At the invitation of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Muhammad Nawaz Sharif arrived in our country on an official visit on November 17.
The official ceremony of meeting the Prime Minister of Pakistan was organized at the Kuksaroy country residence. The guard of honor lined up in honor of the distinguished guest. Islam Karimov and Nawaz Sharif rose to the podium to pay tribute to the national anthems of our two countries.
During the meeting the two sides discussed issues pertinent to the current state and prospects of cooperation between our two nations, along with the consolidation of regional security.
“In Pakistan we see not only the historically close neighbor, but also a country, which – owing to its enormous political, economic, military-technical and human potential, favorable geopolitical position, balanced foreign policy – today plays a leading role in regional politics, addressing major international issues,” President Islam Karimov noted. “We consider your present official visit as an important new stage in the long-term Uzbek-Pakistani relations, as a vivid manifestation of the parties’ willingness to continue with the open and trust-based dialogue at a high level on topical issues of bilateral, regional and international affairs, and to afford an additional impetus to our diversified and mutually beneficial cooperation.”
In his turn, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stressed, “I am extremely pleased that once again I am in such a great country like Uzbekistan. Dear Mr. President, as a result of your wise and far-sighted policy Uzbekistan enjoys peace and stability, and has been steadily advancing in all walks of life. The proof of this is in the fact that despite the difficulties in the global economy, the GDP growth in Uzbekistan in recent years has continuously exceeded 8 percent. Thanks to these regular contacts at the highest level, like our meeting today, we will continue to increase trade and economic ties, cement security cooperation and expand interaction in the energy sector.”
Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan were established on May 10, 1992. The political dialogue at different levels has demonstrated regularity. This contributes to the progressive development of interaction, coordination of approaches on international and regional issues.
Uzbekistan’s significant economic potential, geostrategic position, advanced infrastructure are important for Pakistan. In turn, Pakistan is a promising partner for our country for its role in providing for regional security, the opportunity of entering its market and accessing seaports.
Both sides support each other in the international arena. At the last Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Ufa Summit in July, the parties adopted a decision to start the process of Pakistan’s accession to the SCO. That will serve as another factor in the enlargement of mutually advantageous and multilateral cooperation between our two countries.
Uzbekistan and Pakistan, as close neighbors of Afghanistan, are equally interested in establishing peace and stability in that country. This creates the possibility of a direct transport corridor between the two countries, further expansion of trade and economic ties.
Islam Karimov and Nawaz Sharif especially highlighted the Afghan question, which is important for further development of cooperation. The sides agreed that the Afghan problem can only be solved through exclusively peaceful political negotiations under the auspices of the UN and the truce of warring parties. They also discussed issues related to strengthening regional security, countering terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking.
At the talks the sides exchanged views on the further development of trade-economic, investment, cultural and humanitarian cooperation.
42 documents in various fields have been signed between our countries. Agreements on trade and economic cooperation, mutual investment incentives and protection of investments, avoidance of double taxation, prevention of evasion from payment of income tax serve for the advancement of trade and economic ties.
Uzbekistan exports cotton fiber, raw stock, transport and tourist services to Pakistan. Pakistan exports medicines, chemicals and agricultural products to our country, provides transportation services.
57 companies have been created in our country with the participation of Pakistani capital. They work in such fields as trade, textiles, leather goods, food production, paper, provision of services in the sphere of transport and tourism. Pakistani businesspeople took an active part at the International Investment Forum held recently in Tashkent.
During the talks it was noted that the current level of trade turnover does not correspond to the potential of the economies and capacities of the two countries. The sides discussed issues pertinent to cashing in the untapped resources, increasing the volume and diversification of the range of bilateral trade. It was agreed to intensify the work of the Uzbek-Pakistani intergovernmental commission on trade-economic and scientific-technical cooperation, to conduct its meetings on a regular basis.
The two parties stressed that the consistent development of relations between Uzbekistan and Pakistan serve the long-term interests of not only these two nations, but also has a positive impact on the consolidation of security, trade and economic, communications and cultural ties in the region as a whole.
The histories of Uzbekistan and Pakistan in many ways are interrelated, and the scientific and creative heritage of our ancestors has become the common legacy of both peoples. It provides for a solid basis for the development of our cultural and humanitarian ties. The Uzbekistan-Pakistan Friendship Society operating since 1991 has organized numerous academic and cultural events. Representatives of the two countries are actively involved in the diverse concerts, festivals and exhibitions, sports competitions ongoing in Uzbekistan and Pakistan. In particular, Pakistani artists regularly participate in the Sharq Taronalari International Music Festival in Samarkand.
Pakistan has organized conferences devoted to the life and activities of Abu Ali Ibn Sino, Alisher Navoi, Zahiriddin Muhammad Babur. The works of Uzbek scientists, poets and writers have been translated into Urdu. In 2009, the office of Urdu language and literature has been opened at Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies. The Institute’s specialists published Urdu-Uzbek Dictionary and the Dictionary of Common Words in Uzbek and Urdu.
Our two nations also have enormous potential in the tourism sector. There are many people in Pakistan who wish to attend the historical monuments, sacred places of worship in Uzbekistan.
Following the talks, Islam Karimov and Nawaz Sharif signed a Joint Declaration between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The sides also signed a number of documents on the expansion of bilateral trade relations, the creation of additional incentives in the tax area, the consolidation of cooperation between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs.
At the meeting with media representatives, the President of Uzbekistan and the Prime Minister of Pakistan pointed out that in the course of open and constructive dialogue they exchanged views on topical issues in the bilateral relationship, those of regional and international importance. It was emphasized that this visit and agreements achieved within its framework are to open a new page and give an additional impetus to the development of long-term and mutually beneficial cooperation between our countries.