Remarks by the Prime Minister at the Joint Press Stake-out with the President of Tajikistan, Dushanbe, 05 July 2017

July 05, 2017

His Excellency, President Emomali Rahmon,
Distinguished Members of the Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to be in Tajikistan at the invitation of my brother President Emomali Rahmon.
I am extremely grateful for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to me and my delegation.
I am impressed by remarkable political stability, social cohesion and impressive economic progress of Tajikistan. The laudable socio-economic development and progress that Tajikistan has achieved under President Rahmon’s dynamic leadership is viewed with admiration in Pakistan.
Pakistan and Tajikistan are tied by historical and cultural bonds. These bonds have been further strengthened by closer cooperation and regular exchange of high level visits since Tajikistan’s independence in 1991. 
Pakistan was among the first countries to recognize Tajikistan’s independence and establish diplomatic relations. My visit coincides with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations; I would like to extend my heartiest felicitations on this occasion to my brother President Emomali Rahmon, and the Government and the people of the Republic of Tajikistan.
This is my fourth visit to Tajikistan since June 2014.  I thank President Rahmon to have visited Pakistan twice since November 2015. These frequent high level visits reflect the importance that our two countries attach to our relationship and our mutual desire to further deepen and diversify bilateral relations.
Pakistan and Tajikistan have a common understanding on many issues. We believe that all regional and global issues must be resolved through dialogue and peaceful means within the framework of international law. We remain advocates of a “peaceful neighborhood” and “peace for development”.  The courage to remain steadfast to the principles of ‘peace’, however, must never be mistaken for ‘weakness.’
We discussed the importance of Road, Rail and Air connectivity, which is crucial for regional integration and the promotion of bilateral trade, tourism and people-to-people contacts. We have, therefore, resolved to multiply our efforts to increase connectivity between our two countries. 
Views were also exchanged on our common vision of a more connected future through the use of Gwadar and Karachi port. We also had extensive discussion on CASA-1000 project, and I am pleased to note that work on the project is progressing smoothly. Early completion of the project will add a milestone in our bilateral relations.  
We have noted with satisfaction that our political and defence relations are on the rise. In our meetings today, we have agreed to work towards improving our relations in the fields of economy, investment, trade and commerce, energy, defence production, agriculture, industry, education and culture. 
Our bilateral trade needs to be invigorated. In this regard, the second meeting of Joint Business Council between the two countries is being held on the sidelines of my visit. A Pakistan-Tajikistan Business Forum was also organized in Dushanbe last month where business persons from the two sides in the Pharmaceuticals, Textiles and Construction sectors participated. The recently constituted Joint Working Group on Trade, Investment and Transport will also be meeting later this month to explore untapped opportunities in these areas. I am pleased to inform you that Pakistan will soon be opening a separate Commercial Section at our Embassy in Dushanbe to boost bilateral trade.  
We have also decided to continue our cooperation in international forums, including the United Nations, the OIC, SCO and the ECO
Today, we have also reaffirmed our resolve to jointly eliminate the scourge of extremism and terrorism from the region. We have noted with satisfaction that our bilateral defence and security cooperation is deepening to overcome these common challenges. I would like to mention that the first meeting of Pakistan-Tajikistan Joint Working Group on Countering International Terrorism will be held in Dushanbe in July 2017.
This visit has provided us the opportunity to reflect on our common goals of growth, prosperity, development, connectivity and integration of the entire region. We reiterated our resolve to translate our close political relations into Strategic cooperation in all spheres, particularly economy, trade, investment, energy and defence.  
Long Live Pakistan-Tajikistan Friendship!
Thank you very much.