ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said the Trans-Afghan Railway Line Project, agreed between Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan earlier this year, would transform the geo-economic dynamics of the entire Central Asian region.
The project would be the first step in linking the Central Asian transport network with Pakistani seaports of Gwadar, Karachi and Bin Qasim, the prime minister said while speaking at the virtual meeting with Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
During the meeting, wide-ranging talks were held. The two leaders exchanged views on bilateral, regional and international issues. They also reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations with particular focus on political, trade, security and defence, and educational and cultural domains.
The two leaders reiterated their determination to maintain the momentum of high-level exchanges and enhance the upward trajectory of bilateral relations.
The prime minister underlined the importance of enhancing political and diplomatic linkages, fast tracking trade and economic cooperation, ensuring early finalisation of the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) and Transit Trade Agreement (TTA), increasing security and defence cooperation, and taking steps to deepen mutual collaboration in the fields of education, culture and tourism.
He also underscored the importance of rail, road and air connectivity and highlighted the enormous potential which existed in diverse fields to build an expanded and mutually-beneficial partnership. The prime minister highlighted Pakistan’s economic and security paradigm and its shifting focus to geo-economics.
The two leaders also discussed important global and regional matters of mutual interest and agreed to continue supporting each other at all international and regional forums, including the UN, OIC, SCO and ECO.
The prime minister apprised the Uzbekistan president of the latest situation in occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
He also highlighted Pakistan’s efforts to facilitate the Afghan peace process. Mr Khan stressed that this historic opportunity should be seized by Afghan parties to achieve an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement in the war-torn country.
Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2021