Pakistan and Tajikistan on Wednesday agreed to strengthen their bilateral relations with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani saying that Islamabad desires a full member status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
Premier Gilani and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon had a one-on-one meeting at the Qasr-e-Millet on the sidelines of the annual SCO Heads of Government Council (HGC) meeting scheduled for Thursday.
Gilani said Pakistan wanted to play an active role at the SCO and that his country has already signed a transit-trade agreement with Afghanistan. He added that in his meeting with the Tajik president they explored the possibility of exercising the agreement at a trilateral level by including Tajikistan.
The two sides had unanimity in views on various matters of bilateral and regional interests, including the importance of close cooperation between the two countries, interaction to achieve goals of peace, regional security and development, and cooperation in the energy sector.
The two leaders reviewed progress on the implantation of the Central Asia South Asia (CASA) 1,000 project, under which Pakistan will receive approximately 3,000 megawatts of cheap electricity from Tajikistan through a 900-kilometre transmission line via Afghanistan.
They also vowed to establish transit and transportation corridors, including direct air flights to link the two countries. They also agreed to enhance cooperation in banking and transportation sectors, with the intention to bring the two people closer. They also stressed the importance of having greater interaction between the private sectors of the two countries.
Premier Gilani informed the media that the current trade volume between the two countries did not match their excellent historic relations and stressed the need to enhance it. He said Tajikistan possessed rich natural resources and that the two countries could gain a lot from increased cooperation, adding that Tajikistan can make use of Pakistan’s land routes and ports, which will bring trade and economic benefit to the two nations.
Gilani said Pakistan wanted to increase the level of cooperation with Tajikistan at various levels, including defence, intelligence sharing, economy, agriculture and industry.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 25th, 2010.