TURKMENISTAN and Pakistan enjoy excellent economic, social, cultural and political relations since 1991 when Pakistan recognised the independence of Turkmenistan. For the past two decades, Turkmenistan and Pakistan have been developing good diplomatic relations.
In October 1994, the then prime minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, had visited Turkmenistan and subsequently Nawaz Sharif also visited Turkmenistan in October 1997.
The recent visit to Pakistan by the president of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, will boost bilateral relations between the two. The presidents of Turkmenistan and Pakistan expressed the resolve to expedite the $7.6 billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, which was inked last December in Askhabad, Turkmenistan. Both states agreed to start direct air links between Turkmenistan and Pakistan which would develop a trade corridor in the region. Pakistan is currently suffering from an energy crisis, and the TAPI gas pipeline project will prove one of the remedies to its energy crisis.
The Central Asian state also wants to build the pipeline to sell energy to energy-hungry countries like Pakistan. The TAPI gas pipeline project will surely provide energy security in the region.
HAFIZ MUHAMMAD IRFAN Islamabad