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Pak, Tajikistan leaders agree on Afghan peace

PM Imran Khan says talks with India only if Kashmir’s special status restored; Tajik president supports the establishment of a ‘trade corridor’ passing through Pakistan

Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

ISLAMABAD, JUN 02 (DNA) – Pakistan and Tajikistan in their delegation-level talks held unanimity of views that a consensus political government in Afghanistan was vital for peace of the region. Pakistan and Tajikistan on Wednesday entered into 12 accords for cooperation in diverse fields including trade, anti-corruption, infrastructure, education and culture. The resolve was presented during a joint news conference of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon and Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated that Pakistan would only hold talks or do trade with India if New Delhi restored the pre-August 5, 2019 status of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Imran Khan said “If Pakistan revives its relations with India (without the latter restoring the status of Kashmir), it will be similar to turning our back on the Kashmiris.”

Imran Khan said that if India takes back the steps it took on August 5, “then we can definitely hold talks”. Meanwhile, President Emomali Rahmon expressed his country’s interest to access Pakistan’s Gwadar and Karachi seaports as the ‘shortest trade route’ for the landlocked Central Asian state to connect with the region.

The Tajik president, in this regard, supported the establishment of a ‘trade corridor’ passing through Pakistan. The two leaders, who earlier held wide-ranging discussions on diverse areas of cooperation, expressed willingness to further strengthen the bilateral multifaceted ties.

President Emomali Rahmon stressed “full-fledged cooperation” between Tajikistan and Pakistan to manage energy and water resources and also tapping the potential of Central Asia-South Asia (CASA-1000) power project.

President Rahmon termed Pakistan a “reliable and trustworthy partner” of Tajikistan at the international stage, where the two countries had similarity of agenda to pursue mutually beneficial cooperation.

He mentioned that his talks with PM Imran Khan focused on inter-governmental cooperation in fields of economy, parliaments, energy, agriculture, healthcare and COVID-19 situation.

Prime Minister Imran Khan welcomed President Emomali Rahmon and mentioned the positive discussions held with him in areas of trade, defence production, climate change and common challenges including post-troops withdrawal scenario in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said in the realm of “common challenge” faced by Pakistan and Tajikistan, both sides agreed that peace in Afghanistan was a priority. “If the U.S. troops withdrawal from Afghanistan similar to what Russia did in 1989, we both are concerned about the security to our trade and connectivity,” he said.

President Emomali Rahmon and Prime Minister Imran Khan witnessed the signing ceremony as the representatives from two sides signed the agreements and the memoranda of understanding. The two leaders also signed a Joint Declaration encompassing details of discussions taken place during the visit of President Rahmon.

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