Pakistan, Tajikistan to expedite work on CASA-1000 project
Analysts say various agreements signed with Tajikistan will yield positive results.
Pakistan and Tajikistan have agreed to increase the bilateral trade to 500 million dollars in three years.
Speaking in Radio Pakistan’s program, industrialist Mirza Ikhtiyar Baig said: “The Central Asian States are already taking keen interest in increasing trade with Pakistan and now it has further increased due to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Pakistan and Tajikistan have agreed to expedite work on the already signed CASA-1000 agreement, under which Tajikistan will provide electricity to Pakistan. There is need for a road link to facilitate the trade between Pakistan and Tajikistan, as from Chitral, only 36km road can link Pakistan with Tajik border. Tajikistan produces abundant electricity and is looking towards new markets to export this commodity. Pakistan and Afghanistan can take benefit through its power capacity. The incumbent government is pursuing the policy of regional cooperation. Many countries in the world have developed their economies by increasing trade and economic ties with their neighboring countries, as well as regional states. The current visits of president of Tajikistan and the Prime Minister of Belarus indicate that foreign countries are exploring Pakistani market to extend the trade and business activities.”
Executive Director, SDPI Dr. Abid Qayum Sulehri said: “Pakistan and Tajikistan have good bilateral relations and the governments of both the countries have already prepared the ground to collaborate in several fields. Now, the President of Tajikistan is visiting Pakistan and he has signed agreements of mutual cooperation in several fields including energy, extradition, establishment of joint business council and collaboration in science and technology and geology. Pakistan had signed the agreement with Tajikistan to take electricity through Afghanistan. During this visit, the leaders of both countries vowed for the early completion of this project named CASA-1000. The Tajik President also termed this visit successful.”
Former Ambassador Mushtaq Ahmed Mehr said: “The recent visit by Tajik president is a dividend of the paradigm shift in foreign policy making of Pakistan. Whereby, we have diversified our foreign policy by exploring all possible and available avenues. Pakistan has centuries old cultural relations with Central Asian Republics. Apparently, it was a working visit by Tajik president, which had a specific agenda. Central Asia is a resource rich region but it does not have a next door market. Pakistan, being a gateway to South Asia, proves to be a natural market for landlocked Central Asia. Presently CASA-1000 seems attractive but it would become symbolic once we transform Pakistan into an industrialized state. Then, we would require more energy from CARs and other neighboring countries. Hence, we must be prepared and tighten our belt for that day right now. We must increase our agricultural productively so that it can be exported to Central Asia. We have to transform it into an export-oriented country, if we want long lasting development and progressive Pakistan. Once we ensure it, sky would be the limit for us.”
Former ambassador Fouzia Nasreen said: “Nowadays, our diplomatic circles are working to increase regional coordination and connectivity. Pakistan can take economic benefits by strengthening trade and economic ties with the Central Asian states. Tajikistan and Kazakhstan have huge hydro electric production projects and Pakistan had signed an agreement of 1000 megawatt electricity project ‘CASA’ with Tajikistan to fulfill its energy needs. Afghanistan is also a part of the agreements between Pakistan and Tajikistan because the way to reach Tajikistan is passing through Afghan land. People to people contacts between Pakistan and Tajikistan can also benefit both countries. The Islamabad and Dushanbe should start student exchange programs to transfer the knowledge of science and technology.”
Economic expert Dr. Mumtaz Anwar said: “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s investment and trade agreements with Tajikistan, China, Iran, Central Asian, European and several other countries will bear positive results for the country. The CPEC, Gwadar Port and a network of roads connecting the entire world will prove highly beneficial for Pakistan. An era of development and prosperity will begin. Routes will pass through several areas, opening employment opportunities for locals. Energy crisis in Pakistan is likely to be resolved soon. Moreover, international investments will open new horizons of prosperity in the country. An agreement to launch airline service between Pakistan and Tajikistan has also been signed. A business conference was held in Punjab wherein investors and businessmen from dozens of countries participated. On the occasion, many investment agreements in Punjab were signed. Many regional trade projects, including Pak-Tajik Traffic Transit, were signed. Better relations with Central Asian states will bring development and prosperity in the region. Gwadar Port will also benefit Central Asian states. Agreements have also been signed with Tajikistan and Iran regarding electricity and gas imports. The government’s policies are heading in the right direction. Pakistan’s economic policies will enable it to emerge as strong economic power in the region.”
Energy expert Rashid Aziz said: “Pakistani government has taken appropriate steps to import electricity from Tajikistan. Tajikistan is home to abundant energy resources and is willing to provide cheap electricity to Pakistan. An agreement has been signed in this regard. Pakistan can import electricity from Tajikistan via transmission lines en-route Afghanistan. In this regard, Afghanistan needs to play its role. So far, there is lack of consensus in Pakistan with regard to China Pakistan Economic Corridor. However, Chinese investment in CASA project seems plausible; whereas, Chinese are more interested to invest in CPEC, Gwadar Port and coal energy projects in the country.”