The Former Soviet Union
In November 1992, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, and the five former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan created an extended Muslim economic block linking Asia and Europe. As a result, the expanded Economic Co-operation Organization (ECO), in terms of geographic territory covered, became the largest economic bloc after the European Community. Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif noted in a speech marking the occasion that the ECO "now corresponds to the boundaries of the ancient area, which brought prosperity and civilization. . . through fruitful exchanges along the historic silk route. The people of these lands have a shared history and common spiritual and cultural values." Nawaz Sharif added his belief that extensive investment in infrastructure and encouragement of the private sector were the most important immediate objectives. He noted that Pakistan was building a major highway network to link Central Asia to the Arabian Sea and that its railroads were "poised to link not only member states but also ECO with Europe, Russia, and South Asia." He added that "peace in Afghanistan is essential for political harmony and fruitful cooperation in our entire region."
|Country Studies main page | Pakistan Country Studies main page|