DUSHANBE: Pakistan and Tajikistan on Tuesday agreed to further strengthen their relations by adopting measures to take bilateral trade to $500 million per annum, immediate revival of air links and early implementation of the CASA-1000 (Central Asia South Asia) electricity project.
The two sides reached the agreement during talks between President Mamnoon Hussain and his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rahmon at the state guest house.
President Hussain, who was in Dushanbe on a four-day official visit on the invitation of President Rahmon, held a one-on-one meeting and delegation-level talks with his Tajik counterpart.
During the talks, the two sides agreed to give new impetus to their ties through enhanced cooperation in diverse areas, including trade, energy, connectivity, defence, health, education and culture.
In a joint press statement, the presidents of the two countries expressed their satisfaction and were confident about the positive and mutually beneficial outcome of the talks.
President Hussain said as Pakistan and Tajikistan enjoyed historical, cultural and fraternal bonds, their relations had been further strengthened by close cooperation and regular exchange of high-level visits since the latter’s independence in 1991. Pakistan was among the very first few countries to recognise Tajikistan’s independence and establish diplomatic relations, he added.
He praised the Tajik president and his government for the initiative to host the conference on International Decade for Action: Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-28. He said the two brotherly countries enjoyed excellent cooperation at multilateral fora, including the UN, the OIC, the ECO, and the SCO. Pakistan’s full membership in the SCO last year opened even more avenues for increased cooperation between the two countries, he added.
President Hussain said he and his Tajik counterpart discussed and reviewed the whole spectrum of bilateral cooperation, particularly in the areas of energy, connectivity, trade and security and defence. “We also discussed important regional and international issues of mutual concern, he added.
He said the two sides noted with satisfaction on the implementation of the decisions taken at the fifth Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) meeting, which was held in June 2016.
The decisions also included the formation of four joint working groups to foster increased collaboration in areas of energy, trade, investment, transport, agriculture, industry and science and technology, he added.
President Hussain said the joint working groups on trade, investment, transport, oil and gas had come up with concrete proposals to increase cooperation in relevant areas. Both sides were working on those proposals, he added.
He said the dates for the meetings of other joint working groups, which would meet soon, were being worked out.
He said he looked forward to Tajikistan’s formal accession to the Quadrilateral Agreement on Traffic in Transit with Pakistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. This agreement would provide a legal framework to Tajikistan to utilise Pakistan’s land routes for “use of our seaports”, he added.
President Hussain said Pakistan, like Tajikistan, attached great importance to the early completion of the CASA-1000 power project. “We have, therefore, resolved to take all necessary measures to ensure the project completion as soon as possible,” he added.
He said the two sides also discussed the road, rail and air connectivity, which was crucial to regional integration and promotion of bilateral trade, tourism and people-to-people contacts. “We have, therefore, resolved to multiply our efforts to increase connectivity and work towards resumption of air flights between the two countries,” he added.
Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2018