The Deputy Chairman of the Senate, Mirza Muhammad Afridi, underlined the need for Pakistan and Russia to cooperate to counter the challenges of climate change, poverty, human rights and other issues of mutual concern in a virtual meeting with the Russian Ambassador, Danila Ganich, on Wednesday.
He affirmed that “relations with Russia remains a key priority of Pakistan’s foreign policy”.
Issues of mutual interest, the Afghan situation, and the overall regional situation were discussed during the meeting, and Afridi affirmed that the relations between the countries have improved significantly over the last two decades.
While referring to the recent telephonic conversation held between Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and a conversation on bilateral relations between the Minister of Foreign Affiars, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, with his Russian counterpart, the Deputy Chief stated that both the countries have maintained contacts at high levels, which is of paramount importance.
Pakistan and Russia’s economic ties were discussed in detail during the meeting, and the Deputy Chairman said on the topic of the gas pipeline project that Pakistan is working on the early completion of the Pakistan-Stream Gas Pipeline Project. He added that the technical committee meets regularly to finalize the project.
Both the dignitaries stressed the need to cement the bilateral relations between the Senate of Pakistan and the Council of the Federation.
While discussing the impact of the pandemic, Afridi said that it has wreaked havoc on the lives and livelihoods of people across the globe, and commended the development of the Sputnik vaccine by the Russian Federation.
He remarked that “both countries, being members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and Asian Parliamentary Assembly, need to utilise these forums and work together for the creation of a prosperous and peaceful future of the world”.
He noted that Pakistan and Russia have several institutional mechanisms in place, such as the JCC, the Joint Working Group on economic cooperation, and the Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism to discuss issues of mutual concern.
Afridi said that the bilateral trade volume has swelled and hit a record $780 million this year. While considering the true potential of both the countries, he called for an upswinging of the trade volume to its desired level.
He stated that “the collaboration between the two sides in the field of Railways, Transport, Oil and Gas, Power Generation, etc. is satisfactory,” and underscored that “the Inter-Governmental Commission on economic, trade, scientific and technical cooperation is a very useful institutional mechanism to discuss a range of issues, ideas and proposals to further enhance economic linkages”.
The Deputy Chairman added that he hopes that the upcoming meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee in Moscow that is to be held in November will be a meaningful engagement.
He also called for regular parleys between the two countries to enhance bilateral relations, and stressed the need for parliamentary ties between Pakistan and Russia to further strengthen bilateral relations.
The Russian envoy commended Pakistan’s effort for peace in the region. He said that Pakistan is an important country in the region, and Russia cherishes its cordial ties with such a significant country of the region.