DUSHANBE (Tajikistan): Pakistan and Tajikistan on Wednesday agreed to further strengthen their existing bilateral relations through increased cooperation in diverse fields, including trade and economy, energy, infrastructure, transportation, communication and people-to-people interaction.This was agreed during a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon held here on the sidelines of the annual SCO Heads of Government Council (HGC) meeting scheduled for Thursday.During the meeting held at Qasr-e-Millet – Palace of the Nation, the two leaders had one-on-one meeting, later followed by delegation level talks.The two sides had a frank discussion on matters of mutual interest, including bilateral relations, situation in the region, particularly the fight against terrorism and extremism as well as international issues of mutual interest.
Prime Minister Gilani was assisted by Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf and Minister for Petroleum and Energy Resources Syed Naveed Qamar, while the Tajik President was aided by Tajik cabinet members.There was unanimity of views on various matters of bilateral and regional interests, including the need of having close cooperation and interaction to achieve the goals of regional peace, security and development, besides cooperation in energy sector.Talking to media, Gilani said he discussed ways to further strengthen bilateral economic and security cooperation. He said Pakistan desired full member status in the SCO, adding that the Tajik President assured his country’s full support in this regard.He said Pakistan wanted to play an active role at the SCO’s important regional forum.He mentioned the already signed Transit Trade Agreement with Afghanistan and said the meeting discussed to exercise it at trilateral level by including Tajikistan.Gilani said Pakistan wanted to increase the level of cooperation with Tajikistan at various levels, including defence, intelligence sharing, economy, agriculture and industry.The Prime Minister said during his stay, he would meet other heads of the government of SCO member states.
He said he also invited the Tajik President to visit Pakistan in near future.
He said the current trade volume between Pakistan and Tajikistan did not match their excellent historic relations and stressed the need to enhance it.Gilani said the Tajik President was appreciative of his participation in the SCO summit despite his son’s wedding the next day.Earlier during the meeting, the two leaders reviewed the progress on the implantation of the Central Asia South Asia (CASA) 1000 project, under which Pakistan, that is facing severe energy shortage, would get around 3000 MW of cheaper electricity from Tajikistan through a 900 kilometers of transmission line via Afghanistan.
Tajikistan, which has a surplus of around 3000 MW of electricity during the summer, owing to its huge hydro resources has the potential of 30,000 MW of hydro power generation, which could be exploited for mutual as well as regional benefit.
Prime Minister Gilani and President Rahmon also vowed to explore and establish transit and transportation corridors, including direct air flights to link the two countries.They also agreed to enhance cooperation in banking and transportation sectors, with the intention to bring the two people closer.The two leaders also stressed the importance of having greater interaction between the private sectors of the two countries.Prime Minister Gilani said Tajikistan has rich natural resources and the two countries can gain a lot from increased cooperation, adding, Tajikistan can make a use of Pakistan’s land routes and ports, which will bring trade and economic benefit to the two brotherly nations.The two sides agreed that shared cultural affinities and historic experiences, economic complementarities and geographic proximity have made Tajikistan and Pakistan virtual neighbours and better relations were in mutual interest of both the countries and region.Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf, Minister for Petroleum and Energy Resources Syed Naveed Qamar and Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir were also present in the meeting – App