The significant visit of Kyrgyzstan President, Askar
Akaev, to Pakistan which entailed important meetings with Pakistan
leaders including President General Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister
Shaukat Aziz is a sign of growing friendly ties between the two
countries in this region.
The cordial interaction between the heads of the two
countries naturally poise to open new avenues of cooperation as both the
two countries have decided to import impetus to their bilateral trade
relations by improving communication links and activating Economic
Cooperation Organization (ECO) to become an effective vehicle for
economic integration of the region.
Hopefully, the growing relationship with the Central
Asian States would translate into growing trade volume and concrete
cooperation through better communication links. "We have decided to
strengthen the existing bonds of friendship by improving the
communication links through Kashgar in China and onto Bishkek in
Kyrgyzstan and also through improving the Karakoram Highway in Pakistan
so that trade activities between the two countries could be
enhanced", said President Pervez Musharraf.
The two sides recognized the need to consolidate
cooperation in other fields including education and defense training and
also discussed the possibility of electricity transmission from
electricity rich Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan. "We decided to cooperate
in the areas of science and technology through exchange of teacher and
students," Musharraf said adding that Pakistan would look into the
feasibility of electricity transmission from Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan.
Pakistan is keen to see progress on the ECO trade
agreement signed in Islamabad as it would give a strong fillip to intra
regional trade and also encourage the private sectors. "We have
common stakes in its success." President Musharraf while paying his
tributes to the visiting leading observed that Central Asia has a high
place in Pakistan's quest for trade and economic cooperation with the
"Our geographical proximity offers Central Asian
States, a mutually beneficial access to the Arabian Sea and the regions
beyond." Pakistan, he said, has constructed a deep-sea port in
Gwadar, which is nearing its completion and is also improving transport,
road and related infrastructure. "Pakistan would be happy to see
these facilities utilized by the brotherly Central Asian republics
particularly Kyrgyzstan, with whom we are keen to increase trade,"
the president said.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz after his meeting with
the visiting President was of the view that Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan have
refreshed the commitment to reactivate the ECO and further enhance their
bilateral ties in all fields particularly in economy and trade. He said
Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan enjoy close relations and the current visit of
Kyrgyz President will go a long way to further strengthen these ties. He
said bilateral ties between both the countries would further grow with
the opening of historic silk route, which will allow transportation
between Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan via China.
He said opening of Gwadar port would also enhance
trade and commercial ties between the two countries. He said Pakistan
would import electricity from Kyrgyzstan. Shaukat Aziz said he held
fruitful talks with President Askar on bilateral and regional issues and
both the sides were agreed to further enhance these existing friendly
relations. To a question, the Prime Minister said both the countries
want to make more vibrant and activate the Economic Cooperation
Organization and we have discussed the matter during our talks. He said
lack of good transportation links is main reason for not reactivating
the ECO. The Joint Economic Ministerial Commission of Pakistan and
Kyrgyzstan is meeting by the end of this month and it will help give
further boost to the economic relations between the two countries.
Prime Minister said the talks focused on
strengthening travel and trade through road links. To meet Pakistan's
energy requirements, the two leaders discussed prospects of getting
electricity from Kyrgyzstan. Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan, he said, have a
long history of relationship and were linked through the historic silk
route. "We will once again help recreate linkage of travel and
trade between two countries through the Silk Road." He said
Pakistan will use the link through the Karakoram Highway (KKH), linking
China and Central Asian States, with the ports at Karachi and Gwadar.
To a question, Prime Minister Aziz said the only
barrier in improving relations was the lack of a good road network.
However, he added that with the opening up of Kyrgyzstan and KKH link by
next year, trade between the two countries would get a big boost. He
said the two countries also agreed to ease visa facility for the
diplomats, officials, businessmen and students of the two countries.
President Askar said easier visa facility will improve ties between the
He also appreciated Pakistan's role in bringing peace
and stability to Afghanistan. To a question about the role of Economic
Cooperation Organization (ECO), he said there was a need to reactivate
the organization making it more vibrant.
President of Kyrgyzstan Askar Akaev said his country
wants a breakthrough in trade and economic partnership with Pakistan. He
attaches great importance to deepen trade and economic relations and
successful implementation of joint projects in different fields. He
expressed the confidence that there were plenty of joint businesses and
projects ahead of us.
Kyrgyzstan is interested to change the structure of
imports from Pakistan from products of light industry to machinery and
high tech products required to develop industries in his country. He
said there are also significant capacities for the development of light
industry, using mainly local raw materials.
So far the trade volume between the two countries was
insignificant as compared to the potential. Most promising areas for
direct investment were power sector, telecommunications, light and
chemical industry, and mining and processing agricultural products, he
said adding that there were also great opportunities for cooperation and
profitable investments in tourism sector.