Pakistan to host summit of Central Asian leaders soon of focus on trade, connectivity

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday said that Pakistan would soon host a summit of the leaders of Central Asian states that would focus on connectivity through road and rail links to boost regional trade and investment. The prime minister, in a meeting with a nine-member parliamentary delegation of Kazakhstan led by Chairman of the Lower House (Mazhilis) of the Parliament, Yerlan Koshanov here, underscored the need to establish and strengthen bilateral cooperation in the energy, transport, and transit trade and logistics sectors. Welcoming the delegation, he highlighted the special nature of Pakistan-Kazakhstan relations which were deeply rooted in history, religion and culture. He underscored that Pakistan is keen to further deepen cooperation with the Central Asian states, particularly Kazakhstan. Recalling his meeting with Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on the sidelines of the CICA summit in Astana and SCO Summit in Samarkand, the prime minister said both sides had fruitful discussions for boosting ties. Prime Minister Shehbaz said he was looking forward to the Pakistan visit of the Kazakhstan president. He informed that Pakistan would soon be hosting a summit of the leaders of Central Asian states that would focus on connectivity through road and rail links to boost regional trade and investment. Yerlan Koshanov updated the prime minister about the meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group which was held during the ongoing visit of the Kazakhstan parliamentary delegation. He underlined the need for exchange of parliamentary delegations that would further promote people-to-people exchanges between the two brotherly countries. Chairman Yerlan Koshanov informed that Kazakhstan can benefit from the huge Pakistani market and showed keen interest in bilateral trade and cooperation in connectivity, pharmaceuticals industry and surgical and sports goods. He informed that current bilateral trade was only $ 95 million which is not commensurate with the huge trade potential between the two countries. ┬áHe said the bilateral trade could be easily doubled within a short span of time. On behalf of the people and Government of Kazakhstan, the chairman’s of the Mazhilis of the Parliament of Kazakhstan expressed deep condolence and sincere sympathies for the victims of recent catastrophic floods in Pakistan. National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf, Minister of State for Petroleum Dr. Musadik Malik, and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Coordination Syed Tariq Fatemi also attended the meeting.

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