Pakistan, Tajikistan hope for early completion of CASA-1000
Pakistan and Tajikistan agreed in principle on Wednesday to proceed with key economic and energy projects, including the stalled CASA 1000 power project.
This was decided as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon on Wednesday signed several bilateral agreements in multiple sectors, including energy, in Islamabad.
Rahmon, who is on a two-day official visit to Pakistan, held a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz.
Later, the two addressed a joint press conference to detail their discussions and agreements on issues of mutual interest and regional issues.
PM Shehbaz said they welcome the Tajik president on his visit to Pakistan.
“The people of Pakistan are happy with the visit of the Tajik President, his visit to Pakistan is a matter of pride for us,” he said.
He said that Pakistan and Tajikistan have long-standing, brotherly relations given Tajikistan is Pakistan’s closest neighbor in Central Asia, with the two countries separated only by the narrow Wakhan Corridor.
The prime minister said that efforts are being made to promote bilateral cooperation in various fields with Tajikistan.
“Pakistan desires the early completion of the Central Asia-South Asia (CASA-1000) power project to meet its growing energy needs,” he said.
He added that Pakistan wants to establish energy, rail and road connectivity with the diverse energy-rich Central Asian Republics (CARs) for the development and prosperity of the entire region.
The prime minister expressed the hope that the visit of the Tajik president to Pakistan “would usher in a new era of cooperation and development between the two countries.”
For his part, Tajikistan President Imam Ali Rehman said that Dushanbe gives special importance to relations with Pakistan, which are of a historical nature.
“Pakistan and Tajikistan are one and the same,” he remarked, adding that both countries shared commonalities which have served to further strengthen their ties.
He further said that both nations were working for the early completion of the $1.16 billion CASA-1000 energy infrastructure project among other projects such as dealing with mutual challenges such as terrorism and working for peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Rahmon said that Dushanbe was working closely with Islamabad to deal with the challenge of terrorism.
Apart from the ‘useful’ exchange of views on CASA-1000, Rahmon said that he and Shehbaz had discussed cooperation in other sectors, including agriculture, joint ventures in food technology, trade, science and technology and cooperation between the business communities of the two countries.
He informed that they held very productive meetings to further strengthen the bilateral relations and promote trade, investment and culture between the people of two brotherly nations.
Rahmon said that his country attached high priority to its ties with Pakistan.
He said both countries have been making joint efforts to further promote the friendly ties and expressed the optimism that the MoUs signed between the two countries would give new impetus to these relations.
The two sides also expressed satisfaction over cooperation in security and reaffirmed to face contemporary challenges together such as like extremism, terrorism and radicalism.
Rahmon said that they also acknowledged the significance of concerted global efforts for a stable and peaceful Afghanistan, adding that Tajikistan and Pakistan were also closely cooperating at the global level, including the United Nations, Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and other multilateral foras.
He also wished for progress and prosperity of Pakistan and its people.
Earlier, Tajik President and the Prime Minister witnessed the inking of a number of MoUs and agreements to boost bilateral cooperation in diverse fields.
Tajikistan’s president arrives in Pakistan on two-day visit
Earlier on Wednesday, Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon arrived in Islamabad for a two-day official visit at the invitation of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Commerce Minister Syed Naveed Qamar received President Emomali.
A smartly turned out contingent of guards presented a 21 gun salute and a guard of honor to the arriving dignitary.
Two children clad in traditional attire presented bouquets to welcome President Rahmon.
The Foreign Office in a statement said the two sides would share their views on further strengthening and enhancing bilateral cooperation in multiple areas.
During the visit, a number of bilateral agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) are expected to be signed.
“The Tajik President’s visit to Pakistan is expected to impart a renewed impetus to deepening cooperation between the two countries in diverse fields and further strengthen the growing geo-economic partnership,” the FO said.
The two brotherly countries, Pakistan and Tajikistan are connected via longstanding historical, cultural and religious bonds.
These ties are marked by mutual respect and exceptional cordiality as both countries share common views on various regional and international issues.
Tajikistan is the closest important partner of Pakistan in Central Asia separated by the narrow Wakhan Corridor.