Pak­istan-Ta­jik­istan Re­la­tions

The Diplomatic Insight - - News - Amna Ma­lik

Be­ing Mus­lim broth­ers and close neigh­bors on north­west­ern part of South Asian sub­con­ti­nent, Pak­istan and Ta­jik­istan though share com­mon tra­di­tions and cul­tural val­ues how­ever, for­mal and in­for­mal re­la­tions among the peo­ple and gov­ern­ments of both states have steadily been grow­ing since Soviet in­va­sion of Afghanistan in 1979. Bi­lat­eral re­la­tions fur­ther phased in Afghan War pe­riod which lasted for ten years. Soon af­ter in­de­pen­dence from for­mer USSR, Ta­jik­istan sud­denly fell pray to rig­or­ous po­lit­i­cal un­rest which re­sulted in Civil War in 1992, again Pak­istan hosted hun­dreds thou­sands Ta­jik refugee, moved in Pak­istan via Afghanistan. Lower eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties are also ma­jor fac­tors, push­ing Ta­jik peo­ple to set­tle in dif­fer­ent parts of Pak­istan. Im­por­tance of Pak­istan-Ta­jik­istan bi­lat­eral re­la­tions can be vi­su­al­ized as that has rec­og­nized the in­de­pen­dence sta­tus of Ta­jik­istan, fol­low­ing the col­lapse of USSR in 1991. Pak­istan also ex­tended the diplo­matic con­nec­tions by open­ing Pak­istan’s em­bassy in Dushanbe in 1993. The Re­pub­lic of 1997 and later on by the end of 2005, Em­bassy of Ta­jik­istan was in­au­gu­rated in Is­lam­abad. Ge­o­graph­i­cally, both states are only 10 miles away from their clos­est point. Ac­cord­ing to a rough es­ti­mate, al­most 1.2 mil­lions Ta­jik­ista­nis are liv­ing in liv­ing with­out iden­tity cards and some have per­ma­nently set­tled and they are rec­og­nized as Chi­tralis and Gil­giti. Un­known num­ber of Ta­jik refugees be­long­ing to Soviet-Afghan War and Ta­jik­istan Civil War pe­ri­ods have also re­turned to their home coun­try or again set­tled back in Afghanistan. In bi­lat­eral re­la­tions, na­tions need to learn and gain from each other’s ex­pe­ri­ences and they trans­fer more Ab­so­lutely, both na­tions have not yet from bi­lat­eral re­la­tion from po­lit­i­cal, cul­tural and eco­nomic point of view; par­tic­u­larly, Pak­istan one who has paid a huge po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic cost to ac­com­mo­date Cen­tral Asian neigh­bors dur­ing epochs from Soviet-Afghan War to date. Log­i­cally, one fac­tor which has hin­dered de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion be­tween both na­tions be­longed to po­lit­i­cal un­rest which lasted from 1991 to 1997 and lower eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties in Ta­jik­istan. How­ever, let us turn spot light what both na­tions could have of­fered to each other in their 23 years old friendly re­la­tions. Lean­ing-to the cor­dial re­la­tions with Ta­jik­istan, Pak­istan has de­clared to smooth the progress of hilly land locked Ta­jik­istan’s ac­cess to the world through its road and sea level routes. Joint Eco­nomic Com­mis­sion is also func­tion­ing be­tween the two gov­ern­ments and fourth meet­ing of the com­mis­sion to strengthen po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic, cul­tural and tech­ni­cal co­op­er­a­tion was held on Fe­bru­ary 28, 2011 in Dushanbe. Pres­i­dent of Ta­jik­istan has an­nounced an ‘open door pol­icy’ for the pro­mo­tion of 50 agri­cul­tural and in­fra­struc­ture projects worth USD 700 mil­lions are un­der con­struc­tions which will pos­si­bly ac­cess land and sea routes of Pak­istan and will also prove a gate­way for the fu­ture de­vel­op­ment of trade re­la­tions. The vol­ume of trade has also in­creased in last 10 years and com­pared to year 2012 has been seen due to the tremen­dous ef­forts made by re­cent Pak­istani PML (N) gov­ern­ment. Ac­cord­ing to In­ter­na­tional Trade Sta­tis­tics’ re­port pub­lished in 2015, the to­tal vol­ume of trade in 2012 was USD 333.8 and in­creased by USD 11749.8 in 2013 and USD 13824.2 in 2014. Pak­istan’s im­ports from Ta­jik­istan has in­creased from USD 234.8 in 2012 to USD 533.5 in 2014 while Pak­istan’s

ex­port to Ta­jik­istan has been recorded USD 3104 in 2012 and again USD 13290.7 in 2014 (The amount of to­tal vol­ume of trade is in thou­sands USD). All be­sides, more than 30 agree­ments, pro­to­cols and Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ings have also been signed be­tween both states to ex­pand com­mu­ni­ca­tions, tourism, trans­port and agri­cul­tural and in­dus­trial trades in­clud­ing the most im­por­tant In­ter­Gov­ern­men­tal Agree­ment signed in Is­lam­abad in Au­gust 2008 to pro­mote co­op­er­a­tion in energy sec­tor and Pak­istan- Afghanistan- Ta­jik­istan Tri­lat­eral Transit Trade Agree­ment (PATTTTA) which was signed on Jan­uary 3, 2015 to de­velop busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties by con­struct­ing rail and road links.

De­vel­op­ment in Hy­dro­elec­tric Trans­mis­sion (CASA-1000)

Ad­mit­tedly, Ta­jik­istan is third largest pro­ducer of hy­dro­elec­tric power af­ter USA Rus­sia. De­spite us­ing its full grow­ing energy de­mand of neigh­bor­ing coun­tries, Ta­jik­istan was us­ing only 5% of its to­tal po­ten­tial to cover up its do­mes­tic energy de­mand. On the other hand, Pak­istan has al­ways been fo­cus­ing on Cen­tral Asian energy al­ter­na­tives and for that an In­ter-Gov­ern­men­tal Agree­ment was signed be­tween Kyr­gyzs­tan, Ta­jik­istan, Afghanistan and Pak­istan; In­ter­na­tional Fi­nan­cial Coun­cil op­er­at­ing un­der that agree­ment framed (Cen­tral Asian South Asian South Asian Energy Trans­mis­sion of 1000 MW) CASA-1000 sum­mary. Ac­cord­ing to agree­ment, Ta­jik­istan will sup­ply 1000 MW elec­tric­ity to Pak­istan. This pro­ject was ap­proved by Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank and was sup­posed to be com­pleted till now but its ac­com­plish­ment re­mained de­layed due to War against Ter­ror­ism in Afghanistan, peace in­se­cu­rity on the north­west­ern boarder of Pak­istan and es­ca­lat­ing po­lit­i­cal ten­sion within Afgh­nais­tan. For­tu­nately, by the worth­while ef­forts of re­cent PML (N) gov­ern­ment in Pak­istan started from last year, now Ta­jik­istani & Pak­istani pro­ject in 2017. In last June 2014, Prime Min­is­ter of Pak­istan Mr. Nawaz Sharif vis­ited Ta­jik­istan to re­cu­per­ate deep his­tor­i­cal bounds and to re­in­stall CASA1000 pro­ject. Dur­ing the same visit, two coun­tries also de­cided to es­tab­lish the Joint Com­mis­sion on Energy and In­fra­struc­ture and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of both states were sup­pose to meet twice a year to rapidly com­plete past projects. This year again PM Nawaz has vis­ited at the spe­cial in­vi­ta­tion of his Ta­jik coun­ter­part, Mr. Qo­hir Ra­sul­zoda to at­tend In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on Wa­ter for Life 2005-25, held be­tween 9th and 10th of June 2015. PM Nawaz rep­re­sented Pak­istan at the con­fer­ence. In his speech, he avowed that Pak­istan would sus­tain 100 per­cent ac­cess to clean drink­ing wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion fa­cil­i­ties would be brought to re­al­ity. He also urged all global lead­ers to join hand to­gether to over­come the global chal­lenge ‘ac­cess to drink­ing’- the 40 per­cent of hu­man­ity is fac­ing to­day. Be­sides par­tic­i­pat­ing in the con­fer­ence was to boost up talk on the rapid im­ple­men­ta­tion of CASA-1000 in oneto-one meet­ing with Ta­jik Pres­i­dent, Mr. Emo­mali Rah­mon. Af­ter the meet­ing on 10th June 2015, Joint Dec­la­ra­tion to de­velop co­op­er­a­tion in that past pro­ject, CASA-1000 would be ac­com­plished within due pe­riod. Be­sides, PM Nawaz stressed that the two sides also agreed to strengthen eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion by op­ti­mally utiliz­ing the ex­ist­ing in­sti­tu­tional mech­a­nisms, es­pe­cially through the Pak­istan-Ta­jik­istan Joint Min­is­te­rial Com­mis­sion. Strength­en­ing bi­lat­eral eco­nomic ties with Cen­tral Asian neigh­bours and re­in­stall the process to ac­com­plish past projects are of course mar­vel­lous achieve­ments of re­cent gov­ern­ment and its ex­em­plary ap­proach; gains will grows at in­creas­ing rate and na­tions in the process of de­vel­op­ing co­op­er­a­tion near fu­ture.

Grow­ing Bi­lat­eral & Eco­nomic Re­la­tions

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