‘Trilateral transit trade accord to boost Pak-Tajik economic ties’

ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of Tajikistan Sherali Saidamir Jononove has said that Pak-Tajik bilateral trade and economic relations would be further strengthened after finalization of trilateral agreement on transit trade among Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan (PAT).

Ambassador Sherali on Sunday said that Pakistan was one of the first countries which recognised Tajikistan as an independent country and both the countries had been enjoying cordial relations since then.

He said during the visit of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon to Pakistan last year, the two countries’ leadership stressed on the need to strengthen transit and transportation through enhanced cooperation at the regional level.

“Early finalization of the trilateral agreement on transit trade among Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan will contribute to economic and trade relations and will give greater impetus to regional cooperation,” Ambassador Sherali said.

When asked about future of economic ties between the two countries, he said that Pakistan had a very important geo-strategic location in the region and Tajikistan would take benefit from this opportunity and would become a partner of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

He said trade volume between the two countries was increasing day by day and it would reach 500 million dollars within next two years. Exhibitions were being planned to achieve that goal.

During the visit of Tajik President, he said the leadership of both the countries also agreed on the importance of air connectivity for the promotion of people-to-people contacts, economic relations and tourism.

He said the Pakistan had already decided to allow Somon Air of Tajikistan to operate on Dushanbe Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi, Faisalabad or Quetta sectors which was welcomed by the Tajik President.

“Negotiations between the Tajik Airlines Somon Air and Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan are underway to finalise modalities in this regard to start flight operation between the two countries,” the ambassador said.

Regarding high level visits of the leadership of both the countries, the ambassador said that there was an excellent cooperation between Pakistan and Tajikistan. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, he said, would Tajikistan in May this year to participate in the transmission line laying ceremony of CASA-1000 electricity project.

Tajikistan would export more than 1000MW hydel electricity to Pakistan under Central Asia South Asia (CASA) -1000 project, he added.

About 750 kilometre long transmission line would be completed by the year 2018 with an estimated cost of 1160 million dollars, he said.

Speaking about details of the project, the ambassador said that the said transmission line of 500 KV would also be utilised for transmitting more than 300MW hydel electricity to Pakistan from another Central Asian state of Kyrgyzstan.

To a question about the implementation of this project, Ambassador Sherali said that feasibility report had already been completed and working on the laying of transmission line from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan would begin in May this year.

Tajikistan, he said, had the capacity to export more than 5000MW electricity generated through hydel projects, especially in the summer, to Pakistan.

Working on another transmission line of same capacity of 500KV from Tajikistan to Pakistan via Wakhan Strip bordering Afghanistan would also begin soon after the working of CASA 1000 MW transmission line, the ambassador said.

When asked about financing of the project, the ambassador said that a total estimated cost of the project was 1160 million dollars as per the feasibility study finalised with the support of World Bank.

Financing from IDA (World Bank), Islamic Development Bank, Arab Group and other donors was under consideration. A Multi-Donor Trust Fund was also being established for this project, he added.

When asked about the price of electricity, the ambassador said that it would be very reasonable as this would be from hydel project namely Roghun Hydro Power Project which has a total capacity of 3600MW.