On 19th July 2022, a radio program on “Regional Connectivity of Pakistan with Central Asian Countries vis-a-vis China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)’’ was organized and hosted by Rabta, Radio Pakistan, Islamabad.
The program aimed to discuss Pakistan’s relations with Central Asian countries and the role CPEC will play as the project approaches completion. The main areas of discussion were the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on Strengthening Connectivity between Central & South Asia July 2022, the impact of CPEC on this resolution, and the significance of the Central Asian region for Pakistan.
Furthermore, the potential for Pakistani markets in Central Asia challenges posed in the face of changing situations in Afghanistan, climate change and its propagation through Central & South Asian platforms, the importance and room of trade in local currencies, measures taken by the Pakistani government on enhancing ties, and lastly, regional tourism. He also analyzed China’s economic expansion under BRI and suggested avenues of cooperation.
The adoption of the UN General Assembly resolution, co-sponsored by Pakistan on Strengthening Connectivity between Central & South Asia was discussed. The Resolution was formally recognized on July 11, 2022. Non- traditional security threats and common challenges faced by Pakistan and Central Asian countries were also made part of the discussion in the context of the resolution.
As noted by Mr. Akram, CPEC exhibits a profound impact on the relations between Pakistan and Central Asian countries. He highlighted the significance of BRI trade corridors and the recognition of CPEC as its flagship by the Chinese government.
The prospects for enhancing Pakistan’s outreach to Central Asian markets through CPEC were brought to discussion. Trade in pharmaceutical, sports goods, surgical, textile, fruits, and vegetables were recognized as key areas in which expansion is possible in the Central Asian region. The contribution of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in establishing a railroad between Uzbekistan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan as a trilateral agreement was recognized as a major step toward regional integration.
Mr. Khalid Taimur also elaborated on the importance of the stability of Afghanistan for prosperous trade relations between Pakistan and the Central Asian countries. The role played by Uzbekistan in assisting Afghanistan and the efforts of President Mirziyoyev are particularly important. In this regard, the effort of the Uzbek government in hosting the Afghan Development meeting on 25 – 26 July 2022 is a clear manifestation of socio-economic development in the region.