International Researchers’ Online Roundtable on 30th year anniversary of Pakistan-Kazakhstan Relations and MoU by PIPS and IPK

Islamabad – Nursultan (Live)- 10 am – 01 pm: The Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS) in collaboration with Embassy of Republic of Kazakhstan and CGSS held an Int’ll Online Researchers Roundtable to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Republic of Kazakhstan and Islamic Republic of Pakistan. No less than 30 academic researchers and experts from reputed think tanks of both countries participated in four online panel discussions. H.E Yerzhan Kistafin, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Pakistan, inaugurated the event. He highlighted the commencement of Pakistan-Kazakhstan diplomatic ties in 1992 as a historic start to a promising relationship that need to be enhanced through initiatives like direct regular flights and a simpler visa regime to consolidate the people to people contacts in addition to establishing of three working groups in 2020 – Trade, Transport and Energy, whereby both nations must progress. He expressed the desire that a parliamentary delegation will visit for political dialogue later in 2022, which will further enhance mutual cooperation between the two countries. He thanked the Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS) and CGSS for making the Roundtable possible. Ms Laraib Fatima Hassan from Centre for Global Strategic Studies CGSS moderated the sessions.

Session One: Bilateral Cooperation and Future Prospects: Dr Shabbir A Khan, Director Area Study Centre, University of Peshawer, Pakistan, highlighted need for regional security through regional cooperation. He also endorsed need for regular direct flights and easy visa regime to make people to people contacts and initiatives such as joint ventures in food processing, cooperation in special economic zones in Pakistan’s CPEC project and effort to double the trade between the two countries. Dr Zarmina Baloch, Professor at SBBWU, Peshawer, deliberated how Pakistan and Kazakhstan have helped and supported eachother in having membership in new regional organizations. She reiterated need for enhancing trade between two nations.

Session Two: Trade and Economic Cooperation: Ms Lidiya Parkhomchik, Chief Researcher, Institute for World Economics and Politics (IWEP) Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan, informed that from trade of 34 million US dollars in 2015 Pakistan-Kazakhstan trade has enhanced to around 95 million US dollars (in which 65 mn US dollars Kazakhstan exports (construction material mostly) to Pakistan while 29 mn US dollars worth exports from Pakistan include mangoes, rice, etc). She recommended i. enhanced air connectivity; ii. Pakistan, China, Kyrghstan and Kazakhstan are to be joint with road link of KKH that agreement needs to be implemented. Ms Ume Farwa, Research Associate ISS, Islamabad, Informed both countries have a trade potential of US dollars 278 mn as estimated in 2019 but uncertainty in Afghanistan and lack of diversification in trade products are challenges to be overcome. Pakistan’s exports include rice, cotton, sugar, textile and pharmaceuticals and mangoes, which need to be enhanced to finished products. Mr. Abylay Asylkhan, Lead Expert, Economic Research Institute, Kazakhstan, also emphasized need for diversification of trade between the two countries in addition to tourism from Pakistan to Turkestan, new tourist attraction developed by Kazakhstan. He also gave an idea that Pakistani entrepreneurs can open Restaurants offering the delicious Pakistani Cuisine that is really liked by the people in Central Asian Republics.

Session Three: People to People Diplomacy in strengthening bilateral relations: Mr Ashfaq A Gondal, Vice President CGSS expressed his desire that cultural troupes exchange and sports competition amongst teams of Pakistan and Kazakshtan can bring the people together; He said that signing of MoUs isn’t enough unless countries and their institutions implement them to bring fruits of cooperation. Ms Gauhar Khaliovna Beiseeva, Head IR Deptt, Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), Kazakahstan, expressed the need for holding regular biannual exhibitions in both countries so that people tend to know eachother. She also informed that spring festivals in Pakistan and Kazakshtan and cultural exchanges can also help them come together. She endorsed that there is great potential in parliamentary cooperation, need for economic relations by development of transport and communication in addition to cultural diplomacy, enhanced tourism, humanitarian cooperation and joint conferences and concerts of folk artists. Historical legacy of Mughal times encourage us to more stable people to people relations that bring diversity to state to state relations. Sports diplomacy and environment diplomacy allow us multifaceted cooperation in addition to high level meetings at the platform such as the UN, OIC and SICA, etc. The need is the implementation of trade by establishing short distance roads link and business groups so as to increase scientific and trade cooperation.  

Session Four – Regional Context in relations between Pakistan and Kazakhstan: Mr. Usama Nizamani, RA, IPRI, Islamabad gave a presentation on regional situation. He mentioned challenges of fluid and pessimistic situation in Afghanistan as big challenge to relations among the two countries. The inflexible attitude on women rights and education creates diplomatic baggage viz a viz western perception. Mr Usama said China and Kazakhstan improved relations is a welcome development which includes different power plants and road network so connectivity is increasing. At the regional level Uzbekistan also demonstrates to be part of railway link between Mazar e Sharif, Kabul, Jalalabad and Peshawar as a great opportunity. He said Pakistan has lately stressed on large scale manufacturing, which if continued can provide diversification of exports in the region. Both countries can explore opportunity of multilateral forums to seek common approach of counter-terror policy and all cooperation for stability in Afghanistan and at the same time SCO and other forums can stressed on need for respect of human rights within Afghanistan.  He said large scale Mr. Murat Laumulin, Chief Research Fellow, Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies under President of Republic, emphasized need for continued cooperation among Russia and Central Asian countries for maintenance of peace. There are proposals that happenings in Afghanistan is created due to abrupt withdrawal of US forces. This has enhanced the risk for border security of all central Asian states , which is a big challenge.

Session Five – Parliamentary Diplomacy in bilateral and multilateral cooperation: Ms Kaliyeva Elmira Abdykovna, Director, Institute of Parliamentarianism (IPK) Kazakhstan informed that the Institute offers technical help to Parliamentarians in drafting bills and post legislative assessments through feedback of public by conducting surveys on behalf of the Parliament. She looked forward to work in cooperation and learn from the expertise of the Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS) as a centre of excellence in research and legislative services. She informed that the Institute of Parliamentarianism also studies legislative experiences of developed countries in addition to studies on Kazakhstan’s participation international forums such as WTO, CU, EAEU, etc. The Institute for Parliamentarianism also undertakes monitoring of adopted laws through analysis and forecast as to how the draft law will work. A work plan is drawn on for what activities have to conducted. She reiterated that IPK looks forward for advisory and experts assistance between the Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS) as well as exchange of research material and publications and holding joint roundtables and conferences.

Mr Muhammad Rashid Mafzool Zaka, Senior Director General of the Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS) recognized the keen efforts of H.E Yerzhan Kistafin, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Pakistan, in making the signing of MoU between PIPS and IPK possible in such a short time. He informed that PIPS is an exclusive facility for Members of Parliament and four provincial (state) assemblies in Pakistan offering legislative, research, capacity building and outreach services on need and anticipated basis. PIPS has since its creation in 2008-09 served more than 1300 research papers to MPs and committees on diversified topic ranging from economy, trade, national security, public policy, foreign affairs and sustainable development goals, all in time and confidential. PIPS has also provided MPs technical support to draft 225 draft bills and published 70 books in its first 14 years of working, which is a landmark achievement. PIPS can assist Pakistani and Kazakh MPs by holding thematic roundtables and international parliamentarians’ workshops on parliamentary topics as it has developed relations with Arab Parliament, Parliament of Djibouti, KPI Thailand in addition to holding its first international capacity building events for MPs and their staffers from Turkey, Cambodia, Thailand and Pakistan in 2019-20. Mr Zaka also gave following suggestions as the way forward:

  1. Joint International Parliamentary Workshops by PIPS and IPK.
  2. Parliamentary exchanges between two countries with cooperation of friendship groups can be facilities by PIPS and IPK.
  3. Pakistan and Kazakhstan can cooperate in building and training each others sports teams in boxing, athletics, basketball, volleyball, hockey, wrestling, etc. In future bilateral and multilateral sports fixtures and ECO games can also be regular feature to bring youth, women and sportsmen of both countries and the region together.
  4. Turkestan-Multan-Lahore can be termed as Sister Cities due to shrines of sufi saints where they can regularly hold exhibitions, cultural and folk music and arts troupes and concerts to enhance people to people contacts.
  5. Tourism is one of the core areas of cooperation that is also means of development and poverty alleviation; Pakistan and Kazakstan must in addition to easy visa policy and regular direct flights can encourage governments to facilitate religious, cultural, health and sports tourism.
  6. PIPS can offer capacity building of IPK team in various fields of expertise viz a viz parliamentary processes, research and legislative scrutiny and assessment.
  7. Annual workplan to be devised by the two Institutions to hold:
    1. Thematic Roundtables in close cooperation of parliamentary caucuses such as SDG taskforce, Women Parliamentary Caucus and the Young Parliamentarians Forum in the National Parliament of Pakistan.
    1. Exchange Attachment of Researchers in PIPS and IPK for 45 days
    1. Academic sessions on Country Parliamentary Working through zoom with Pakistani youth

The concluding ceremony involved signing of MoU between the Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS) and Institute for Parliamentarianism Kazakhstan byMs Kaliyeva Elmira Abdykovna, Director, Institute of Parliamentarianism (IPK) Kazakhstan and Mr Muhammad Anwar, Executive Director PIPS. The session concluded with vote of Thanks for worthy panelists, institutions and researchers from both countries. Mr Zaka also thanked the Kazakh Ambassador and Ms Laraib Fatima from Centre for Global Strategic Studies CGSS for candid moderation. H.E Yerzhan Kistafin, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Pakistan, thanked team and friends at CGSS and PIPS and all learned panelists and participants researchers for a historic event. You can listen to full Roundtable at:

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