ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Thursday to attend the 19th meeting of the Council of the Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
The prime minister met the Kyrgyz president to discuss bilateral relations and had an informal interaction with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Social media ran a photograph in which Prime Minister Khan and President Putin were seen shaking hands and smiling at each other.
A senior official of the Prime Minister House said it was a brief meeting which took place when the two leaders were walking to the venue of a dinner, which was attended by other dignitaries scheduled to participate in the conference.
According to TV news channels, Prime Minister Khan had an informal meeting with the Russian president and discussed matters of mutual interest.
Later, Prime Minister Khan also held a cordial meeting with Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Sharipovich Jeenbekov. According to the PM Office, the prime minister congratulated the Kyrgyz president on hosting the SCO summit and the latter appreciated Pakistan’s role in the organisation.
The two leaders reviewed bilateral relations and agreed to comprehensively upgrade mutual cooperation in diverse fields.
Both leaders agreed to strengthen land and air connectivity between Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan. They also agreed to set up a joint ministerial commission and hold bilateral political consultations soon.
The two sides agreed to enhance people-to-people contacts and boost tourism cooperation through friendly visa regimes.
Prime Minister Khan invited the Kyrgyz president to visit Pakistan.
Earlier, Prime Minister Khan was received by his Kyrgyz counterpart Mukhammedkalyi Abylgaziev and Kyrgyz Minister for Health Kosmosbek Sarievich Cholponbaev on his arrival in Bishkek.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Special Assistant to the PM on Youth Affairs Mohammad Usman Dar are accompanying the prime minister.
Prime Minister Khan will remain in Bishkek on Friday to attend the SCO conference. Besides Pakistan, the SCO’s membership comprises China, Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, whereas Afghanistan, Iran, Belarus and Mongolia are SCO observers.
The Council of Heads of State is the highest forum of the SCO which discusses and defines strategy, prospects and priorities of the organisation.
Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2019