Kazakh Ambassador Announces Agreements on Direct Flights & Commercial Banking Channels Irfan Iqbal Sheikh

Karachi (PR): Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, President FPCCI, has expressed his profound gratitude that H. E. Mr. Yerzhan Kistafin, Ambassador of Kazakhstan in Pakistan, has announced the agreement enabling direct flights between the two brotherly countries to be formalized by March 2023. This step will go a long way to promote trade, investments, JVs, tourism and over all economic cooperation, he added.

Mr. Shabbir Mansha, VP FPCCI, highlighted the fact that Pakistan offers an e-visa facility to visitors from Kazakhstan; whereas, visitors from Pakistan are required to seek sponsored visas or a recommendation from FPCCI for visiting Kazakhstan. As a result, the average visa processing time in the current scenario is around 8 –10 days working days; which needs to be shortened to the minimum possible time-frame, he added.

Mr. Shabbir Mansha mentioned that since the closure of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) in Kazakhstan, commercial & trade transactions are largely based on cash payments or letters of credit (LCs) via UAE or Turkey.

Mr. Shabbir Mansha proposed that Pakistan and Kazakhstan need to jointly explore investment opportunities in conventional & unconventional sectors; specifically, petrochemicals, minerals, tourism and IT services – as these are the sectors which have enormous potential to create win-win synergies between the two countries, he added.

H. E. Mr. Yerzhan Kistafin apprised the large gathering of prominent business personalities, diplomats, representatives of large commercial banks and logistics companies at the FPCCI Head Office that major commercial banks from Pakistan and Kazakhstan are working towards establishing commercial banking channels between the two countries; and, he is expecting a major boost in bilateral trade volumes due to facilitative measures being taken in travel, visa, regulatory and banking channels.

Responding to the demand of FPCCI, H. E. Mr. Yerzhan Kistafin also informed that his embassy will issue visas to the business, industry and trade community representatives from Pakistan within 5 working days to encourage B2B and chamber-to-chamber engagements. We are hoping to see trade fairs & exhibitions and enhanced B2B cooperation in the near future, he added.

Mr. Mehmood Ul Hassan Awan, Chairman of Pakistan-Kazakhstan Business Council of FPCCI, explained that TIR convention offers great opportunities for Pakistani exporters to enhance their trade with Kazakhstan through cost-effective & land-based transportation. It will also be time-saving, he added.

Mr. Mehmood Ul Hassan Awan also apprised that Pakistan has successfully utilized TIR convention for exports to Azerbaijan and Turkey through land-based routes; and, the same should be done vis-à-vis Kazakhstan.

Brig Iftikhar Opel, SI (M), Retd.

Secretary General