PESHAWAR: Business community welcomed the launching of a direct flight between Pakistan and Kazakhstan and hoped that the initiative would further strengthen bilateral economic, trade, diplomatic and cultural relations between the countries.

In his statement here on Sunday, Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry acting president Ijaz Khan Afridi said promotion of regional trade is the dire need of the hour.

He hailed the efforts of Ambassador of Kazakhstan in Pakistan Yerzhan Kistafin toward the launch of direct flight between Pakistan and Kazakhstan and further cementing bilateral trade and economic relations between the two countries.

He said prospects are brighter to further cement mutual trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Kazakhstan.

He; however, emphasized that it is essential to organize exchange of business delegations, trade exhibitions and fully take benefits from each other’s experiences and potentials to enhance the mutual trade volume between the countries.

Ijaz Afridi appreciated it is a good sign that both governments of Pakistan and Kazakhstan are keen to further strengthen bilateral trade, economic and diplomatic relations, and steps have already been taken in this regard.

He went on to say that Pakistan’s economic future has been attached with regional trade, saying that the government was taking sufficient steps to enhance regional connectivity and trade with central Asian countries.

He added the launch of a direct flight between Pakistan and Kazakhstan was part of these efforts.

Ijaz Afridi continued that huge opportunities exist to improve mutual trade and economic ties between Pakistan and Kazakhstan, which should be exploited in an affluent manner by taking pragmatic steps at governmental level.

Keeping the view of the prevailing economic scenario, the SCCI’s acting chief called for focusing on enhancing regional trade.

He noted Kazakhstan is an important destination with regard to investment, where opportunities are available in energy, gas, oil and other potential sectors.

He also mentioned that Kazakhstan was the third largest exporter of wheat in the world, in which opportunities exist to collaborate with Pakistan.

Ijaz Afridi said Pakistan’s Gwadar and Karachi port are also highly attractive, through which could be easy access to Kazakhstan, including Central Asian countries’ markets.

He also mentioned many other potential sectors which would help to improve bilateral trade between Pakistan and Kazakhstan.