CPEC will shape a new Central Asia: Nawaz
Astana, Kazakhstan: “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and its connectivity with Central Asia will help to shape entire region and project will provide greater economic opportunities and create win-win situation for all”.
This was said by Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif while giving a special interview to Kazakh newspaper “The Astana Times” in connection with his tour to Kazakhstan. He will have important meetings on August 25 and 26 with Kazakh President though he reached Astana here on Tuesday. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Yerlan Idrissov welcomed the Prime Minister of Pakistan in the Astana airport. It is planned that bilateral talks with President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev will be held within this trip. Besides, a number of documents are planned to be signed as well.
When he was asked about the main purpose of his visit to Kazakhstan, he said that Pakistan wished to further strengthen Pakistan-Kazakhstan ties, expand cooperation in different areas, increase bilateral trade, investment and economic cooperation.
According to Dispatch News Desk news agency, Premier of Pakistan believed that trade turnover between two countries was less then expectation that was only $33 million last year and both countries must work hard to increase trade between Kazakhstan and Pakistan.
“We will also exchange views on how to work together for a peaceful, stable and good trading region during my meetings with Kazakh leadership”, added Mr. Sharif.
“Both sides need to make efforts to utilise all available options, while simultaneously exploring new areas of cooperation. In this regard, Kazakhstan’s WTO membership will be instrumental in enhancing the country’s trade with Pakistan, a founding member of the Organisation”, emphasized Mr. Sharif.
Mr. Sharif was of the view that there was an intrinsic link between development and security therefore both countries should focus on regional connectivity and building economic synergies.
Responding a question, Mr. Sharif said that Pakistan would support Kazakhstan’s candidature for election to a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the term 2017-2018. He said that Pakistan admired Kazakhstan’s role for the international peace and security and had full confidence in visionary leadership of President Nazirbov.
When asked connectivity of Central Asia with Pakistan-China Economic Corridor mega project, Mr. Sharif was of the opinion that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and its connectivity with Central Asia would help to shape entire region and project will provide greater economic opportunities and create win-win situation for all.
When asked about Afghanistan future, Mr. Sharif said that Pakistan fully supported an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process.
“Stability and peace in Afghanistan is very important for Pakistan and the region. We have common interest in having a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. I have been in contact with President Ashraf Ghani since he has assumed the office. During my recent visit to Afghanistan on 12 May 2015, I met with Afghan leadership. We discussed all aspects of our bilateral relations, especially reconciliation, peace and security in Afghanistan. With the establishment of peace and security followed by a favourable environment for economic development, we believe all such evils like narcotic drugs will be eliminated from the country”, he added.
When asked about fight of Pakistan against terrorism, Pakistani Prime Minister informed that Pakistan unequivocally condemned acts of terrorism committed by the so-called ISIS or ISIL. This is against the tenets of Islam.
“We are engaged in Operation Zarb-e-Azb to eradicate the menace of extremism and terrorism. This is successfully going on and we will soon get rid of terrorists and extremists. The international community should fully implement the UN Security Council resolutions 2170 and 2178 against ISIL. Multilateral cooperation under the Security Council resolutions, under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, is essential to eradicate the menace of ISIS. Unfortunately, sometimes Islam is associated with violence and terror”, said Mr. Sharif.
When asked about the future role of Pakistan in SCO and other regional forums, Mr. Sharfi was of the view that Pakistan wished to enter into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Eurasian Economic Union to deepen commercial relations with the member countries.
When he was asked what qualities were needed for any political leader to have such successful rich and long political career like Mr. Sharif, he said:
“I think the most important qualities for a modern political leader today are honesty, compassion and integrity. He should be available to the public and work tirelessly for amelioration of all segments of society. Similarly, he should have the vision for creating harmony, unity and prosperity in the nation. Moreover, he should enjoy the trust and popular support of his people”.