ASTANA: Highlighting the importance of air and land connectivity for strong economic, trade and people to people contacts between Pakistan and Kazakhstan, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday hoped that tangible progress will be made to this end in coming days and months.
“I would like to avail this opportunity to say that Pakistanis proud to be among the first countries to recognize the independence of Kazakhstan in 1991. Since then both countries have enjoyed close and cordial relations”, he said speaking at a banquet hosted in his honour by President Nursultan Nazarbayev here at the Presidency.
The Prime Minister said the people of Pakistan and Kazakhstan were bound by historic and cultural affinities that go back many centuries.
“I, therefore, attach special importance to our relations with this great country. I look forward to working with you to build a stronger and closer relationship between Pakistan and Kazakhstan to achieve our common goals and realize our shared aspiration”, he stressed.
The Prime Minister thanked President Nazarbayev for his kind words and expression of friendship and fraternity towards Pakistan.
“We are deeply touched by your generous hospitality and warm welcome. I am delighted to be in the beautiful capital of Kazakhstan. We see it as a grand testament to your leadership and vision for your country”, he remarked.
The Prime Minister extended his heartiest congratulations to President Nazarbayev on the historic win in the recently held Presidential elections.
He said Kazakhstan owed its political stability, economic success and high international stature to statesmanship and wisdom of President Nazarbayev.
“Your farsighted policies are most admirable. I am confident that Kazakhstan would continue to progress under your capable leadership”, he added.
The Prime Minister thanked Kazakhstan leader for supporting Pakistan’s full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and said the two countries will continue to cooperate at regional and international fora.
He, on behalf of the people and government of Pakistan, also congratulated President Nazarbayev and the people of Kazakhstan on the occasion of the 550th Anniversary of the Kazakh Khanate.
“We also congratulate you on the 20th Anniversary of the constitution of Kazakhstan and the 20th Anniversary of the Assembly of the people of Kazakhstan”, he added. The Prime Minister expressed his gratitude for the warm reception accorded to him and his delegation.
The Prime Minister recalled the immortalized words of great Kazakh poet ABAI QUNAN BAIULI who more than a century ago said: “The world is an ocean, time is a breath of wind, early waves are elder brothers, and late waves are younger brothers. Generation succeeds generation, even though things seem immutable in their quietude.”
He also prayed for the health of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, to peace and prosperity of the people of Kazakhstan and to the enduring friendship of Pakistan and Kazakhstan.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev in his remarks on the occasion recalled that Pakistan was among the first countries that he visited right after Kazakhstan declared its independence.
“It was the time when we laid down foundation of the robust bilateral ties and friendship that we enjoy today”, he added.
He said he was glad that the two sides share the same feelings and aspiration to expand their partnership.
The President noted that ruling PML-N party in Pakistan has played a crucial role in securing nation’s success, adding, “I am confident that under your leadership Pakistan’s prestige will continue to grow both on the regional and global scale”.
President Nazarbayev said Kazakhstan regards Pakistan as a reliable partner and good friend, adding, the future of our cooperation for the benefit of the two nations was very promising.
He expressed his confidence that the visit of Prime MinisterNawaz Sharif will pave the way to explore new frontiers of therelations between Kazakhstan and Pakistan.
President Nazarbayev in this respect recalled a wisdom sharedby both countries’ cultures that says: “A close friend is betterthan a distant relative”.