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