Pakistan, Uzbekistan express commitment to revive traditional cooperative partnership

Pakistan and Uzbekistan are linked through a common faith, shared history and cultural affinities.

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ISLAMABAD: President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan arrived here Thursday on a two-day state visit wherein he would meet the country’s leadership and discuss the bilateral ties as well as connectivity projects.

The Uzbek president was received by Prime Minister Imran Khan as he alighted from his special aircraft the Nur Khan Airbase.

The prime minister, accompanied by Federal Minister Senator Shibli Faraz, warmly welcomed the Uzbek president who is here on his first visit after assuming office in 2016.

Clad in cultural dresses, two kids presented bouquets to the guest as the cannons boomed in the backdrop to herald the arrival of the guest.

Accompanied by a high-level delegation including the cabinet members and businessmen, Shavkat Mirziyoyev is visiting Pakistan from March 3-4 at the invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan. The smartly turned-out static guards saluted the visiting dignitary as the national flags of Pakistan and Uzbekistan were lined up at the airbase as well as the route of his motorcade.

President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev was given a red-carpet welcome as he arrived here at PM Office at the start of his two-day state visit.

Prime Minister Imran Khan received the Uzbek president at the official welcome ceremony where he was also given a guard of honor by the contingents of the three services.

Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who is visiting here at the prime minister’s invitation, reviewed the guard of honor. The national anthems of both the countries were also played at the ceremony.

Later, the Uzbek president and the prime minister introduced their respective delegations to each other before proceeding for a one-on-one meeting.

The visiting dignitary also planted a sapling on the lawn of the PM Office.  This is the first visit of President Mirziyoyev to Pakistan since assuming office in 2016. Pakistan and Uzbekistan have expressed commitment to revive the traditional cooperative partnership through improved connectivity.

At a joint press stakeout with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in Islamabad on Thursday, Prime Minister Imran Khan said it is matter of satisfaction that trade between the two brotherly countries increased by 50 percent in last one year while joint ventures between the business communities of the two countries enhanced by 5 percent.

The Prime Minister said we have decided to resume direct flights between the two countries that will not only improve connectivity but will help promote tourism and trade.

He said train route with Uzbekistan will help boosting linkages with Central Asian States which will also benefit the war-torn Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister said both countries will jointly produce a film on Mughal Emperor Zahir-ud-Din Muhammad Babur.

He said he has shared his narrative on human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir to the Uzbek President.

The Prime Minister said the United Nations should fully implement the international law against human rights violations in the Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Over Afghanistan issue, the Prime Minister said we will be lobbying to unfreeze the assets of Afghanistan.

He said campaign will be launched to devise ways and suggest measures for the recognition of Afghanistan.

He is accompanied by a high-level delegation, comprising the foreign minister and other cabinet members, senior government officials, and business and media personnel.

The prime minister will also host a state banquet for the Uzbek president, who will also have a separate meeting with President Arif Alvi.

The visit also marked the historic commemoration of the 30th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Uzbekistan. Bilateral relations including cooperation in political, trade, economy, connectivity, education, culture, security, defence cooperation and situation in Afghanistan are expected to be discussed during the two sides.

Pakistan and Uzbekistan are linked through a common faith, shared history and cultural affinities.

Pakistan was one of the first countries to recognize Uzbekistan after the Soviet disintegration and subsequent liberation of Central Asian states.

The Pakistan-Uzbekistan relationship has witnessed an upward trajectory over the past few years as part of Pakistan’s policy of engagement with Central Asian countries “Vision Central Asia” policy.

The two countries have been closely collaborating at regional and international fora, especially at the United Nations, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has garnered further attention for the region. Two routes of the new Silk Road pass through Uzbekistan, connecting it to China, Iran, Turkey, West Asia and India.

The vision of the two countries is to provide a corridor to the Central Asian states through Afghanistan. A bus service had already been made fully operational, which had reduced the time of goods transportation to Moscow to 12 days from 25-30 days.

Pakistan and Uzbekistan are also working to establish a rail link, which would boost trade with the Central Asian states.

Cooperation in education, culture, joint research, media ventures including joint film on Baburi heritage and dubbing of Pakistani dramas in Uzbek language are also in the pipeline.

The visit by Uzbek President reflected the enhanced diplomatic stature of Pakistan. With this visit, the regional cooperation notion and Pakistan view-point of interdependence will get strengthened.

The visit will help in evolving understanding on common stance over Afghanistan.

Pakistan is focusing on regional connectivity with the regional countries and beyond. Engagement with Central Asian countries within the framework of “Vision Central Asia” policy, with five key strands: political and diplomatic, trade and investment, energy and connectivity, security and defence, and people-to-people relations is on the top of agenda.

Enhanced cooperation between Pakistan and Uzbekistan will complement the NorthSouth connectivity especially with regards to the CPEC.

Geo-strategic location of Pakistan is a spoke for economic connectivity leading to regional prosperity. Pakistan’s efforts to reap the benefits of its location are not only valuable for Pakistan but the other countries of the region equally.

Pakistan offers the shortest route to the Indian Ocean to all the landlocked countries of Central Asia including Uzbekistan alongside Western China. Its three main ports, Karachi port, Qasim port and the newly built Gwadar port along the Arabian Sea ensure direct connectivity and access to the Middle Eastern and African markets.

Pakistan has a huge potential for investment and economic gains and hence improved ties with neighbours will of in interest of the region.

Pakistan and Uzbekistan solidifying bilateral relations has also sent a positive message to the rest of the Central Asian Republics about Pakistan’s policy for the region that is grounded in economic cooperation, development and connectivity.

Regional future is linked to globalisation and the international system, therefore Pakistan foreign policy targets developing ties with its neighbours in the region.

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