Pakistan’s Political Stability Drives Trade Growth with Tajikistan

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has made Tajikistan his first foreign destination since his re-election, signifying a stride towards political stability and a commitment to regional collaboration.

Pakistan and Tajikistan share a long-standing fraternal relationship, yet have not fully tapped into the vast trade and commerce opportunities available. The Prime Minister is determined to enhance trade and economic relations with Central Asian countries, including Tajikistan.

Prime Minister Shehbaz, on a two-day visit at the invitation of President Rahmon, was greeted with full ceremonial honours, including the playing of national anthems and a review of the guard of honour. Upon arriving at Qasr-e-Millat, he was warmly welcomed by President Rahmon, followed by a guard of honour from the Tajik armed forces.

PM Shehbaz Sharif presented guard of ...

Additionally, Prime Minister Shehbaz paid tribute by laying a wreath at the monument of Tajikistan’s national hero, Ismail Somoni, a revered figure who significantly contributed to the region’s development during the 9th and 10th centuries.

Upon his arrival at Dushanbe airport, Prime Minister Shehbaz was received by Tajik Prime Minister Kokhir Rasulzoda, Energy Minister Daler Juma, Deputy Foreign Minister Farrukh Sgarifzoda, Tajik Ambassador to Islamabad Yousuf Sharifzoda, Pakistan Ambassador to Dushanbe Saeed Sarwar, and other senior diplomatic officials.

President Rahmon emphasized the cordial and fraternal relations between Pakistan and Tajikistan. The leaders deliberated on enhancing cooperation across various sectors and improving regional connectivity and linkages between their peoples. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called for increased trade, investment, and connectivity between the two nations, according to Radio Pakistan.

Addressing a joint news conference with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon in Dushanbe on Tuesday, Sharif emphasised the need for further cooperation in diverse fields such as agriculture, education, health, and trade.

Numerous Memorandums of Understanding were signed today between the two countries, which will be instrumental in furthering our relations,” said PM Shehbaz Sharif.

He underscored the critical significance of the strategic partnership agreement, commending Tajikistan for its pivotal role in fostering brotherly relations and broadening cooperation. The prime minister emphasized the imperative of establishing rail connectivity between Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and the port of Karachi to enhance regional trade and integration. Highlighting bilateral cooperation, Sharif noted that the CASA-1000 project, anticipated for completion next year, will usher in prosperity for the region. The CASA-1000 initiative aims to transmit 1,000 megawatts of electricity from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Tajikistan aspires to gain access to Pakistani ports, while Pakistan seeks to position itself as a transportation nexus for Central Asia.

Prime Minister Sharif also engaged in a one-on-one dialogue with President Rahmon, discussing the China-Tajikistan and Afghanistan corridor. During their discussions, PM Shehbaz extended an invitation to Tajikistan to invest in various sectors of Pakistan, enhancing regional connectivity and linkages between the peoples of the two countries.

Tajikistan President in Pakistan on two-day visit, several agreements  expected to be signed | Arab News PK

Addressing the fight against terrorism, Prime Minister Sharif emphasized the profound sacrifices made by both Pakistan and Tajikistan. “Pakistan stands ready to extend its full cooperation in combating the scourge of terrorism,” he asserted, underscoring Pakistan’s dedication to collective anti-terrorism efforts.

In his discourse on global challenges, the premier vehemently condemned the ongoing oppression in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and Gaza.

“Peace in South Asia will remain an unattainable goal until the Kashmir dispute is resolved in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions,” he declared.

Prime Minister Sharif expressed gratitude to President Rahmon and the people of Tajikistan for their warm reception, and he extended an invitation to the Tajik president to visit Pakistan.

Earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz met with Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon, emphasising the vast potential for foreign investment in Pakistan’s energy, mining, industry, agriculture, and other sectors.

“Pakistan offers immense potential for foreign investment in numerous sectors,” Prime Minister Shehbaz stated, inviting Tajikistan to explore these opportunities.

The leaders introduced their respective delegations, which included Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Information and Broadcasting Minister Attaullah Tarar, and Special Assistant to PM Tariq Fatemi.

The Central Asian states, renowned for their superior cotton production and abundant oil and gas reserves, present substantial trade opportunities for Pakistan. It is imperative to establish a trade corridor, facilitated by Russia and Afghanistan, to shorten the trade route between Pakistan and Tajikistan via Afghanistan. President Rahmon of Tajikistan, known for his humility and respect for Pakistan, exemplifies the strong bilateral ties. The government is exerting every effort to fortify economic relations with other nations.

The sagacious economic policies currently in place are promising, and there is optimism that economic stabilization will be achieved. Enhancing exports and attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) are crucial steps to extricate the country from reliance on IMF programs. Additionally, the government must implement robust measures to broaden the tax base and incorporate more citizens into the tax network.

Pakistan remains steadfast in its commitment to bolstering trade with Central Asia, as demonstrated by a substantial rise in trade turnover with Tajikistan, which soared to $52.7 billion in 2024—a 1.6-fold increase compared to 2022. Islamabad is also actively promoting regional financial integration, striving to balance its economic, religious, and ideological interests amid competition from India.

Wasama Khalid
Wasama Khalid

Muhammad Wasama Khalid is a Correspondent and Researcher at Global Affairs. He is pursuing his Bachelors in International Relations at National Defense University (NDU). He has a profound interest in history, politics, current affairs, and international relations. He is an author of Global Village Space, Global Defense Insight, Global Affairs, and Modern Diplomacy. He tweets at @Wasama Khalid and can be reached at Wasamakhalid@gmail.com

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