Samarkand, 16 September 2022 (TDI): Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif had a bilateral meeting with the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on the sidelines of the SCO Council of Heads of State meeting in Samarkand today.

Both leaders were in Samarkand, Uzbekistan to attend the two-day SCO Summit.

During the meeting, President Tokayev conveyed sympathies and condolences over the devastation caused by unprecedented climate change-induced floods in Pakistan.

The Prime Minister thanked the Kazakh President for the support and solidarity extended by Kazakhstan. He updated him about the colossal losses in terms of human lives and damage to crops, livestock, and critical infrastructure, caused by climate change. The Prime Minister stressed the need for urgent global action to deal with this global threat.

The two leaders exchanged views on bilateral relations and discussed key regional and international issues. The leaders affirmed the commitment to enhance Pakistan-Kazakhstan relations in diverse fields particularly trade, investment, and transportation links.

Emphasis was laid on facilitating people-to-people contacts through liberalized visa policies to boost trade, educational links, and investments.

The two leaders exchanged views on enhancing mutual collaboration in the energy sector and agreed to undertake immediate expert-level studies in this regard. It was further agreed to finalize the bilateral Transit Trade Agreement at an early date.

The Prime Minister underlined that Pakistan was committed to comprehensively upgrading engagement with Central Asian countries through its “Vision Central Asia” policy. He particularly emphasized the importance of connectivity and Pakistan’s pivotal position in providing the shortest access route to the sea.

The Prime Minister highlighted the significance of the Trans-Afghan railway project connecting Uzbekistan to Pakistan through Afghanistan. He expressed the desire to link up the existing Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran Railway line to Pakistan. Upon completion, this project will connect Kazakhstan to Pakistan under the existing framework of railway lines.

To promote regional integration, they also decided to enhance connectivity through land and air routes.

The Prime Minister also underscored the importance of peace and stability in Afghanistan for Pakistan and the region. He stressed that the international community had to remain engaged to support the Afghan people, address urgent humanitarian needs, and take steps to stabilize the economy.

Furthermore, stressed that sustainable peace and security in Afghanistan would contribute to regional peace, connectivity, and progress.

The two leaders agreed to increase the frequency of high-level political exchanges.

The Prime Minister reiterated his invitation to President Tokayev to visit Pakistan. President Tokayev renewed his invitation to the Prime Minister further the next CICA Summit in Nur Sultan.