Pak – Uzbek Leaders for Poverty Alleviation, Strong Trade & Economic Relations

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Tashkent; 15 July 2021 – Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said with Pakistan and Uzbekistan sharing the same objective of lifting their people out of poverty, increased and strong trade and economic relations would be mutually beneficial and a win-win for the two sides.

“Uzbekistan can benefit from Pakistan’s geo-strategic location, a market of 220 million people and providing access to the Middle East and Africa, While Pakistan can have access to the Central Asian states through Uzbekistan, an important country of the region,” he remarked.

President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, in his remarks, said Uzbekistan wanted to have robust political and economic relations with Pakistan, which was a strong country in South Asia.

He said since Uzbekistan and Pakistan had a strong and historic relationship, rooted in similar values and culture, the visit of Prime Minister Imran along with a large delegation would help further strengthen the ties.

The Uzbek president also expressed his pleasure over the signing of a Joint Agreement on Strategic Partnership as well as the trade agreements worth US $ 500 million signed between the two private sector businessmen.

Prime Minister Imran said the realization and implementation of railway project from Uzbekistan to Pakistan would strengthen connectivity for the mutual benefit.

The prime minister expressed these views while addressing a joint press conference with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev after holding an in-depth discussion on various issues of mutual interest.

Stressing on the importance of economic cooperation, Imran Khan said the two countries were following similar visions of a new Uzbekistan and a new Pakistan to lift their people out of poverty through a welfare state.

It was a model of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), who established the first welfare state and ensured inclusive development by taking care of the poor and downtrodden, he added.

China, he said, pursued the same strategy to lift their people out of poverty.

The prime minister said Pakistan with a shift in from geo-strategic to geo-economics, wanted to strengthen its trade and economic relations. Pakistan’s strong trade relations with Uzbekistan, which was a big country in Central Asia, would be a win-win for the two countries.

He said Pakistan’s seriousness to have strong trade and economic relations could be gauged from the visit of biggest-ever country’s trade delegation comprising representatives of 130 large business houses.

The prime minister said when he was leaving for Tashkent, he received messages from a number of Pakistani businessmen expressing their desire to be part of the delegation.

He welcomed the agreements signed between the two countries private sectors, saying it was very important and would benefit both Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

Imran Khan said Pakistan wanted to benefit from the expertise of Uzbekistan, which manufactured agricultural implements.

Besides, he said, Pakistan had also sought help and cooperation from Uzbekistan in cotton seed.

Lauding the passion of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on a railway project from Pakistan to Uzbekistan through Peshawar, Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif, the prime minister said it was the very project for regional connectivity and assured that his government would fully pursue and push for its realization.

He said during the talks, the two sides also discussed the situation in Afghanistan. As the brotherly people of Afghanistan were suffering from hardships for the last 40 years, now there should be peace and peaceful settlement, he added.

He said the two sides also agreed to arrange a meeting of foreign ministers of Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Iran and Turkey before a summit level meeting to discuss the Afghan situation and find a way to avoid civil war in the brotherly country.

The prime minister further said that in order to strengthen cultural relations between Pakistan and Uzbekistan, the two sides had decided to make a film on Zaheeruddin Babar, a ruler of Mughal era in Hindustan, which was a super power of that time and owned 25% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He said the youth of Pakistan and Uzbekistan must know the history and culture of Muslims and their leaders. They could also make films on Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Mirza Ghalib and Imam Bukhari, he added.

Imran Khan said when the people of two countries got closer through enhanced cultural exchanges and relations, he would also introduce and work for the promotion of cricket in Uzbekistan.

The prime minister thanked the Uzbek side for the warm hospitality given to him and his delegation. It was his first visit to Uzbekistan, and he and his delegation were  very excited to visit the historic cities of Bukhara and Samarkand on Friday, he said.

Imran Khan on the occasion also invited the Uzbek President to visit Pakistan, which the latter accepted and said he looked forward to visit Pakistan at the earliest.

President Mirziyoyev, while highlighting the importance of people-to-people contacts and cultural exchanges, said the people of Uzbekistan were keen to see the historical mosques and places in Lahore.

Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a Joint Declaration on the Establishment of Strategic Partnership.

They also witnessed the signing of agreements and memorandums of understanding (MOUs) for cooperation in the areas of transit trade, military education, simplification of visa procedures for businessmen and tourists, cultural exchanges, and tourism.

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