President Mamnoon Hussain on Sunday said Pakistan offered excellent opportunities to Tajikistan for its imports and exports through the Gwadar port and invited the country to benefit from the trade route of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The president, in a meeting with Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon, hoped that the legal process for Tajikistan’s entry into Quadrilateral Traffic-in-Transit Agreement (QTTA) would provide the Central Asian country a legal framework to access Pakistani seaports through CPEC.
The QTTA is a transit trade deal between China, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan with a road project under the umbrella of CPEC.
The two leaders, who met here in the Turkmenistan’s capital on the sidelines of the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG), discussed cooperation in energy sector, regional connectivity and trade.
The president said: “Pakistan attaches great priority to the timely completion of CASA-1000 (Central Asia South Asia) by 2018 and looks forward to importing electricity from Tajikistan.”
He called for expediting the implementation phase of CASA-1000 and initiating physical work on the flagship project for its timely completion.
“Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with the Central Asian countries, particularly Tajikistan, as the two countries enjoy fraternal ties, share common goals of peace and prosperity for their peoples and the region as a whole.”
He stressed the need to finalise the Bilateral Transit Trade Agreement which, he said, would create a ‘win-win situation’ by creating road links between Pakistan and Tajikistan.
“Bilateral trade between Pakistan and Tajikistan is the highest among the Central Asian countries,” emphasising the need to tap its true potential.
The president mentioned that three Pakistani trade exhibitions had been organised in Dushanbe since October 2015, in addition to holding of two business forums, the latest one in May 2017.
The president apprised his Tajik counterpart that Pakistan was holding the 10th edition of the Expo Pakistan this November and suggested that Tajikistan could send a trade delegation to Expo Pakistan, to which President Emomali Rahmon agreed.
He said Tajikistan was a gateway to Central Asian countries and emphasised that establishment of air and road links would promote bilateral trade and tourism.
He said resumption of direct air link between the two countries in May 2016 was a big step forward and stressed the need for resumption of flights by Tajikistan’s Somon Air which had been suspended within three months of its launch.
President Emomali said Tajikistan and Pakistan were celebrating 25 years of their diplomatic relations and mentioned that the bilateral accords signed during the last four years had enriched the legal framework of relations.
He agreed to give directive to his government for resumption of Somon Air flights to Pakistan.
He thanked Pakistan for providing counter-terrorism training to Tajikistan’s defence, security and police officials that helped improve their professional capacity.
He said though the trade volume between Pakistan and Tajikistan was the highest among all Central Asian states, he emphasised to further boost it.
President Emomali extended an invitation to President Mamnoon to visit Tajikistan in future, which was accepted by him.
Minister of State for Petroleum Jam Kamal and Pakistan’s ambassador to Turkmenistan Murad Ashraf Jamal were present in the meeting.