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PM Nawaz, Tajik President agree to boost trade, energy ties

DUSHANBE: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon on Wednesday agreed to further strengthen bilateral relations, particularly in areas of trade, energy and connectivity.

Chairing the delegation-level meeting held here at Qasr-e-Millat – the presidential palace – the two leaders emphasized on close collaboration between Pakistan and Tajikistan at the levels of governments and people.

The prime minister arrived here this afternoon to attend the launching ceremony of Central Asia South Asia (CASA-1000) to be held on Thursday.

Sharif in his remarks at the meeting said Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with Central Asia, particularly Tajikistan, which is geographically closest to it among all Central Asian states.

He said CASA-1000 would prove a significant milestone for Pakistan to minimize its electricity shortage and apprised the Tajik President of his vision to overcome power crisis in the country by 2018.

Both leaders agreed that connectivity holds key to regional integration and expressed satisfaction over the recent launch of direct flights of Tajikistan’s Somon Air from Lahore to Dushanbe.

The PM mentioned that bilateral trade between Pakistan and Tajikistan had steadily risen to US$15 million in 2011 to US$ 89 million in 2014 and called for taking steps to achieve the target of US$ 500 million in three years.

He said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would provide new opportunities for enhanced connectivity and integration from Gwadar to Kashgar, besides providing a road link with Tajikistan through Murghab and other Central Asian states.

Sharif offered Tajikistan to use Pakistani sea ports for imports and exports that provide the shortest route to sea.

The prime minister said Pakistan attaches great importance to security cooperation with Tajikistan, and proposed sharing of experiences on counter-terrorism, anti-narcotics, controlling human trafficking and border control practices.

President Emomali Rahmon welcomed the development of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which will also facilitate connectivity between Pakistan and Tajikistan and other Central Asian States.

He acknowledged Pakistan’s support to the request by Tajikistan to accede to the Quadrilateral Agreement on Traffic in Transit among China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan.

The delegation-level meeting was attended by Minister for Water and Power Khwaja Muhamamd Asif, PM’s Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi, Secretary Water and Power Younus Dhaga and Pakistan’s ambassador to Tajikistan Tariq Iqbal Soomro.

Earlier, President Rahmon received Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on his arrival at the Presidential Palace. The two leaders warmly shook hands and greeted each other. –APP