ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Tuesday said the purpose of his visit to Kazakhstan was to further strengthen ties, expand cooperation in different areas, and increase bilateral trade, investment and economic cooperation.
The Prime Minister, who arrived in the Kazakh Capital on a two-day visit, said he would exchange views with the leaders of the host country on significant bilateral issues.
In a detailed interview published in the Astana Times, the leading English daily of Kazakhstan, he said the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Kazakhstan was far below its potential. There existed tremendous potential for enhancing the same, he added.
He stressed that both sides needed to make efforts to utilize all available options, while simultaneously exploring new areas of cooperation.
Responding to a question, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan supported the Conference for Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) process and actively participated in its activities.
Pakistan had recently joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which was also an important organization, he added.
He said, “Pakistan believes that adherence to the UN Charter is essential for peace, stability and security in Asia. Principles of non-interference in internal affairs, development of friendly relations and settlement of disputes through dialogue should be promoted. There is an intrinsic link between development and security. Therefore, we should focus on regional connectivity and building economic synergies.”
“Pakistan admires Kazakhstan’s role for the international peace and security and has full confidence in our brotherly country and its visionary leadership. The Kazakh leadership created CICA, which contributes to peace and security. Kazakhstan is also an important member of SCO. We welcome Kazakhstan’s increasing role as a peace building center,” he added.
The Prime Minister also supported Kazakhstan’s candidature for election to a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the term 2017-2018.
Replying to a query, he said that Pakistan viewed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a means to achieve its objective of regional connectivity and growth opportunity for the entire region and which would create a win-win situation for all.
About Afghan peace and reconciliation process, Nawaz Sharif said they fully supported an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process.
Stability and peace in Afghanistan was very important for Pakistan and the region, he added.
To another question, the Prime Minister said that they had launched the Operation Zarb-e-Azb to eradicate the menace of extremism and terrorism and it was successfully going on.