PAK­ISTAN-TURK­MENISTAN LONG LAST­ING FRIEND­SHIP

The Diplomatic Insight - - Front Page - Muham­mad Asif Noor

Visit of Prime Min­is­ter of Pak­istan Mian Muham­mad Nawaz Sharif to Turk­menistan this May brought new strength and energy to the re­la­tions be­tween the broth­erly coun­tries. The ma­jor aim for this high level visit to Turk­menistan was to re­view the whole range of is­sues in bi­lat­eral re­la­tions hence pro­vide a new vigor, hope and mo­men­tum to the al­ready built re­la­tions. The ob­jec­tive of the visit also was also to dis­cuss about energy se­cu­rity, joint eco­nomic en­deav­ors in­clud­ing TAPI along with trade and com­merce projects, ex­plor­ing ed­u­ca­tion, de­fense, and co­op­er­a­tion in science and tech­nol­ogy and en­hance cul­tural re­la­tions. Dur­ing the visit sev­eral is­sues of mu­tual, re­gional and global na­ture were also dis­cussed es­pe­cially peace and sta­bil­ity, coun­tert­er­ror­ism, men­ace of drugs, trade and eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion, in­vest­ments and re­gional co­op­er­a­tion. Prime Min­is­ter of Pak­istan was ac­com­pa­nied by from dif­fer­ent min­istries. Sev­eral Mem­o­ran­dums of Un­der­stand­ings were also signed be­tween the two coun­tries. Pak­istan val­ues its friendly and his­toric re­la­tions with Turk­menistan and the visit of Prime Min­is­ter to the coun­try that are based on mu­tual re­spect, shared in­ter­ests, com­mon faith and vi­sion for peace and pros­per­ity within the re­gion. It is aimed and en­dorsed by sev­eral quar­ters from Pak­istan that there should be en­hanced bi­lat­eral re­la­tions with Turk­menistan with con­tin­u­ous ex­change of high level vis­its along with com­pre­hen­sive joint ef­forts to en­hance part­ner­ships for energy se­cu­rity and con­nec­tiv­ity. TAPI pro­ject has re­mained one of the im­por­tant projects so far that has all the po­ten­tials to ce­ment the re­gion in one whole to cre­ate peace and pros­per­ity within the re­gion for all. Dur­ing the bi­lat­eral meet­ings it was agreed to pro­mote bi­lat­eral trade, public diplo­macy, tourism and en­hanced peo­ple to peo­ple con­tacts. Dur­ing the visit Pak­istan and Turk­menistan signed an agree­ment and a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing on in­creas­ing trade and eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion held at the Pres­i­den­tial Palace, and wit­nessed by Mr. Sharif and Pres­i­dent Berdimuhame­dov. This co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment is mo­men­tous in en­hanc­ing trade part­ner­ship be­tween the coun­tries. The Turk­menistan-Pak­istan In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Com­mis­sion has also been es­tab­lished ear­lier in or­der to iden­ti­fy­ing mu­tual in­ter­est and and tech­ni­cal and hu­man­i­tar­ian spheres. Sev­eral meet­ings of the Com­mis­sion took place over the year re­sult­ing in am­pli­fy­ing part­ner­ship to higher lev­els. Pak­istan and Turk­menistan en­tered into the 23rd year of their diplo­matic re­la­tions

since the es­tab­lish­ment of for­mal few of the coun­tries which rec­og­nized in­de­pen­dence of Turk­menistan as a sov­er­eign in­de­pen­dent state. Due to his­toric rea­sons, the re­la­tions be­tween the coun­tries are cen­turies old. Both coun­tries en­joy deep rooted re­la­tions and sev­eral head­ways over the years have been achieved hence de­vel­op­ing the close­ness at high rates. Sev­eral high level del­e­gates in­clud­ing vis­its of heads of states also made the foun­da­tion of the re­la­tions on solid and con­crete ba­sis which are pro­vid­ing fruits of to­geth­er­ness, peace and pros­per­ity over the years till now. The re­la­tions and ad­van­ta­geous part­ner­ship” based on trust and belief on each other and com­mon tra­di­tions. Prime Min­is­ter, Be­nazir Bhutto, vis­ited Turk­menistan in Oc­to­ber 1994, sub­se­quently Nawaz Sharif also vis­ited Turk­menistan in Oc­to­ber 1997 then later for­mer Pres­i­dent Asif Ali Zar­dari in 2010 and Berdimuhame­dov, Pres­i­dent of Turk­menistan in 2011 are the land­marks in the history of re­la­tions. It is very im­por­tant to men­tion here that soon af­ter in­de­pen­dence, Turk­menistan an­nounced its po­si­tion of its pos­i­tive neutrality in July 1992 at a sum­mit of the Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Se­cu­rity and Co­op­er­a­tion in Europe in Helsinki and later it was for­mally de­clared in Is­lam­abad dur­ing sum­mit meet­ing of Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion in March 1995. Pak­istan also was one of the co-spon­sor­ing coun­tries which sup­ported Turk­menistan in achiev­ing this high value sta­tus, which was awarded to Turk­menistan on the his­toric Day of De­cem­ber 12, 1995, when at the 50th An­niver­sary Ses­sion of the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly a spe­cial res­o­lu­tion was unan­i­mously adopted by all mem­bers states of UN Neutrality of Turk­menistan so the be­gin­ning of Neutrality sta­tus was ini­ti­ated in Pak­istan and achieved un­der­stand­ing, mul­ti­di­men­sional and deep rooted re­la­tions which are based Dur­ing the past two decades, both states also signed sev­eral signed nu­mer­ous in­ter-gov­ern­men­tal agree­ments to energy, agri­cul­ture & live­stock, science & tech­nol­ogy, ed­u­ca­tion, health, sports and tourism, which will not only fur­ther ce­ment Pak-Turk­men re­la­tions but will also boost the econ­omy of both the coun­tries. How­ever, econ­omy is not the only as­pect of Pak-Turk­men re­la­tions. Si­mul­ta­ne­ously the es­tab­lish­ment of po­lit­i­cal, par­lia­men­tar­ian, so­cial and cul­tural links has been tak­ing place. Turk­menistan-Afghanistan- Pak­istanIn­dia (TAPI) gas pipeline is $ 7.6 bil­lion pro­ject is a ven­ture that has not only bind the re­gional coun­tries in one whole hence to ap­proach the peace­ful­ness and pros­per­ity for the en­tire re­gion. TAPI pro­ject is a hope for this re­gion as it will pro­vide rem­edy to the energy cri­sis to the re­gion along with en­hanced energy se­cu­rity for the en­tire re­gion. This will also help counter the men­ace of poverty, alien­ation, un­em­ploy­ment and re­sul­tant ter­ror­ism. The TAPI pro­ject has all the po­ten­tials to build re­gional trade and de­vel­op­ment link­ages when­ever it will be ma­te­ri­al­ize. We can fore­see huge energy short­ages for Pak­istan and rest of the re­gion, although there are three pipeline op­tions in­clud­ing one from Iran, Turk­menistan and Qatar. We have made bet­ter head­ways in Turk­menistan and Iran gas pipeline projects. In the cur­rent re­gional cir­cum­stances, most vi­able amongst is TAPI pro­ject which has less im­ped­i­ments. Re­la­tions amongst coun­tries might be diplo­matic, po­lit­i­cal or eco­nomic, but what mat­ters most is public diplo­macy and peo­ple to peo­ple con­tacts. There are sev­eral head­ways has been made over the years to pro­mote and en­hance peo­ple to peo­ple con­tacts be­tween Pak­istan and Turk­menistan. In this re­gard, sev­eral ideas, projects and co­op­er­a­tion are un­der­way which are be­yond the usual pol­i­tics of the gov­ern­ments. Sev­eral ed­u­ca­tion and youth link­ages have been de­vel­oped. There is will ex­ist­ing on both sides. What is now nec­es­sary is to move a step ahead with each other and build last­ing re­la­tion­ship with na­tions to­gether hence build­ing part­ner­ship based on love and The writer is Di­rec­tor, In­sti­tute of

Peace and Diplo­matic Stud­ies

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