DUSHANBE: Prime Minister Imran Khan held several meetings with foreign leaders during his visit to the capital of Tajikistan on Thursday.
These included a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s office.
According to the statement, the two heads of state and government discussed joint efforts to strengthen Pakistani and Belarusian relations and exchanged views on regional and international issues.
Reviewing bilateral relations, Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed satisfaction with the growing cooperation between the two countries. The Prime Minister said Pakistan was “committed to developing its relations with Belarus in all areas of common interest, including trade, investment, agriculture, industry and defense.”
It was also agreed to intensify bilateral exchanges at the highest parliamentary and political level. Both sides stated that the Belarusian Foreign Minister’s visit to Pakistan this year would contribute significantly to the consolidation and further expansion of bilateral cooperation in various areas.
The two heads of state and government also exchanged views on the situation in Afghanistan.
The Prime Minister stressed that Pakistan, the country most severely affected by conflict and instability in Afghanistan for over 40 years, has a vital interest in a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.
The Prime Minister stressed that the international community “must stand by the Afghan people, help avert a humanitarian crisis and take steps to stabilize the economy“. He reaffirmed Pakistan’s full support for efforts to stabilize Afghanistan and hoped that the international community will play a positive role in this regard as well.
The Prime Minister renewed his invitation to President Lukashenko to visit Pakistan. President Lukashenko also invited the Prime Minister to visit Belarus as soon as possible.
President Lukashenko presented souvenirs from his country to Prime Minister Imran Khan, the prime minister’s office added.
Meeting with the Kazakh President
The prime minister also held a bilateral meeting with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
According to the Prime Minister’s office, the two heads of state and government exchanged views on bilateral relations and discussed important regional and international issues.
“The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to improve relations between Pakistan and Kazakhstan in a number of areas, particularly trade, investment and transport links,” it said.
The statement said that the Prime Minister underlined that Pakistan decided to comprehensively improve engagement with the Central Asian countries through its “Vision Central Asia” policy.
The Prime Minister also stressed the importance of connectivity and Pakistan’s “crucial position in providing the shortest access route to the sea,” the statement said.
The Prime Minister also highlighted the importance of the trans-Afghan rail project that connects Termez-Mazar-e-Sharif-Kabul-Jalalabad-Peshawar.
According to the statement, the prime minister has also elaborated his vision of socio-economic development and shifting the country’s priority from geopolitics to geoeconomics.
To promote regional integration, the two sides also decided to improve connectivity via land and air, the statement said.
Regarding the situation in Afghanistan, the Prime Minister underlined the importance of peace and stability in the country for Pakistan and the region. He stressed that the international community “must remain committed to supporting the Afghan people, meeting urgent humanitarian needs and taking steps to stabilize the economy”.
Prime Minister Imran Khan stressed that sustainable peace and security in Afghanistan would contribute to peace, connectivity and progress in the region.
The two Heads of State or Government agreed to increase the frequency of high-level political exchanges and the Prime Minister renewed the invitation to President Tokayev to visit Pakistan. In turn, President Tokayev invited the Prime Minister to visit Kazakhstan.
Meeting with the Iranian President
The Prime Minister also met Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the PM office said.
Prime Minister meets Uzbek President
The Prime Minister also met Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on the sidelines of the SCO summit.
Prime Minister invites Tajik businessmen to invest
Prior to the bilateral meetings with foreign heads of state and government, the Prime Minister spoke at the Pakistan-Tajikistan Business Forum organized by the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) and TDAP, which was attended by business people from Pakistan and Tajikistan.
“I think we have representatives from 67 Pakistani companies here in Dushanbe,” he said.
More than 150 Tajik companies also took part in the forum.
According to a statement from the PM office, numerous B2B meetings took place between companies in the textile, pharmaceutical, leather, fruit and vegetable, processed food, transport and logistics, construction, education, tourism and mining sectors.
Fifteen letters of intent have been signed for joint ventures and many contracts have been booked by Pakistani exporters, the statement said.
The forum began with a welcome address by Qodirzoda Sadi, Chairman of the State Committee on Investment and State Property Management of the Republic of Tajikistan, followed by a speech by the Prime Minister’s Advisor for Trade and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood.
Speaking to the forum, Dawood said that Pakistan’s goal is regional connectivity and improved regional trade. He said the President of Tajikistan’s visit to Pakistan in June this year boosted historical ties between the two countries. “We want to follow the example of ASEAN and the EU in improving intra-regional trade and connectivity.”
He said, “You trade through our seaports and we will trade through your land routes. There are many challenges and it will take time, but we must work together to overcome these problems. We want to have joint ventures in the textile, pharmaceutical and logistics sectors. ”He said:“ The private sector is the engine of growth, the driver of growth. I want to let the business community know that we are here in Tajikistan to help you enter the Central Asian markets and we are exploring all sectors. “
The Business Forum was then held by Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Deputy Prime Minister of Tajikistan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan invited Tajik businessmen to invest in Pakistan.
He valued the cheap hydropower produced by Tajikistan and said that Pakistan expects the CASA 1000 project to become a reality soon. The Prime Minister welcomed the signing of deals and letters of intent.
He also informed the forum that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan is extremely important for regional connectivity and that Pakistan will work with Tajikistan and other neighboring countries of Afghanistan to support the process of peace, progress and prosperity.
The Prime Minister added that promoting these goals would also improve connectivity and benefit the region.
The 4th meeting of the Tajikistan-Pakistan Business Council took place on the fringes of the Business Forum. The JBC meeting was jointly chaired on the Tajik side by Akhunzadeh Jamshed, Chairman of the Tajik Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and on the Pakistani side by Zahid Shah, Vice President of the Pakistani Chamber of Commerce and Industry. At the meeting, cooperation in the textile, pharmaceutical and logistics sectors was discussed.
PM arrives in Dushanbe
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Imran Khan was greeted with a red carpet by Tajik Prime Minister Kokhir Rasulzoda, who arrived at the airport to meet him.
The prime minister is accompanied by a high-ranking ministerial delegation, including Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
The SCO summit is the first meeting of heads of state since the Taliban took over Kabul and all eyes will be on the Afghan representative. Afghanistan has observer status and is aiming for full membership in the organization.
After attending the SCO-CHS, the Prime Minister will hold talks with the Tajik President.
The talks will cover the full range of bilateral relations, in particular improving trade, economic and investment relations with a particular focus on regional connectivity.
The two countries have previously made a strong commitment to form a formal strategic partnership.
“Pakistan and Tajikistan have close fraternal ties based on bonds of common faith, history and culture. The two countries share a common perception and desire to promote economic development, peace, security and stability in the region.” said the Foreign Office earlier.
“The Prime Minister was invited by President Emomali Rahmon and this will be his third visit to Central Asia, which underpins Pakistan’s increased engagement in the region,” said the Foreign Office when announcing the visit.