Prime Minister leaves for Tajikistan today

WEB DESK: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will embark on a two-day official visit to Tajikistan on Wednesday (today) to attend the launching ceremony of CASA-1000 Power Project, Foreign Office said here on Tuesday.

According to sources, the Prime Minister is also expected to meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani who has already reached Dushanbe to attend the launching ceremony. They said the two leaders are expected to discuss bilateral relations and the issues that are hindering the peace process from moving forward.

“The meeting between the two leaders will help the QCG [Quadrilateral Co-ordination Group] process to bring Afghan government and Taliban along with other warring groups to the negotiation table”, said a diplomatic source.

However, the Foreign Office statement did not mention about any meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. It stated that the Prime Minister will visit Tajikistan from May 11-12, 2016 on the invitation of the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon.

The Prime Minister will be accompanied by Minister for Water and Power/Defence Khawaja Mohammad Asif, his Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi, and senior officials in the visit.

The leaders from participating countries and other stakeholders are also expected to participate in the launching ceremony of CASA-1000. Under CASA-1000 Project, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan will supply 1300 MW of electricity to Pakistan (1000 MW) and Afghanistan (300 MW) during the summer season. The project is expected to be completed by 2018.

The electricity purchased under this project will help mitigate electricity deficit of Pakistan in summer season. In this period there is surplus hydropower in Tajikistan and thus the project will create win-win situation for all.

“CASA-1000 Project is a flagship project and the first of its kind that will link Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in electricity grid. The project will go a long way in regional integration, which is very important for economic and social development of the region”, the Foreign Office said.

It further stated the Prime Minister will also hold a bilateral meeting with the President of Tajikistan. “All range of bilateral matters, including trade, energy cooperation and defence cooperation will be discussed.

The leaders will also exchange views on matters relating to regional and international issues of mutual interest,” it added. – Business Recorder