Gilani seeks Kazakh support in trade, energy sectors

Kazakhstan: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and his Kazakh counterpart Karim Massimov on Wednesday discussed ways to broaden the canvas of bilateral cooperation in the fields of economic, energy, communications and defence. The two leaders exchanged views on a whole range of  bilateral, regional and international issues, in a meeting held  at the Government House, which was followed by delegation-level talks. Prime Minister Gilani’s visit to Kazakhstan, is the first bilateral by a Pakistani leader to this Central Asian state in 16 years after prime minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s visit in 1995.

Prime Minister Gilani and Prime Minister Massimov agreed to enhance interaction between the leaderships of the two countries, foreign ministers, parliamentarians and the business community to promote people-to-people contacts.They also agreed to facilitate businessmen of both sides by relaxing visa regimes, holding of bilateral business forums and single country exhibitions and launching of joint ventures in the sectors of pharmaceuticals, cement, engineering goods and automobiles.

The talks also covered economy, trade, agriculture, industry, defense, and defense production.Both the countries agreed to form an inter-governmental commission that would provide a mechanism to translate the vision of relations into a reality between the two countries and also conceptualize new areas for co-operation on regular basis. The two prime ministers also agreed to have regular consultations between the two foreign ministers.

Prime Minister Gilani said Pakistan also attached particular importance to enhancing cultural and educational relations between the two countries.At a joint press statement after their talks, the two prime  ministers termed the bilateral interaction of Pakistani and Kazakh leadership after 16 years as “very important.”Prime Minister Gilani said Pakistan offers lucrative investment opportunities particularly in the fields of energy and hyrdo-power generation, and added that Kazakhstan could benefit from this idea.  He said Pakistan believed that creation of economic opportunities for the people would help the efforts to eliminate extremism and illegal drug trafficking.

He said the meeting discussed ways to enhance cooperation  between the armed forces of Pakistan and Kazakhstan and  the security institutions by establishing a mechanism to exchange information on counter-terrorism and drug trafficking.Kazakh Prime Minister Massimov said Pakistan was playing a very important role in the regional stability and lauded  efforts for counter-terrorism.Gilani said Pakistan attaches great importance to the bilateral relations with Kazakhstan and considers it an important regional, political and economic player linking the Eurasia region.  He said Pakistan looked forward to continued engagement to further expand and deepen relationship for mutual benefit of the two peoples.

Prime Minister Massimov stressed the need for taking bilateral  relations between the two countries to new heights by  strengthening trade relations in particular.He highlighted the importance of people-to-people contacts for fortifying the Pak-Kazakh relations since the two countries share rich heritage and common values.He said the visit of a Pakistani prime minister to Kazakhstan in 16 years was significant to bring very positive results for the two countries and two nations.He said the two countries are very close having similar traditions and stressed the need for their interaction more often.Prime Minister Gilani said Kazakhstan was an important country and close neighbour with whom Islamabad shared a long history and close civilizational interaction.

Gilani said Pakistan and Kazakhstan had shared perspectives on all regional and global issues and together they can realize the potential for development and peace for our people and the region as a whole.The Prime Minister said the fruitful exchange of views on enhancing connectivity between the two countries and developing effective transportation and communication links holds the key to jump-start the trade and people to people ties.Prime Minister Gilani offered use of Pakistan’s ports for overland trade, and added his country would be happy to provide special facilities for Kazakh trade.Prime Minister Massimov appreciated the proposals mooted during the talks and said he would go through all these to initiate the process of consultation for the mutual benefit of the peoples of the both countries.

The Kazakh Prime Minister urged Prime Minister Gilani to commence a direct flight of PIA between the two capitals, Islamabad and Astana, as it was only two and half hours flight,  taking less time than the domestic flights operating in both the countries.The Prime Minister was of the view that the commencement of direct flight would justify the decision both in qualitative and in quantitative terms eventually as the trade and exchanges at all levels will get a boost to great proportions.

The dividends will be immense in the long run, the Prime Minister observed.On the proposals of connectivity, the Kazak Prime Minister said that the rail link between China and Kazakhstan would be established in December this year and it would be equally beneficial for Pakistan if it connects with the rail link which will consequently lead to realization of massive trade potentials between three countries besides strengthening the bonds among the peoples.

Prime Minister Gilani said regional stability and peace was a matter of common concern to both the countries who can work  together to promote prospects of stability and peace in Afghanistan.  He said Pakistan wanted sovereign, independent, peaceful  and stable Afghanistan and supported the Afghan-led  and Afghan-owned reconciliation process in the country. Pakistan is  part of the solution of Afghanistan and not part of problem, Gilani stated.Prime Minister Karim Massimov said his country supported Pakistan’s initiative of reconciliation process in Afghanistan and also recognized its role as vital to bring peace in Afghanistan, equally important for the region.

Prime Minister Gilani extended an invitation to the President and the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan to visit Pakistan at a date convenient to them.The delegation-level meeting was attended by Minister for Production Anwar Ali Cheema, Governor Punjab Sardar Latif Khosa, Senator Ghulam Ali (JUI), Member National Assembly Qamar Zaman Kaira, Secretary Defence Lt. Gen. (Retd) Syed Athar Ali, Ambassador Akhtar Tufail and businessman Faisal Ahmad – APP