ISLAMABAD: Uzbekistan on Monday shared with Pakistan its plan for an international railway route connecting the two countries via Afghanistan.
Visiting Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister Elyor Ganiev briefed Prime Minister Imran Khan on the project. “The Uzbek deputy prime minister … gave a detailed briefing on the transport railway corridor Uzbekistan-Mazar-i-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar,” the Prime Minister Office said in a statement after the meeting.
Mr Ganiev’s delegation included deputy ministers for investment, international trade and transport.
PM Khan said the railways link would not only benefit Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asian republics, but would also enhance connectivity of the region with China and Europe. He also stressed the importance of reinforcing political, economic, energy and cultural collaboration between Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
PM Khan had earlier met Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in Beijing in April this year. The meeting had focused on bilateral relations and connectivity.
The Uzbek delegation earlier held talks at the Foreign Office on promoting bilateral relations, and economic and trade cooperation. The two sides also discussed regional and international developments. The meeting reviewed the decisions taken at the leadership level during their earlier interactions.
Mr Ganiev led the Uzbek delegation at the talks, while Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi headed the Pakistani side.
The two sides agreed to increase the volume of bilateral trade to $300 million.
Mr Qureshi, according to an FO statement, expressed Pakistan’s desire to strengthen its ties with West Asian countries.
Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister Ganiev also called on Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the GHQ.
The two discussed matters of mutual interest, including regional security and connectivity, according to a press release issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations.
The army chief said Uzbekistan is a brotherly country and cooperation between both will not only help in improving peace and stability in the region, but also usher in economic prosperity.
Mr Ganiev appreciated the role of the Pakistan Army in battling the scourge of terrorism in the country and for maintenance of peace and stability in the region.
Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2019