ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Tajikistan while agreeing on stronger cooperation in energy, defence and trade have vowed to improve regional connectivity to further deepen their bilateral ties.
The two countries inked several accords on Thursday in diverse fields including a treaty on extradition, an agreement on energy cooperation and a memorandum of understanding on setting up a business council.
Premier Nawaz Sharif and Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon, while addressing a joint press stakeout following delegation-level talks at the PM House, termed the visit “productive” and “fruitful”, and said it would help expand the multifaceted relationship between the two countries.
“We reviewed our ties and agreed to build on the potential of our relationship for the mutual advantage of the two nations,” PM Nawaz said.
The Tajik president, who is on his sixth visit TRADE, FROM PAGE 1
to Pakistan, said the two countries had laid a “solid foundation” by inking another set of agreements to help them explore new avenues of cooperation.
The two countries have increased their trade from a meagre $15 million in 2011 to $89 million in 2014 and are trying to increase it up to $500 million in the next three years.
The Tajik president is accompanied by a high-profile delegation comprising ministers and other senior officials, and a number of leading businessmen of Tajikistan.
PM Nawaz said Pakistan was looking forward to the early completion of the CASA-1000 project to help the country meet its energy needs. He hoped the project would be completed by 2018.
The two leaders also described extremism and terrorism as a “common threat” and expressed the resolve to counter the twin menaces and bring peace and stability to their countries and the region.
Stressing the importance of regional connectivity, PM Nawaz called for enhancing road, rail and air links between Pakistan and Tajikistan, and also offered Pakistan’s sea ports as trade routes. “Connectivity holds the key to regional integration,” he said.
He said Tajikistan’s geostrategic location was crucial to his government’s vision of reaching out to friendly states in Central Asia.
He recalled his recent visits to Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and apprised the Tajik president about his upcoming visit to Uzbekistan on November 17. He said these visits were aimed at promoting bilateral cooperation.
The leaders also discussed ways to further strengthen bilateral relations particularly in the areas of trade, energy and connectivity.
In a one-on-one meeting held at the PM House, they emphasised close collaboration between Pakistan and Tajikistan at the level of governments and people for the mutual benefit of the two countries.
PM Nawaz said relations with Central Asia were based on cultural and religious affinity dating back centuries. He added Pakistan wished to transform these fraternal ties into a strong economic partnership.
He said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor would provide new opportunities for enhanced connectivity and integration from Gwadar to Kashgar, and provide a road link with Tajikistan through other Central Asian states.
Pakistan, the premier said, attached great importance to security cooperation with Tajikistan. He also proposed sharing the experience on counterterrorism, anti-narcotics, controlling human trafficking and best border control practices.
Tajik President Rahmon endorsed the prime minister for taking steps to strengthen ties in areas of trade, energy, communication, security and defence, and people-to-people contacts.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2015.