Tajikistan –A Trustworthy Friend of Pakistan
Recent visit of Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to Republic of Tajikistan, known as the heart of the Central Asia, the land of snow, meadows and mountains, was a watershed moment for taking the relations to new levels. Prime Minister to Republic of Tajikistan, one of the important countries of the region, at the invitation of President of Tajikistan Mr. Emomali Rahmon. He was accompanied by a delegation including the Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali, Minister of Textile Industry Abbas Khan Afridi, the Minister of State for The Prime Minister also participated in the International Conference on the Implementation of the International Decade for Action, “Water for Life” 2005-2015. The Conference was hosted by Tajikistan in pursuance of the UN General Assembly resolution, which was co-sponsored by Pakistan. The Conference reviewed the status of implementation of the objectives of the Decade, which include implementation of water-related internationally agreed goals. At the end of the Summit, a formal declaration was adopted to enhance the measures to achieve the goals of socio-economic sustainable development related to water and its conservation. Later Prime Minister held one-on-one meeting with President of Tajikistan at Qasr-e-Millat. Pakistan. During the meeting, it was reiterated to strengthen the bilateral relations to much higher level through several projects, proposals, aims, objectives and agreements. Both states signed an agreement and four Memoranda of Understanding under which the two countries will cooperate with each other for the eradication of terrorism, promotion of technical cooperation for the uplift of textile industry, professional and technical training and cooperation for the promotion of culture. Highlight of the visit was the discussion, deliberations and urge to move ahead with CASA-1000 project. energy cooperation among Tajikistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan hence was the major agenda of the talk between the two sides. The joint communique issued at the end of visit of Prime Minister of Pakistan mentions that the leaders of Pakistan and Tajikistan of a trilateral agreement on transit trade among Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan as it will contribute to improving economic and trade relations by giving greater impetus to regional cooperation. The communique stressed the need to strengthen the capacity of transit and transportation, including through enhanced cooperation at the regional level. It was agreed to organize meetings of Joint Commission on Energy & Infrastructure twice a year to explore the possibilities of mutually of energy and infrastructure. Both countries will cooperate with each other regional and global security. It was also decided to hold Pakistani Product Exhibition in Dushanbe October 2015. It is worth notable here also that Tajikistan is second country after China which has hosted 20 children and School, Peshawar, to enable them to recover from the psychological trauma after December 2014 attack. While glancing at history of relations between Pakistan and Tajikistan, countries to establish diplomatic relations with Tajikistan soon after the latter gained independence in 1991. End of Cold war opened new corridors for Pakistan to explore in this energy rich region. Stalwarts of foreign policy these states at that time and continued building on to develop relations with these states on bilateral level. Pakistan opened its embassy in Dushanbe in 1993 while Tajikistan opened its diplomatic mission in Pakistan four years later in 1997. Bilateral ties between the two countries are actually based on mutual respect, shared interests, and a common desire to promote peace, stability and development in the region and beyond.
Both sides always cooperated with each other on bilateral issues. Major thrust of engagement with each other is “trade, investment, energy, connectivity, people-to-people contacts, tourism, culture”. Both states also stood by each other at UN,OIC, ECO and SCO along with other relevant regional and international organizations. Pakistan also received tremendous support from Tajikistan in its recent bid for membership in SCO – one of the largest countries, of which Pakistan is now a permanent member. The geographical proximity, religious and cultural juxtaposition of the two countries has also provided a solid foundation for enhancing the relations as the two are separated only by mere 14 km Wakhan corridor. During the early years of relations, several high level visits took place including President Gen Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, along with this President of Tajikistan Mr.Emomali Rahman also joint commissions to address bilateral economic, commercial, economic, science and technical cooperation were established and are active and functional since then. In 2005, Tajik Embassy was inaugurated in Islamabad while the construction of new building for the Embassy has also been started within Diplomatic Enclave since 2013. Pakistan and Tajikistan also signed 30 agreements, protocols and MoUs communications, transport and constructions of roads, insurance, air transport, investments and industry, agricultural and food industry, science and technology, health, tourism, education, and culture on the basis of mutual equality, and increased the level of trade. Pakistan is proving as a gateway for Tajikistan to access the warm waters and outreach towards the world especially through Gwadar port hence providing opportunity to the country to boost cheaper trade. While Tajikistan has all the potential to provide access towards the Central Asian region as being strategically located at the heart of Central Asia. Tajikistan is hub and has huge resource of hydropower and electricity with having cheapest rates in the world. Pakistan with having chronic energy dearth can be resolved in working with the Tajikistan which is assuring the supply of electricity requirements and is willing to export to the regional countries, of which Pakistan here that since Tajikistan is the world’s third largest producer of hydroelectric power after the US and Russia, Pakistan is recently in conversation with the counterparts in Tajikistan about CASA1000 Project to be materialized soon hence enable Tajikistan to import 1,000MW of electricity to meet its growing energy needs. Hydroelectric generation accounts for 76 per cent of the total energy output of Tajikistan. An estimated 3,908 million KWh of electricity was exported from Tajikistan in 2000. Energy consumption per capita is among the lowest in the NIS. Major connection will be the energy export and transmission line project via PhuleKhumri and Kabul till Pakistan. The project received support from several Both states also agreed to cooperate in During the visit of the Prime Minister of Pakistan to Tajikistan, agreement about enhancing connectivity by air, promoting people-to-people contacts and improving tourism. There was a proposal by one of the Tajik Airlines discussed and accepted for operation was a dire need to expand the linkages through exploring the possibilities of building networks of roads, linking them with the regional countries and reaching out each other’s markets, providing access to seas and larger markets of central Asia are few of the reciprocal ventures, which will be the future goals for both states. This is considered as a big breakthrough in the relations to have direct linkages hence improving the connectivity. Tajikistan is also laying emphasis on building and enhancing connectivity. It is focusing on to build highway, roads, rail links and bridges for enhancing communications with the regional countries. These projects would also help link both Pakistan and Tajikistan. Relationship between states, though, based on mutual interests especially economic, commercial, trade, political and strategic reasons but what cements the ties to higher levels is people-topeople contacts and heart-to-heart relations amongst nations. And when we discuss about relations between Tajikistan and Pakistan, people-topeople contacts are on the rise and ever growing with each passing day. Increase in Tourism attraction and awareness about the country has made people from both sides to visit Saints like that of Hazrat Syed Amir Kabir Ali Hamdani( known as Hazrat has preached Islam throughout the subcontinent and across Central Asia. Last year, Tajikistan celebrated the 700th anniversary of Mir Syed Ali bin Shahab-ud-Din Hamadani and 600th Hazrat Mawlana Nooruddin Abdur Rahman Jami to commemorate their Muslim world throughout the region. These are the connecting and cementing points between both the nations. Several Pakistanis have also traveled to Tajikistan to serve at different positions while there are few hundred thousands of Tajik youth that are opting to study in different education institutions of Pakistan. They are actually the ambassadors of each other’s nations who are building the good will and developing the relationships for our better and brighter future. Based on the given context and background, it is believed that the relationship between Pakistan and Tajikistan would grow with leaps and bounds. Both countries have aims that are coherent to bring peace, prosperity and development towards the region.
Pakistan-Tajikistan Dosti Zindabad.