CPEC is Pakistan’s key to the region, Tajikistan told

Islamabad:  Pakistan has said that it aimed at leveraging Pakistan’s immense potential of regional connectivity through the development of the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Co-chairing the virtual 5th Round of Bilateral Political Consultations (BPC) between Pakistan and Tajikistan with Tajikistan First Deputy Foreign Minister Khusrav Noziri, Pakistani Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood highlighted government’s socio-economic agenda and shift in focus from geo-politics to geo-economics.

The two sides reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations in political, security, economic and trade, science and technology, education, culture and connectivity as well as cooperation at international and regional for a, said a foreign ministry statement.

Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood said that the government aimed at leveraging Pakistan’s immense potential of regional connectivity through development of CPEC, added the statement.

He said CPEC would provide shortest possible route from Central Asia to Arabian Sea through Pakistani seaports of Gwadar, Bin Qasim and Karachi, the statement said.

Recognizing the significance of Tajikistan as a gateway to Central Asia, the Foreign Secretary expressed satisfaction at the growing pace of mutual cooperation over the past three decades. He emphasized the importance of augmenting multi-dimensional bilateral cooperation within the framework of a strategic partnership for mutual peace, progress and prosperity.

Expressing deep concern on the rising challenge of COVID-19 amid third wave, the Foreign Secretary stressed international cooperation and solidarity to effectively combat challenges posed by the pandemic and to adopt joint measures. 

The Foreign Secretary underscored the importance of holding regular political dialogue as well as high-level and parliamentary interactions to deepen mutual cooperation and ensure regular follow-up. Both sides agreed to fast track finalization of various bilateral agreements and Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) in order to further institutionalize cooperation in diverse fields. 

The Foreign Secretary emphasized the need to increase volume of bilateral trade and investments through trade diversification, increasing business-to-business contacts, resuming air links, and enhancing cooperation in the energy sector. 

It was agreed to hold the next meeting of Pakistan-Tajikistan Inter-Governmental Commission and Joint Working Group on Education and Science and Technology at an early date.

The two sides also discussed ways to develop greater collaboration among students, artists, academicians and leading Universities of the two countries to boost educational and cultural linkages by building on common heritage, said the statement.

Pakistan and Tajikistan are celebrating the 30th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations, this year. Recently, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi visited Dushanbe for a bilateral visit in March 2021. The two sides agreed to maintain the momentum of high-level bilateral exchanges and visits at the highest level.