TAJIKISTAN-PAKISTAN AGREE TO IMPROVE ROAD AND AIR LINKS - ENHANCE COOP IN TRADE AND ENERGY

Founder Editor Tazeen Akhtar..

Islamabad (Special Report) Pakistan and Tajikistan agreed today to fight againt terror and militancy shoulder to shoulder. Joint Business Council will be set up. Ground and Air links will be improved. Cooperation in security matters also discussed.Pakistan desires an early implementation of CASA-1000 power project — a project of regional energy cooperation among Tajikistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan — Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon Thursday.The project will enable Pakistan to import 1,000MW of electricity to meet its growing energy needs. Pakistan and Tajikistan signed a number of agreements aimed at broadening bilateral cooperation in the areas of trade, energy and connectivity.

Addressing a joint press conference alongside the Tajik president, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Tajikistan and Pakistan share brotherly relations and the latter serves as a gateway to Central Asian states.He expressed satisfaction that bilateral trade between the two countries has risen from $15 million in 2011 to $89 million in 2014.President Rahmon said the visit of Tajikistan delegation to Pakistan is a sign of thriving bilateral relations between the two countries.

The two delegations discussed ways to enhance cooperation in energy, security, trade, cultural and communication fields. They exchanged views to increase contacts on people-to-people basis between the two countries and exchange of delegations. They also discussed matters relating to counter-terrorism and controlling human and drug smuggling.Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan wants strong trade and economic relations with Tajikistan.

He said Pakistan wants an early implementation of CASA-1000 project, which is an important project to help overcome energy shortage in the country. He said Pakistan wishes to increase ground and air contacts with Tajikistan.The premier said Pakistan gives extreme importance to its relations with Central Asian Republics.

On the occasion, Tajik President stressed the need for enhancing people-to-people contacts between the two countries.The two leaders also held one on one meeting and exchanged views on bilateral relations and matters of mutual interest.

Earlier, President Rahmon was received by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for an official reception at the Prime Minister House.A guard of honour was presented in honour of the Tajik President.

President Mamnoon Hussain and President of Tajikistan Mr. Emomali Rahmon have agreed that bilateral cooperation between the two brotherly countries in trade, energy, regional connectivity, infrastructure development, security and defence sectors would pave the way for welfare and progress of the people of two countries.

The two leaders agreed on this during a meeting at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, Islamabad on Wednesday evening.

Earlier, Mr. Emomali Rahmon President of Tajikistan was warmly received on his arrival at the Aiwan-e-Sadr by President Mamnoon Hussain and children clad in traditional dress presented bouquets to him. The two leaders had one on one meeting which was followed by delegation level talks between the two countries. President Mamnoon Hussain also hosted a State Banquet in honour of President of Tajikistan and his delegation at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.

President Mamnoon said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will provide Tajikistan with road connectivity and access to our ports. The President stated that Pakistani nation is keenly looking forward to the early completion of CASA-1000 project adding that its completion would not only help Pakistan meet its growing energy needs, but would also generate substantial revenue for Tajikistan.

The President underlined that Pakistan and Tajikistan can jointly overcome the challenges of organized cross border crimes and narcotics-trafficking. The President said that Pakistan fully supports Tajikistan’s initiatives for regional peace and progress. He stated that Pakistan is ready to facilitate Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process for bringing about peace and tranquility in Afghanistan, if so desired by the Afghan Government. The President said that a stable Afghanistan is vital for peace and prosperity of the whole region.

On the occasion, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon said that Pakistan is his second home and he does not consider himself a guest here. President Emomali stated that his country is desirous of having joint ventures and close cooperation with Pakistan. President Emomali stated that work on CASA 1000 would begin by the mid of next year. President Emomali also extended invitation to President Mamnoon Hussain to visit Tajikistan.

President Mamnoon Hussain said that centuries-old historical and cultural affinities exist between the two countries adding that both countries are committed to the realization of shared goals of peace, progress and prosperity not only in their respective countries but in the entire region. The President stated that Pakistan is keen to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

President Mamnoon expressed his desire for regular political and economic dialogue at all levels with Tajikistan to fast-track the completion of ongoing projects. The President further said that geostrategic location of both brotherly countries would have positive impact on the progress and welfare of the people of Pakistan and Tajikistan. The President expressed satisfaction that bilateral trade between the two countries has enhanced and hoped that it would increase to the level of US $500 million adding in this regard Business Forum and Business Council of the two countries should meet regularly. The President observed that Pakistan’s recent accession to TIR (International Road Transport) Convention will also help in facilitating and enhancing bilateral trade.

Governors of Punjab and Balochistan, Federal Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Hafiz Hafeez-ur-Rehman, Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan, Minister for Commerce, Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and high officials were also present on the occasion.

Pakistan and Tajikistan today agreed to share  list of their priorities, within next one month, for furthering mutual cooperation in the field of security to effectively overcome shared challenges including fight against terrorism, narco-trade and human smuggling  besides learning form each others’ experiences and expertise.

This was agreed during meeting of the Interior Minister Ch. Nisar Ali Khan with his Tajik counterpart Mr. Rakhimzoda Ramazon here at Punjab House today

Besides Pak-Tajikistan relations, the two leaders discussed bilateral cooperation and agreed upon the need to further strengthen their equation in the areas of security, narcotics control, immigration, drugs and human smuggling.

At the outset of the meeting the Interior Minister observed that Pakistan values its friendly ties with Tajikistan and wants to further strengthen the existing relationship in all possible areas of cooperation.

He said that the visit of President Emomali Rehman would be instrumental in taking our bilateral equation to a higher level and would provide momentum to efforts aimed at furthering our mutual interactions at all levels. He said that the Agreement  on Extradition signed today between the two countries is an important milestone towards our shared objective of forging a robust security partnership and strengthening our law enforcing agencies.

The Interior Minister said that the two governments after sharing their priorities would work out, with mutual consultation, the areas that need immediate attention vis-a-vis strenghtening our security  cooperation.

Tajik Interior Minister Mr. Rakhimzoda Ramazonthanked the Interior Minister for the welcome. He extended an invitation to the Interior Minister to undertake offical visit to Tajikistan and said that his visit would promote greater cooperation between the two countries in the area of security.

Mr. Rahamanov said that counter-terrorism, drugs  trade and human smuggling were some of the critical areas were Pakistan could help his country in a significant manner.  Appreciating the progress that Pakistan has made in bio-metric registration of citizens and sim verification, the Tajik Interior Minister said that Tajikistan was keen to learn from Pakistani experience and expertise in this field. The Interior Minister said that that Pakistan would extend all possible assistance to Tajikistan in this area.

Discussing the menace of drug trade and its impacts on the region, Mr. Rakhimzoda Ramazon also appreciated the progress that Pakistan has made for past few decades in interdicting drugs. He said that Tajikistan looks forward to learn from Pakistan expertise in this area also.

The two leaders agreed that peace was essential towards promoting socio-economic development and economic activity in the region and therefore the law enforcing agencies need to be strengthened through better training and greater sharing of information and expertise.