Pakistan-Kazakhstan: 31 Years Of Bilateral Relations – OpEd


Pakistan and Kazakhstan have maintained bilateral relations since the latter’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The two countries have historical relations in multiple fields including political, economic, and cultural. Since 1992, both countries have been enjoying cordial relations as well as mutual understanding and goodwill for each other. Pakistan was among the first few countries that recognized Kazakhstan in December 1991. 

February 24, 2023, was the 31st anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Republic of Kazakhstan. Since 1991, the relations between the two brotherly countries have strengthened. Pakistan and Kazakhstan share cultural ties that have been strengthened over the years through various exchanges and initiatives. Both countries have rich cultural traditions and have made efforts to promote them.

The two brotherly countries have signed several agreements on cultural cooperation, including the establishment of a cultural center in Islamabad, Pakistan. The center provides a platform for promoting cultural exchanges, language learning, and the showcasing of art and literature from both countries. Moreover, Pakistan and Kazakhstan have regularly participated in each other’s cultural events, including exhibitions, festivals, and cultural weeks. For instance, the Pakistani Embassy in Kazakhstan has organized various cultural events, including the Pakistani Film Festival and a photographic exhibition on the cultural heritage of Pakistan. Kazakhstan has also offered scholarships to Pakistani students for higher education in Kazakhstan. Pakistani students have been studying in various fields, including medicine, engineering, and social sciences, among others.

Pakistan and Kazakhstan have had diplomatic relations since 1991. Since then, the two countries have maintained friendly ties and have cooperated in various fields. Diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Kazakhstan have been strengthened through high-level visits, exchanges of delegations, and cooperation in multilateral forums. The two countries have also signed several agreements on cooperation in areas such as trade, investment, energy, culture, and education.

The two friendly countries have regularly exchanged visits at the highest level, including the visits of Pakistani Presidents, Prime Ministers, and Foreign Ministers to Kazakhstan, and vice versa. In addition to bilateral cooperation, Pakistan and Kazakhstan have also cooperated in various regional and international forums, such as the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA).

In addition, both brotherly countries are looking forward to economic cooperation. The trade relations between the two countries have steadily grown over the years. However, the current trade volume between the two countries remains relatively low, and there is significant potential for growth and diversification in the future. In 2020, the total trade volume between Pakistan and Kazakhstan was around $33 million, with Pakistan’s imports from Kazakhstan being around $32 million, mainly comprising oil and gas products. Pakistan’s exports to Kazakhstan, on the other hand, were relatively low, standing at around $1.3 million, mainly consisting of textiles and pharmaceuticals.

Both countries have taken steps to increase bilateral trade and investment. In 2018, Pakistan and Kazakhstan signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance cooperation in the areas of trade, investment, and economic development. The MoU aimed to promote and facilitate trade and investment, promote business-to-business contacts, and create favorable conditions for entrepreneurs in both countries. Pakistan has also expressed interest in importing wheat, cotton, and other agricultural products from Kazakhstan, while Kazakhstan has expressed interest in importing textiles, pharmaceuticals, and other goods from Pakistan. In addition, there have been discussions between the two countries to establish direct air links to facilitate trade and people-to-people contact. Pak-Kazakh trade volume has reached $163 million in 2022. Furthermore, Kazakhstan will launch direct regular flights to Pakistan from April 2023 which will accelerate trade and tourism. 

Overall, while the two countries have maintained friendly and cooperative relations. There is still huge potential for further strengthening of ties, particularly in areas such as trade, investment, and energy cooperation. In addition to this, Kazhakistan supports Pakistan’s efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan. Peace in the region will boost trade ties between both brotherly countries. 

Jehangir Khan Mehsud, a graduate of economics and political science from Forman Christian College University Lahore

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