November 10, 2023
ISLAMABAD – Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Wednesday expressed “satisfaction at the growing level of bilateral cooperation” with Uzbekistan in a meeting with the country’s president.
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the 16th Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) in Tashkent. The premier landed in Uzbekistan earlier today for the two-day event.
PM Kakar and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev “exchanged views on deepening bilateral cooperation in a range of areas including political, trade, economic, security, defence, and connectivity.
“Expressing satisfaction at the growing level of bilateral cooperation, the prime minister stressed the importance of sustaining the momentum,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement on social media platform X.
Kakar underlined that the recent accords signed between the two countries would boost bilateral trade and transit trade in addition to streamlining the ECO trade agreement between the two.
The two leaders reiterated their resolve to finalising the “Strategic Partnership Agreement” at the earliest to promote regional economic integration and reaffirmed their commitment to play an active role for regional connectivity. They further reaffirmed their commitment to the early completion of the Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan railway project.
PM Kakar and President Mirzyiyoyev also discussed the ongoing humanitarian situation in Gaza since Israel began bombarding the enclave in the aftermath of the October 7 attack by Hamas alongside other regional and global developments.
Kakar meets ECO secretary general
Separately, PM Kakar met with ECO Secretary General Khusrav Noziri on the sidelines of the ECO summit. According to Radio Pakistan, the two reviewed the recent developments in the organization especially in the domain of trade, connectivity and economic cooperation.
“The situation in occupied Kashmir as well as the Middle East also came under discussion,” the report said.
ECO secretary general thanked PM Kakar’s firm support to the organisation and “assured him of the commitment of the secretariat to strengthen trade and connectivity in the region,” the report added.
PM arrives in Tashkent
Earlier today, the premier was received by Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Abdullah Nagmatovich Aripov at the Tashkent International Airport, the PMO said in a post on X.
Kakar was accompanied by Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani and Commerce Minister Gohar Ejaz.
In a press release issued a day earlier, the Foreign Office had said: “At the summit, the prime minister will reaffirm Pakistan’s commitment to ECO Vision 2025 and to promoting regional cooperation in the areas of trade, transport, connectivity, energy, tourism and economic growth and productivity.”
It said the caretaker PM would present Pakistan’s vision for the future work of the organisation and for promoting regional connectivity and mutual prosperity. He will also engage in bilateral discussions with the leadership of Uzbekistan and other participating leaders.
The Economic Cooperation Organisation is a regional interstate forum founded in 1985 in Tehran. As a founding member, Pakistan remained committed to the goals of connectivity and mutual prosperity of the ECO region, the statement added.
Uzbekistan is set to host the ECO summit for the first time.
Earlier, a PMO official told Dawn that Kakar would return from Tashkent on Thursday and proceed to Saudi Arabia on Friday to attend the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) emergency conference on Palestine.
Briefly talking about his upcoming international visits in a press conference before leaving for Tashkent, Kakar said the aim of the emergency OIC conference would be to establish humanitarian corridors in Gaza.