ISLAMABAD: Practical steps are needed for the implementation of an energy corridor between Pakistan and Tajikistan, which would connect Central and South Asia to alleviate poverty and regional connectivity, said participants at a conference on bilateral relations.
The conference was organised by the Embassy of Tajikistan and Centre for Global Strategic Studies (CGSS) on Monday titled, ‘Pakistan-Tajikistan; Exploring New Dimensions of Bilateral Cooperation’.
Speaking on the occasion, CGSS Chairperson Muhammad Zahirul Islam said that Tajikistan is a leader in energy resources and an energy corridor would benefit the entire region. He was of the view that the two countries should take practical steps to implement the corridor. Islam said that Pakistan offered the shortest transit route to Tajikistan and Gwadar Port could play its part in connecting the region.
He said that Pakistan and Tajikistan need direct flights to enhance people to people contact. He urged the idea of forming a joint business council to enhance bilateral trade.
Also present on the occasion, Ambassador of Tajikistan Sherali Jononov gave a presentation on CASA-1000 power import project. He said the project will alleviate electricity shortages in Pakistan during the peak summer season and replace fuel-based power generation with clean hydropower.
Jononov stated that his country has surplus electricity, which could be exported to Pakistan to meet its energy requirements. “CASA-1000 is a landmark project, which will provide 1,000MW of electricity to Pakistan to mitigate its acute energy deficit.” Tajikistan and Pakistan have also established a joint commission for development of energy cooperation, and are currently making efforts to prepare important documents for signing.
Dr Hakim Abdullah Rahnamo, Head of Department on Analysis and Foreign Policy Perspective of the Centre for Strategic Researchers under the president of Tajikistan, said that Tajikistan had an open-door policy, which focused on enhancing relations with neighbouring countries.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan Additional Secretary Abdurahmonov Marufjan said that Pakistan and Tajikistan had signed several agreements since 1992 to improve bilateral relations in trade, energy and science. He said that bilateral trade has jumped to $100 million but the target has been set for $500 million.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 10th, 2018.