICA also attended the Conference. The Minister, in his remarks, highlighted the significance of regional cooperation such as CAREC for Pakistan in achieving shared goals of sustainable development and economic growth. Mr. Bakhtyar reiterated the importance of regional connectivity not only through road networks but also a rail, aviation and ports for unleashing trade and tourism potential in the region. While endorsing the Framework, he emphasized that by setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) targets along with active monitoring & annual reporting, we can effectively monitor the progress leading to the implementation of CAREC’s Vision 2030. The Minister highlighted that tourism is part of the national development policy of the Government of Pakistan and this sector contains immense untapped potential. He suggested the development of a regional tourism corridor, the establishment of CAREC Business Council, and increased involvement of the private sector in promoting tourism. He further highlighted that the incumbent government is focusing on facilitating the private sector for increased investment. He also suggested an enhanced visa facilitation regime in the form of “CAREC Sticker” for certain categories within the region. The Minister highlighted that in order to expand trade between the CAREC countries; Transit Trade Agreements amongst member countries leading to the Regional Free Trade Agreement (RFTA) may be considered. The Minister endorsed the long term CAREC strategies to promote regional tourism and gender mainstreaming. Furthermore, CAREC enables the member countries to share thoughts and provide input for the long-term strategic frameworks to achieve envisaged regional cooperation goals. He also suggested the CAREC institute to conduct comprehensive studies identifying underlying gaps and including roadmaps on mutually beneficial topics. Pakistan attaches high importance to CAREC as it is aligned with our national priorities of regional integration and cooperation, the Minister stated.