ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Uzbekistan Friday agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation between the youths and promote science and technology linkages for benefit of the two peoples. The bilateral ties were discussed in a bilateral meeting between President Arif Alvi and his Uzbek counterpart Shavkat Mirziyoyev wherein they exchanged views on a wide range of issues of bilateral interest and important regional and international matters. The president expressed satisfaction with the upward trajectory of bilateral ties and reiterated the desire to promote multifaceted cooperation in all spheres, including political, trade, economic, defense, security, connectivity, education and cultural exchanges. He elaborated Pakistan’s efforts for enhanced engagement with Central Asia within the framework of the “Vision Central Asia” policy. President Alvi highlighted prospects of regional integration and connectivity to Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries through Pakistan’s seaports. He said that Trans-Afghan Railway would be one such project to establish consolidated land connectivity. He also underscored the importance of air connectivity for boosting tourism and people-to-people exchanges. The president emphasized that peace and stability in Afghanistan was vital to reap the dividends of land connectivity. He said that a peaceful Afghanistan would contribute to the economic progress and prosperity of the region and beyond. President Alvi lauded the signing of the Joint Declaration on Next Steps in Strategic Partnership between Pakistan and Uzbekistan and MoUs/Agreements multiple areas. He said that the signing of the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) would open new avenues of enhancing bilateral trade. The two leaders noted progress on collaboration in education, culture, security and defence and reiterated commitment to continue pursuing common goals of economic development at all levels. The two presidents also discussed key regional and global issues of mutual interest and apprised his President Mirziyoyev on the situation in Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan and Uzbekistan enjoy historic fraternal relations, marked by mutual respect and rooted in common culture and similar traditions. The President of Uzbekistan was on his two-day first ever visit Pakistan, after assuming office in 2016, along with a high-level ministerial and business delegation.