Pak­istan com­mit­ted for TAPI’s early im­ple­men­ta­tion: Nawaz

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE -

Prime Min­is­ter Muham­mad Nawaz Sharif on Wed­nes­day said Pak­istan was com­mit­ted to the early com­ple­tion of Turk­menistan-Afghanistan-Pak­istanIn­dia (TAPI) gas pipe­line pro­ject, con­sid­er­ing it a new chap­ter in eco­nomic col­lab­o­ra­tion and greater re­gional in­te­gra­tion with Cen­tral Asia.

In a one-on-one meet­ing with the Pres­i­dent of Turk­menistan Gur­ban­guly Berdimuham­madov here at the PM House, the Prime Min­is­ter said Pak­istan was ready to pro­vide any as­sis­tance to ex­pe­dite the im­ple­men­ta­tion process of TAPI and help min­i­mize the pro­ject cost. The Prime Min­is­ter said Pak­istan viewed TAPI not only as a gas pipe­line pro­ject, but as a pre­cur­sor to mak­ing it a trade and tran­sit cor­ri­dor as well. He said such cor­ri­dor could com­prise gas pipe­line, road, elec­tric­ity trans­mis­sion and fiber op­tic lines be­sides eco­nomic zones con­nect­ing Pak­istan with Turk­menistan.

Sharif said it was es­sen­tial for the TAPI mem­bers to work stren­u­ously for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pro­ject at the ear­li­est as it would help in in­te­grat­ing the four mem­ber states by link­ing en­ergy-rich Turk­menistan with en­ergy-starved South Asia. He re­called at­tend­ing the ground-break­ing cer­e­mony of TAPI gas pipe­line pro­ject at Mary, Turk­menistan in De­cem­ber last year.

Sharif said con­nec­tiv­ity was the key to re­gional in­te­gra­tion and the re­al­iza­tion of full eco­nomic po­ten­tial for Cen­tral Asia. He sug­gested that Pak­istan and Turk­menistan could be con­nected through rail­way cor­ri­dor con­nect­ing Kaza­khstan, Turk­menistan and Iran.

The Prime Min­is­ter wel­comed Turk­menistan's of­fer for ex­port of 1000 mega watt elec­tric­ity to Pak­istan and sign­ing of tri­par­tite MoU dur­ing his visit to Turk­menistan last De­cem­ber. Nawaz Sharif stressed the need for greater co­op­er­a­tion in the fields of trade, en­ergy, agri­cul­ture, education, sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy, in­fra­struc­ture and trans­porta­tion. He said Pak­istan looked to­wards Turk­menistan for fu­ture en­ergy se­cu­rity and of­fered Turk­menistan to take ad­van­tage of Pak­istani ports for its ex­ports and im­ports. The Prime Min­is­ter said the bi­lat­eral trade of US$25.11 mil­lion needed to be in­creased and stressed the need for fa­cili- tat­ing busi­ness visas and re­lax­ing visa regime for the fur­ther pro­mo­tion of eco­nomic re­la­tions. Ear­lier, PM and Pres­i­dent Gur­ban­guly Berdimuhamadov led del­e­ga­tion-level talks of their re­spec­tive sides. The two sides also dis­cussed prospects of co­op­er­a­tion in di­verse fields in­clud­ing de­fence and se­cu­rity, counter-ter­ror­ism, education and sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy.

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