SAMARKAND: Pakistan and Kazakhstan on Friday agreed for early finalization of bilateral Transit Trade Agreement and undertake expert-level studies to enhance cooperation in the energy sector. The bilateral ties were discussed in a meeting between Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif and Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev here on the sidelines of the annual Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Both leaders emphasized facilitating people-to-people contacts through liberalized visa policies to boost trade, educational links, and investments. They also exchanged views on key regional and international issues. They affirmed the commitment to enhance Pakistan-Kazakhstan relations in diverse fields particularly trade, investment and transportation links. President Tokayev conveyed sympathies and condolences over the devastation caused by the unprecedented climate change induced floods in Pakistan. The prime minister thanked the Kazakh president for the support and solidarity extended by Kazakhstan. He updated him about the colossal losses in terms of human lives and damage to crops, livestock and critical infrastructure, caused by climate change. PM Shehbaz Sharif stressed the need for urgent global action to deal with the global threat. He underlined that Pakistan was committed to comprehensively upgrade engagement with the Central Asian countries through its “Vision Central Asia” policy. He particularly emphasized the importance of connectivity and Pakistan’s pivotal position in providing the shortest access route to the sea. The prime minister highlighted the significance of trans-Afghan railway project connecting Uzbekistan to Pakistan through Afghanistan. He expressed the desire to link up the existing Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway line to Pakistan. To promote regional integration, the two leaders also decided to enhance connectivity through land and air routes. The prime minister also underscored the importance of peace and stability in Afghanistan for Pakistan and the region. He stressed that the international community had to remain engaged to support the Afghan people, to address urgent humanitarian needs, and take steps to stabilize the economy. Sustainable peace and security in Afghanistan would contribute to regional peace, connectivity and progress, he added. Both leaders agreed to increase the frequency of high-level political exchanges. The prime minister reiterated his invitation to President Tokayev to visit Pakistan. President Tokayev renewed his invitation to the prime minister for the next CICA Summit in Nur Sultan.