ISLAMABAD: The Ambassador of Uzbekistan, Mr. Oybek Usmanov, paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister.
The Ambassador conveyed warm greetings from the President of Uzbekistan for Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif and said that President Shavkat Mirziyeyov was looking forward to welcome the Prime Minister to the SCO Summit at Samarkand next month.
The Prime Minister highlighted Pakistan’s vision for deeper engagement with Central Asia and the important role of Uzbekistan in this regard. He expressed satisfaction at the level of close and fraternal relations between Pakistan and Uzbekistan and emphasized the importance of further deepening bilateral trade and economic ties.
The Prime Minister underlined the significance of Trans-Afghan Railway Project to advance the connectivity agenda and promote regional prosperity. He also invited Uzbek investments in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) of Pakistan, particularly in industrial, electronics and agricultural sectors, which would accrue mutual benefits.
Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif underscored the need to urgently operationalize the Transit Trade Agreement and Preferential Trade Agreement in order to fully unlock the immense bilateral economic potential. He also reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to provide transit access to Central Asian Republics to the ports of Karachi, Bin Qasim and Gwadar.
The Prime Minister stressed closer collaboration in education, tourism and cultural spheres to promote people-to-people contacts. He underlined the importance of direct air connectivity in this context and urged upon the respective national airlines to start operations at the earliest to facilitate the movement of businessmen, students and tourists between the two countries.
While highlighting convergent perspectives of Pakistan and Uzbekistan on regional issues, the Prime Minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s strong resolve for lasting peace, security and stability of Afghanistan.