PM, Tajik President discuss strengthening cooperation in trade, energy, connectivity

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 12 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon met here Thursday and discussed ways to further strengthen bilateral relations particularly in the areas of trade, energy and connectivity.
In a one-on-one meeting held here at the PM House, the two leaders emphasized on close collaboration between Pakistan and Tajikistan at the levels of governments and people for the mutual benefit of the two countries.
Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with Central Asia particularly Tajikistan, which is geographically closest to Pakistan among all Central Asian states.
Stressing need for establishment of air links between Pakistan
and Tajikistan on priority basis, he said, connectivity holds key to
the regional integration.
The Prime Minister said the relations with Central Asia are
based on cultural and religious affinity dating back centuries and
added that Pakistan wished to transform these fraternal ties into a
strong economic partnership.
He recalled his recent visits to Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and
Tajikistan and apprised him of his upcoming visit to Uzbekistan on
November 17.
He said these visits were aimed at further promoting bilateral
cooperation and stressed to ensure implementation of initiatives
taken and Agreements concluded during such high-level visits.
The Prime Minister expressed satisfaction that bilateral trade
between Pakistan and Tajikistan had steadily risen to US$15 million
in 2011 to US$89 million in 2014. He called for working arduously to
achieve the target of US$500 million that had been agreed to achieve in
three years in 2014.
On stronger connectivity, the Prime Minister said China
Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would provide new opportunities for
enhanced connectivity and integration from Gwadar to Kashgar. It
will also provide a road link with Tajikistan through Murghab and
other Central Asian states.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan was keen for
implementation of CASA-1000 (Central Asia South Asia) project and
expressed hope that the project would be completed by 2018.
Pakistan, he said, attaches great importance to security
cooperation with Tajikistan, and proposed to share the experiences on
counter-terrorism, anti-narcotics, controlling human trafficking and
best border control practices.
Tajik President Rahmon endorsed the Prime Minister for
enhanced steps to further strengthen ties in areas of trade, energy,
communication, security and defence, and people-to-people contacts.
Later, the two leaders chaired the delegation-level meeting.
The Tajik side was apprised that Pakistan had given permission
to Somon Air, a private airline of Tajikistan, to fly to its many
cities including Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad and Quetta.
Pakistan reiterated its support for Tajikistan’s accession to
Quadrilateral Agreement on Traffic in Transit among China,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan.
It was agreed that Pakistan and Tajikistan had similar views on
major issues and cooperated closely at regional and multilateral
fora including United Nations, Organization of Islamic Conference,
Economic Coordination Organization and Shanghai Cooperation
Organization.