ICCI for direct air links with Kazakhstan to promote bilateral trade

  • June 14, 2013
Mr. Zafar Bakhtawari, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) visited Embassy of Kazakhstan in Islamabad and held a meeting with H.E. Mr. Bakhitbek Shabarbayev, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to discuss ways and means to further improve bilateral trade and economic relations between the two countries.
Mr. Bakhtawari said Pakistan and Kazakhstan enjoy good historical, cultural and political relations and these relations should be translated into thriving commercial and economic opportunities for the benefit of both countries. He said Kazakhstan should support Pakistan in energy sector which will help us in promoting industrial activities. He said both countries have good potential to enhance cooperation in trade and investment, agriculture, joint ventures in manufacturing/SMEs, petroleum and natural resources, banking and finance, science and education, information technology, health and tourism. However, for this to happen, direct connectivity between both countries is the key.
ICCI President stressed both countries should seriously consider establishing direct air links as lack of direct flights and transportation links between Pakistan and Kazakhstan are the major hindrances in improving bilateral trade. The Pakistani businessmen have to go to Kazakhstan via Dubai or Urumqi, which is very expensive and time consuming while direct flights can greatly facilitate in connecting private sectors of both countries. 
He said Turkey is giving visa on arrival to those Pakistanis who hold valid visa of UK, USA or Shenzhen countries and Kazakhstan should also extend similar facility to Pakistani businessmen which will greatly help in exploring new areas of mutual cooperation. He assured the Ambassador that ICCI would cooperate with Kazakhstan Embassy in organizing a Pak-Kazak Business Forum in the last week of Aug: 2013  or in Sep: 2013 and would take a business delegation to Kazakhstan soon. 
Speaking on the occasion, H.E. Mr. Bakhitbek Shabarbayev, Ambassador of Kazakhstan said that his Embassy plans to organize a Pak-Kazak Business Forum in August 2-013 and sought the cooperation of ICCI for making this event a successful one. He proposed the establishment of a Pak-Kazak Business Council on permanent basis to bring both countries further closer in commercial and economic fields. He greatly appreciated the proposal of Mr. Bakhtawari for visa on arrival to Pakistanis in Kazakhstan and ensured that he would take up this matter with his government to make visa procedures easier for Pakistani entrepreneurs. 
He said ICCI should take a business delegation to Kazakhstan to explore potential areas of mutual collaboration. He informed that both countries had signed an agreement to enhance economic & technical cooperation, promote market research, develop commercial relations and expand projects between the two countries. It is time to take practical measures to realize true objectives of said agreement. He ensured that his Embassy will work with ICCI for improving trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Kazakhstan.