TASHKENT: Prime Minister Imran Khan today (Thursday) stressed for deepening business and economic relations with Uzbekistan during a two-day official visit to the country.
Addressing the first Pakistan-Uzbekistan Business Forum, the premier pointed out that Pakistan’s connectivity with Uzbekistan in trade and bilateral spheres would open up new avenues of prosperity in the region.
The forum was attended by a large number of businessmen from Pakistan and Uzbekistan besides the delegation of prime minister including Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi, National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf and Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Minister for Information Technology Atif Khan.
He highlighted the relations between the two countries, stating that they go back centuries. “It is personally a great pleasure for me to visit Uzbekistan, a country which we are connected to culturally, historically and spiritually,” he added.
PM Imran further said that Pakistan has immense potential to connect Central Asia with rest of the world and become a hub of trade. He assured the business community that this relationship was just beginning to grow, voicing his appreciation for the gracious welcome that had been extended to him upon his arrival.
“Our business and trade relationship is going to depend on how quickly we are able to connect with each other. The Trans Afghan Railway project is the most important project for Uzbekistan and Pakistan,” he pointed out.
Referring to the situation in Afghanistan, he said that Pakistan wanted a political settlement in the neighbouring country for “mutually beneficial” connectivity between Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
The Prime Minister said he was informed that many Pakistani business houses had already signed major contracts a day earlier, specifically in the textile sector. “We are all hoping that the connections between the two countries will get deeper by the time we go back,” he said.
Earlier, on arrival a formal welcome ceremony in the honor of Prime Minister Imran Khan was held at Kuksaroy Presidential Palace, Tashkent. National anthems of the two countries were played on the occasion.
A smartly turned out contingent the Uzbek forces presented guard of honor to the Prime Minister. Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyovev and the Prime Minister introduced their cabinet members to each other.