Pak-Tajik accords on food, health, sports
09 March, 2011
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Tajikistan on Tuesday expressed the determination to enhance their friendship and partnership to new heights through increased cooperation in diverse fields, including trade and economy, infrastructure, communication, energy, agriculture, health and sports.
The determination was made during wide-ranging one-on-one as well as delegation level talks between Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and Tajik President Emomali Rahmanove here at the PM House, that followed the signing of a comprehensive Joint Declaration, covering all areas of cooperation.
The two sides also signed bilateral agreements to enhance cooperation between Pakistan and Tajikistan in the areas of food, agriculture, health and sports.
Later, at a joint press stakeout, Prime Minister Gilani and President Rahmanove termed their talks as well as agreements extremely “productive and future oriented” and “a step forward” to further strengthen their ties.
Prime Minister Gilani said that Pakistan attached high importance to further strengthening its brotherly relations and partnership with Tajikistan, adding, “Tajikistan is our near neighbour separated by the Wakhan Corridor. Our two countries enjoy deep-rooted bonds of history, culture, literature and traditions.” He expressed satisfaction over the talks during which the two sides held indepth review of the bilateral relations as well as the regional and international situation. “Our two countries enjoy similarity of views on all important issues. We are determined to take our friendship and partnership to new heights,” he added.
The prime minister said that the comprehensive Joint Declaration signed between the two countries provided a broad ranging framework for the future direction of bilateral relations, adding, “This declaration covers all key areas of bilateral cooperation.”
“Our mutual interaction was extremely cordial, productive and future oriented”, he said and added the two sides also signed agreements on health, food and agriculture and sports.
President Rahmanove said, “The two sides share views on critical regional issues and have reaffirmed to play their due role in strengthening cooperation to achieve peace and stability in the region and curb the menace of terrorism and narco trade.”
He said, “Pakistan and Tajikistan recognise that fighting terrorism and extremism as well as drug trafficking are vital for peace and security of the region.”
President Rahmanove said his visit on the invitation of President Zardari was aimed at not only strengthening the bilateral relations but to exchange views on crucial regional and international issues, with particular focus on the role of two countries in resolving these issues. He was confident that Pakistan-Tajikistan Business Forum to be held in Karachi on Wednesday would open a “new horizon of cooperation” to help boost the bilateral relations.
President Emomali Rahmanove termed the signing of agreements between Pakistan and Tajikistan on food, agriculture, health and sports as a “step forward” in strengthening the ties and said there existed a lot of opportunities of bilateral trade.
The Tajik president said that the two sides also deliberated on the early realisation of Central Asia South Asia CASA-1000 electricity project, adding Russia had also expressed its willingness to support the project.
He said that both the countries were determined to cooperate in infrastructure development projects, hydropower plants and joint ventures, adding, his country would provide on reciprocal basis free land to Pakistan for the establishment of free economic zones.
The Tajik president said that both the countries pledged to developing regional cooperation under the umbrella of regional organisations such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC). He said that Tajikistan was supportive of Pakistan-India dialogue process and would advocate for resolving issues through dialogue and negotiations.
To a question about the CASA-1000 project, Prime Minister Gilani termed the project as “very important” for Pakistan, under which Pakistan would initially get 1000 megawatts of electricity from Tajikistan. Gilani further said that Pakistan had also suggested a trilateral transit trade agreement between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan to facilitate Tajik trade from Pakistani seaports.
President Rahmanove, responding to the same query, termed the CASA-1000 project as one of the first and biggest regional projects, under which over 1,100 kilometers of electricity transmission line would be laid from Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan via Tajikistan and Afghanistan with the help of the World Bank. The feasibility study of the project is to be completed by May 1, 2011, he added.
Rahmanove mentioned three times increase in the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Tajikistan over the last two years and said that his country was committed to doubling its efforts to further augment the trade.
President Rahmanove said his government would also consider the signing of a trilateral transit trade agreement involving Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Prime Minister Gilani appreciated the vision of President Rahmanove on the establishment of hydropower projects and said that Pakistan would abide by the terms and conditions of the CASA-1000 agreement.
President Rahmanove, however, added that as far as Pakistan and Tajikistan were concerned, they were already cooperating in this respect through intelligence sharing and the cooperation between the two countries’ ministries of interior.
The Tajik president on this occasion also congratulated the women of Pakistan on the 100th anniversary of the International Women Day. Later, in the night, Prime Minister Gilani hosted a banquet in honour of President Emomali Rahmanove.
Speaking at the banquet, the prime minister said: “Our mutual trade figure has reached record US$21 million in 2010. Still, this figure is far below our true potential and both the countries should explore new areas of collaboration, as well as consolidate and enhance existing economic ties, to propel our economies towards stability and prosperity.” He said that relations between the two brotherly countries have grown from strength to strength, especially in the last three years.
The prime minister hoped that the close fraternal links between the two countries were befittingly aligned to mutual economic interests and were well equipped to further this cooperation on a stronger footing.
Federal ministers, parliamentarians, Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, diplomats and senior officers attended the banquet. Earlier, in the day, the presidents of Pakistan and Tajikistan jointly performed the groundbreaking of the new Tajik Embassy complex here at the Diplomatic Enclave.
The $4 million project will be completed in two years over a covered area of around 8,000 square yards. Both Pakistan and Tajikistan have provided free-of-cost land for their respective embassy buildings.
Tajik President Emomali Rakhmanov and President Asif Ali Zardari in brief remarks said the construction of the new embassy was the reflection of their close friendship and would strengthen the deep-rooted ties between the two countries.
President Zardari, assuring all-out assistance to Tajikistan in the completion of the project, said both countries were keen to strengthen infrastructure and energy connectivity and further promoting trade and economic cooperation.
He hoped President Rahmanove’s visit would add a new chapter to the bilateral relations between the two countries. He said Pakistan and Tajikistan enjoyed deep-rooted bonds of brotherhood and friendship. “We have common history, culture and traditions and common heroes and literature,” the president said.
President Emomali Rahmanove said his country accorded high priority to its ties with Pakistan. He also noted with appreciation the role Pakistan played during the days of domestic conflict in Tajikistan, and to bring peace and stability. He mentioned its role in the holding of an inter-Tajik dialogue in Pakistan in this regard.
He said his country wished diversified cooperation with Pakistan in all fields and desires that the two countries learn from the experiences of the other. Upon arrival at the venue, President Zardari was received by the president of Tajikistan. A young Tajik girl presented him a bouquet. A number of diplomats attended the event and exchanged pleasantries with President Rahmanove.
Our correspondent adds: Tajik President Emomali Rahmanove met Senate Chairman Farooq H Naek here at the Parliament House.
Talking to the Senate chairman and his delegation, the Tajik president expressed the confidence that the brotherly relations between Tajikistan and Pakistan would further strengthen with the passage of time. He said the enhance cooperation between the two countries was not only important for Pakistan and Tajikistan, but also for the regional peace, security and prosperity.