No soft visa regime between Belarus and Pakistan announced
By Agha Iqrar Haroon
Islamabad, Pakistan: The meeting and negotiations between prime ministers of Belarus and Pakistan did not come out with any announcements about soft visa regime tangible steps for direct air connection between the two countries.
Though Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Belarusian Prime Minister Andrey Kobyakov decided to boost bilateral trade to $1 billion and signed 18 agreements but they did not explain how this trade could be possible without land or air direct or even indirect connections between the two countries.
In a joint press conference in Islamabad on Tuesday after one-on-one talks, Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif and his Belarusian counterpart Andrey Kobyakov said that they had a very productive round of talks that reviewed progress and agreed on concrete steps to further enhance their bilateral cooperation.
They announced an agreement for developing a roadmap for economic cooperation between Pakistan and Belarus but documents signed by them did not explain this road map because all documents are almost a form of MoUs without giving details, budget or nature of resources that would be given by both countries to contacts in future. They also expressed the resolve to increase their bilateral trade up to $1 billion with a focus on industrial cooperation, agriculture and infrastructure development. This indicates that Belarus will be provided land and opportunities for constructing heavy mechanical industries in Pakistan but again no contract was signed to provide special incentives or lands to Belarus by Pakistan.
Both prime ministers agreed on strengthening ties at the governmental and people-to-people levels for the mutual benefit of their countries. However, no announcement was made about soft visa regime for people to people contact. Right now, Belarus did not provide tourist visa to Pakistanis and its visa regime is very difficult about Pakistanis.
The two countries inked seven Agreements, six Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) and three Protocols to Agreements in addition to the two Programmes on Roadmaps during the visit of Belarusian Prime Minister Andrey Kobyakov to Islamabad. To understand the nature of contarcts, one can read details of them as:
The two Prime Ministers also signed an Agreement between their governments on mutual allotment of the land of plots for their respective diplomatic missions in Islamabad and Minsk.
The inter-governmental Agreement on cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters was signed by Advisor to PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of Belarus Valentin Rybakov.
The Agreement between the Health Ministries of Pakistan and Belarus on cooperation in public health was signed by State Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar and Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of Belarus Valentin Rybakov.
The Agreement on cooperation between the Government of Punjab and the Minsk Region Executive Committee of Belarus was signed by Chief Secretary, Punjab Khizar Hayat Gondal and Deputy Chairman of Minsk Regional Executive Committee Mr. O.Plavski.
The Agreement on cooperation between the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and the Brest Branch of Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) was inked by President KCCI Younis Muhammad Bashir and Chairman BCCI Mr. M.Miatlikov.
The Agreement on cooperation between the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and the Mogilev Branch of Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) was inked by President Lahore CCI Sheikh Muhammad Arshad and Chairman BCCI Mr. M.Miatlikov.
The Agreement between the City District Government, Lahore, Punjab and the Mogilev Regional Executive Committee (MREC) on the establishment and development of commerce-economic, scientific-technical and cultural ties was signed by Chief Secretary, Punjab Khizar Hayat Gondal and Deputy Chairman MREC Mr V.Nekrashevich.
The Protocol to the Agreement on mutual cooperation between the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (Pakistan) and Ministry of Education (Belarus) in the field of education was signed by State Minister for Education Balighur Rehman and Education Minister of Belarus Mr. Zhuravkov.
The Cooperation Protocol between the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad and the Belarusian State University, Minsk was signed by Special Assistant to PM Tariq Fatemi and Education Minister of Belarus Mr. Zhuravkov.
The Protocol on cooperation between the Government of Balochistan and the Brest Regional Executive Committee, Belarus was inked by Chief Secretary, Balochistan Saifullah Chattha and Deputy Chairman of Brest Regional Executive Committee Mr. A.Klets.
MEMORANDA OF UNDERSTANDING (MoUs):
Two MoUs were signed between the Ministry for National Food Security and Research, Pakistan and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Belarus on cooperation in veterinary and sanitary field and also in the field of plant quarantine and application of phyto-sanitary measures. The respective Ministers Sikandar Hayat Bosan and Mr. Zayats signed the documents.
The MoU on cooperation between the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Vitebsk Region, Belarus was signed by Chief Secretary, KPK Amjad Ali Khan and Chairman of Vitebsk Regional Executive Committee Mr. N.Shertnev.
The Government of Sindh signed two MoUs on trade-economic, scientific-technical and cultural-humanitarian collaboration with Gomel Regional Executive Committee, Belarus and the Regional Executive Committee of Grodno, Belarus. The respective documents were signed by Chief Secretary, Sindh Siddique Memon, Deputy Chairman of Gomel Regional Executive Committee Mr. A.Pirshtouk and Deputy Chairman of Grodno Regional Executive Committee Mr. Y.Shuleiko.
The MoU between Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) and Minsk Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) was inked by President ICCI Atif Ikram Sheikh and Chairman MCCI Mr M. Miatlikov.