Pakistan, Tajikistan agree on exploring ties in trade, energy, defence sectors

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DUSHANBE (Tajikistan), July 5 (APP): With a focus on regional
connectivity, trade and energy, Pakistan and Tajikistan Wednesday agreed on exploring new avenues of cooperation by increasing collaborating in economy, defence and security, agriculture and education.
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, who is here in the Tajik capital
on a two-day official visit, along with President Emomali Rahmon inked the Joint Declaration aimed at enhancing regional connectivity between the two countries and the region at large.
The two leaders emphasized close collaboration between Pakistan and
Tajikistan both at the government and people level, besides giving a further boost to their bilateral relations.
The two leaders also witnessed inking of Memorandum of Understanding on trade cooperation. Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan signed the MoU on trade cooperation along with Tajik Minister of Economy NaimatUllah Hikmatullah Zada.
The MoU on cooperation between University of Arif Agriculture,
Rawalpindi and Agriculture University, Dushanbe was signed by its Rector NaimatUllah Faiz ullah and Advisor to PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.
The Prime Minister in his statement to the press at the conclusion of
his one-on-one and delegation-level talks with President Emomali, said he was impressed by the “remarkable political stability, social cohesion and impressive economic progress” of Tajikistan.
He said the two sides discussed the importance of road, rail and air
connectivity and said it was vital for regional integration, promotion of
bilateral trade, tourism, people to people contacts.
“We have therefore resolved to multiply our efforts to increase
connectivity between our two countries,” he said.
Nawaz Sharif said his visit had provided an opportunity to translate
their close political ties into strategic cooperation in all spheres particularly economy, trade, investment energy and defense.
During the talks, the two sides also agreed to continue cooperation in
international fora including the United Nations, Shanghai Cooperation
Organization, Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Economic Cooperation
Organization.
Vowing joint steps against terrorism, the two sides agreed on holding
first meeting of Pakistan Tajikistan Joint Working Group on countering international terrorism.
Prime Minister Sharif said the two sides also identified the need for
increased cooperation in agriculture, industry, education and culture.
He said Pakistan views with admiration the laudable socio-economic
development and progress achieved under President Rahmon’s leadership.
Sharif recalled that it was his fourth visit since June 2014 while
President Rahmon made two visits to Pakistan. He said frequent high level visits were reflective of importance the two countries attach to their relationship.
Prime Minister Nawaz said Islamabad attaches great importance to its
relations with Central Asian countries, particularly Tajikistan. Both leaders agreed that connectivity holds key to regional integration.
The two leaders expressed satisfaction on the progress achieved so far
in the economic sphere particularly with regard to CASA-1000 Project and hoped it would soon move into the construction phase. The Prime Minister stressed the need for further enhancing trade, energy and defense cooperation.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif referred to the bilateral trade between
Pakistan and Tajikistan and said as agreed in 2014, the two countries need to take measures to boost it to us $500 million in the next three years.

The Prime Minister recalled that a Business Forum was also held in
Dushanbe last month where the two sides discussed cooperation in pharmaceuticals, textiles and construction sectors.
He said the Joint Working Group on trade investment and transport
would also be meeting later this month to explore untapped opportunities in these areas. He also announced opening of a Commercial Section at Pakistan’s embassy in Dushanbe.
Over the past few years the bilateral trade between the two countries
has hovered between US 40 to 90 million dollars, however the two countries have agreed on boosting it to US 500 million dollars.
Prime Minister Sharif said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
would provide new opportunities for enhanced connectivity and integration from Gwadar to Kashgar. It would also provide a road link with Tajikistan and other Central Asian states.
He said Pakistan attaches great importance to security cooperation
with Tajikistan. He said the two countries can share experience on counter-terrorism, anti-narcotics, controlling human trafficking and border control.
The Prime Minister said the close fraternal relations between Pakistan
and Tajikistan were based on shared goals of peace, prosperity and progress.
He said Tajikistan ‘s formal accession to Quadrilateral Traffic in
Transit Agreement (QTTA) among China Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan would facilitate regional integration and boost economic development.
The two sides also noted the close collaboration between their defence
forces and measures to counter extremism and terrorism.
The two sides also stressed the need for a meeting of their joint
Working Group on combating international terrorism and agreed on its meeting on countering international terrorism in Dushanbe this month.
Sharif also offered capacity building of the Tajik Armed Forces.
The Prime Minister also shared with the Tajik president the
deteriorating situation in the Indian Occupied Kashmir and said the international community need to stand up with the oppressed people of Kashmir and reject the violation of human rights.
Regarding relations with Afghanistan, the Prime Minister said its
peace and stability was in Pakistan’s interest and said his country would continue to constructively participate in all initiatives to bring peace. He said a stable Afghanistan would promote regional connectivity and economic development.
The two leaders also expressed satisfaction over the holding of the
Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) in Islamabad in June 2016. The JMC took important decisions to increase bilateral trade and to achieve the target of $500 million over the medium term.
President Emomali Rahmon in his statement to the press congratulated
Pakistan on accession to the SCO. He noted the strong ties between the two countries and said it coincides with 25 anniversary of their ties that have grown stronger over the years.
He said the talks were held in warm constructive atmosphere and
emphasized that stronger ties would boost regional cooperation and economic relations.
He said continued dialogue would boost ties between the two countries
and stressed the need to finalize agreement on Bilateral transit Trade at earliest.
The Tajik President hoped that Pakistani investors would join trade
free zones in Tajikistan.
He said Tajikistan was land locked and was keen to use opportunities
by Pakistan to use its ports for exporting Tajik goods to rest of the world.
He said both sides exchanged views on regional situation and need to
expand ties at ECO, OIC and SCO.
He said Tajikistan was satisfied with the visit of Prime minister
Nawaz Sharif and hoped it would lead to enhanced cooperation between the two countries.