Will lobby for unfreezing Afghan assets, says PM Imran alongside Uzbekistan president

Published March 3, 2022
Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses a  joint press stakeout at the PM House in Islamabad alongside Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev (not pictured). — DawnNewsTV
Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses a joint press stakeout at the PM House in Islamabad alongside Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev (not pictured). — DawnNewsTV

Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday that Pakistan and Uzbekistan would lobby for unfreezing Afghan assets that were frozen by the international community in the aftermath of the Taliban's takeover.

He expressed these views while addressing a joint press stakeout at the PM House in Islamabad alongside Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who arrived in the capital earlier today on a two-day official visit.

He said that connectivity from Pakistan to Uzbekistan via Afghanistan would also benefit the people of the war-torn country who had witnessed "difficult times" for the past 40 years.

"We have decided, we will try our best that the Afghan funds that have been frozen [...] we will lobby on this," he said, gesturing to himself and the Uzbekistan president.

He added that the two countries would also meet with the Afghans to see what "conditions" are required for recognition from the international community. "What Afghanistan can do to gain international recognition: we have decided to do this campaign together."

Before the media talk began, the two leaders witnessed the signing of different memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and agreements between the two countries.

The premier began by welcoming the president to Pakistan, thanking him once again for the warm welcome extended to the Pakistani delegation during last year's visit to Tashkent and Samarkand.

He noted that Uzbekistan used to enjoy close relations with South Asia for close to 500 years, which had suffered for the last 200 years. "So we, you and me, decided to mend these ties and advance our relations keeping in mind trade, our cultural links and our history."

He said that trade between the two countries had increased 50 per cent ever since him and the president decided to advance relations, while joint ventures between Pakistani businessmen and the Uzbakistan business community had increased by five percent.

PM Imran thanked President Mirziyoyev for presenting him with a book on similar words in Urdu and Uzbek. "We have not just decided to increase trade. We will also be making a film on Zaheeruddin Babar, the first Mughal emperor who hailed from Uzbekistan."

He also touched upon the railway project between Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. "This will connect Pakistan to Central Asia and Central Asian republics to Pakistan and Gwadar."

The prime minister said that direct flights between the two countries would start, which would not only improve connectivity but also help to promote tourism and trade.

He went on to say that Pakistan had presented its stance on Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

"We think that was is happening in IIOJK is a great injustice. It is a violation of international laws and the United Nations Security Council resolutions," he said, adding that the global community should enforce the laws.

PM Imran also stated that Pakistan and Uzbekistan had the same stance of Islamophobia, which was that no one could insult Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) under the guise of freedom of speech.

"Muslims countries should come together and carry out a campaign," he said. He noted that recently Pakistan had lead a similar campaign which was recognised by two Western leaders — Canada's Justin Trudeau and Russia's Vladimir Putin.

Uzbekistan president arrives in Islamabad

President Mirziyoyev arrived in Islamabad earlier today on a two-day visit at the invitation of the prime minister. He was welcomed by PM Imran upon arrival at the Nur Khan Airbase.

The president is accompanied by a high-level delegation which includes cabinet members and businessmen.

Later, he was presented the guard of honour upon arrival at the Prime Minister House in Islamabad.

The prime minister also held delegation level talks with the visiting dignitary. According to the Prime Minister's Office, both sides exchanged views on enhancing cooperation and reviewed progress achieved in bilateral relations.

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