ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif is to visit Kazakhstan to attend the 6th CICA Summit (Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia) to be held on October 12-13, 2022, official sources told Business Recorder.

On the sidelines of the conference, the PM is expected to have bilateral meetings with the presidents of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkiye and Azerbaijan.

In these meetings the PM would focus particularly in the areas of energy, power and connectivity. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has requested secretaries of Power Division, Petroleum Division and Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives to share relevant material including specific brief and talking points for inclusion in the brief for the prime minister.

The Petroleum Ministry is already in touch with its Kazakh Ministry to discuss possibilities of gas and petroleum import and gas swap options with Kazakhstan. The Commerce Ministry has also held meetings to finalize Transit Trade Agreement, identify and put forth solutions to hurdles impacting bilateral trade and discuss possible avenues for trade expansion.

The government has observed that despite the presence of 170 Pakistani companies in Kazakhstan bilateral trade volume of low. The Economic Affairs Division is to identify a date for holding next meeting of IGC at an early date.

The Ministry of Interior is to holding meeting with its Kazakh counterpart to identify obstacles in liberalizing visa regimes and providing concrete solutions so that legal frameworks are put in place by both sides.

For Uzbekistan, the Economic Affairs Division would prioritise next meeting of Pakistan-Uzbekistan IGC in its annual calendar besides moving a case to re-designate finance minister as co-hair from Pakistan side, hold interministerial meetings to expedite action on pending issues and invite Uzbek trade minister for a bilateral visit to discuss IGC agenda.

The Railway Ministry to hold regular zoom meetings with its Uzbek and Afghan counterparts to ensure timely completion of all important milestones in Trans-Afghan Railway project. —MUSHTAQ GHUMMAN