Pakistan-Kazakhstan Relations Are Very Promising
Kazakh Ambassador to Pakistan Yerzhan Kistafin gave a special lecture on Thursday at the Mission of Unity, Stability & Leadership In Muslims (MUSLIM) Institute in his host country about the promising potential of bilateral relations. He emphasized the importance of more people-to-people contacts and suggested that Kazakhstan’s copious natural resources could be shared with Pakistan. On the topic of connectivity, Ambassador Kistafin rightly noted the equally pivotal roles played by Kazakhstan in BRI’s Eurasian Land Bridge (ELB) and Pakistan in its CPEC.
Moreover, he remarked that Pakistan’s geostrategic location enables it to serve as the Central Asian Republics’ (CAR) outlet to the global ocean. Their countries could connect with one another either via the Karakoram Highway (CPEC) or through regional rail routes via Iran and Turkmenistan. Ambassador Kistafin also suggested that the two work more closely together on addressing the Afghan Crisis. Anti-terrorist, military, and security cooperation is another exciting opportunity for developing ties, too. Altogether, his special lecture was extremely informative and his proposals can be built upon as well.
For instance, February 2021’s agreement to build a Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan (PAKAFUZ) railway could eventually serve as the flagship project for connecting Pakistan and Kazakhstan via Afghanistan and the other CARs. Kazakh companies should therefore become more well aware of this emerging corridor and consider ways in which they can utilize it, if not facilitate its construction and/or funding. As members of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Pakistan and Kazakhstan could also seek to encourage that bloc as a whole to participate in PAKAFUZ too.
The security front is equally promising and should therefore also be prioritized. The failed Hybrid War of Terror on Kazakhstan in early January was arguably enabled by treasonous elements of its security services at the very least turning a blind eye to the buildup of terrorists there, if not directly cultivating them. The Russian-led CSTO’s successful peacekeeping mission restored stability to the country but Kazakhstan will obviously have to reform its military-intelligence agencies in response to what happened. It’s here where Pakistan can play a helpful role if requested to do so.
The South Asian state has survived the multiple Hybrid Wars that have been waged against it over the years by its opponents and therefore has priceless experience that it can share with its Kazakh counterparts in this respect. Pakistan’s military-intelligence agencies are globally renowned for their effectiveness and professionalism so it would be useful for Kazakhstan to refer to them for guidance. Cooperation in this sense could either be bilateral or conducted via the SCO in which they both participate. Either way, Pakistan can help bolster Kazakhstan’s national security interests.
All in all, it’s important for observers to pay more attention to Pakistani-Kazakh ties. These friendly countries have enormous potential to expand their relations in highly strategic ways via more cooperation on connectivity and security. Since they have to trade via other countries due to geographical limitations, their emerging ties in this respect will also benefit the rest of their larger region. The overall trend is that Central Asia-South Asia connectivity is proceeding apace, exactly as all sides planned during last July’s Tashkent conference about this crucial geo-economic axis.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Voice of East.