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My Large House is the Roof of the World.

Byline: Mehreen Jahangaiz

Republic of Tajikistan, the land of sun shine, the roof of the world and natural inheritor of Sogdian Civilization as the only Persian Speaking country in Central Asia is a Sunni Muslim state. Beautiful but thin Wahkhan Corridor, Afghan part of Grono-Badakhshan separates Chitral (Pakistan) from Tajikistan. Social and cultural relations of the Tajik people, as a cultured and very ancient people of the Central Asia, with the people of sub-continent in general and in particular with those who belong to Pakistan has ancient and extensive history. Apart from cordial, cultural,historical, religious, spiritual and racial ties between Tajikistan and Pakistan, both Muslim brother countries enjoy close relations on diplomatic, political, commercial and strategic levels. Pakistan was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with Tajikistan soon after its independence in 1991. Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Tajikistan and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan were

established on June 6, 1992. Bilateral ties between the two countries are based on mutual respect, shared interests, and a common desire to promote peace, stability and development in the region and beyond. Relations between Pakistan and Tajikistan are marked by cordiality and close cooperation in diverse fields

The two countries share akin views on regional and international issues and cooperate closely on multilateral forums including UN, OIC, ECO, and SCO. High level visits are regularly exchange to develop consensus on issues affecting both nations and region. Pakistan's Prime Minister's Mian Nawaz Sharif's June's two days official visit was part of regular high-level exchanges between the two

countries and is reflective of Pakistan's high priority and the commitment to further deepen Pakistan's relations with Central Asia. He was invited by Tajik President Immomali Rahmanov and the visit was started on 17th June and ended on 18th June. The prime minister was convoyed by a high-level

delegation that included the Minister for Water and Power, Minister for Textile Industry, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and other senior officials. Bilateral ties between the two countries are based on mutual respect, shared interests, and a common desire to promote peace, stability and development in the region and beyond. During his visit Pakistan's premier expressed his optimistic prospects for bilateral cooperation in all spectrums with Republic of Tajikistan.

He was received at the airport by Tajik Deputy Prime Minister Azeem Ibrihim. Programme of official visit began with solemn ceremony of official reception at the square in front of Palace of Nation of Tajikistan. The two leaders showed great interest during their meetings and talks and had a tete-a-tete, which was followed by delegation-level talks. Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif also had separate meeting with the Prime Minister of Tajikistan. During their extensive discussions, President Emomali Rahmon and Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif emphasized on deep rooted historical bonds between the two countries, based on common faith, cultural affinities and Civilizational links. The two leaders avowed their joint commitment to peace, stability and progress and underscored their shared vision of a strategic partnership between two friendly states to serve the cause of peace and prosperity in violence ridden region.

Both sides uttered deep concern in the expansion of cordial ties and cooperation based on mutual benefits. With interest in the widening economic and trade interaction it was stressed the necessity of simplification of opportunities of transportation and transit, finding of new communication ways. In this regard, the preparation of trilateral trade and transit agreement between Tajikistan and Pakistan through Afghanistan and accession of Tajikistan to quadrilateral agreement between Pakistan-China-Kazakhstan- Kyrgyzstan was considered very important. To enhance collaboration between private sectors of the two countries, it was agreed to establish a Joint Business Council (JBC).

Emomali Rahmonov emphasized on the importance of signing of transit trade agreement between Tajikistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan that would allow the increased two-way trade between the two countries. Tajik President states while expressing his deep interest in developing formal and informal ties with Pakistan, "We also discussed Tajikistan's joining quadrilateral agreement of Pakistan, China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan that will give Tajik entrepreneurs and tourists' opportunities to visit Pakistan by shortest route,".

Tajikistan stood first in producing hydro energy resources in Central Asia with its 948 rivers and in position to export cheap electricity to both Pakistan and Afghanistan and Northern Areas of Pakistan as well. Prime Minister of Pakistan and Tajik President Emomali Rahmonov revived their commitment to CASA-1000 energy project that further heightened its importance. A constructive talk was held on the construction of CASA-1000 PTL and fruitful implementation of many other regional projects. Kyrgyzstan Pakistan Afghanistan and Tajikistan are signatories to the agreement and both Central Asian states would export electricity to Pakistan and Afghanistan under CASA-1000.

Tajikistan and Pakistan through their vast cultural and national commonalities can develop a productive cooperation in different directions of social, political and economic and academic life. In this regard, it was expressed interest in the establishment of joint productive and trade enterprises and institutions. It was decided to convene the 5th session of the Joint Ministerial Commission in Islamabad during 2014 and the exchange visit on Parliamentary level would be made regular.

According to Khovar the National Information Agency of Tajikistan in the presence of the two leaders, the following Agreements/MoUs were signed:

* Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on the formation of a Joint Working Group Combating the International Terrorism;

* Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan through the Ministry of Industries and New Technologies and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan through the Ministry of Textile Industry on collaboration in Textiles Development;

* Memorandum of Understanding between Tajik National University, Dushanbe and National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad, Pakistan;

* Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of vocational training between the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan;

* Memorandum of Understanding between the National Library of Tajikistan and the Department of Libraries, Capital Administration and Development Division, Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Before leaving Tajikistan Pakistan's Premier with Tajik visited exhibition of fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, honey and other goods of paradise nature of Tajikistan while smile on faces and hand in hand in Varzob District .

According to KHOVAR National Information Agency of Tajikistan The Prime Minister of Pakistan conveyed his deep gratitude for the gracious hospitality extended to him and the members of his delegation to the President of the Republic of Tajikistan. The Prime Minister extended an invitation to President

Emomali Rahmonov to pay a state visit to Pakistan, which was accepted. Pakistan's Premier left Dushanbe on 18 June with his delegation ending two days successful visit marked with friendship and traditional brotherhood between two Muslim nations.

Recent Afghan situation and war on terrorism with which Pakistan is combating with in its national boundaries demand both nations to develop a consensus on regional issues affecting unswervingly their domestic politics. After the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia in Shanghai, focusing on creating an Asian security regime, Pakistan's bilateral relations with Tajikistan reflects a change in perceiving terrorism not as a local

phenomenon but a regional issue. It is obvious that terrorist strategy is not restricted to localised conflict. The al Qaeda-inspired vision of an 'Islamic Emirate" has taken roots in Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries, and from Al Nusra in Syria to the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan, they seem linked by more than ideology. A clandestine terrorist network of arms and men spread throughout south western Asia, providing financing, training and motivation to these terrorist groups with increasingly well-coordinated strategy. Hence the strategy required to defeat them must also be better coordinated and well understood by all nations in the region. However, bringing the full power of the state to bear upon certain problems is not an

easy task, as Pakistan's leadership is well aware. The PM's statement that "It is important for our socio-economic development to eliminate the scourge of extremism and terrorism," underscores how recognition of this fact is growing not only in Pakistan but also in other states of the region. Both leaders are aware of the fact that peaceful and stable Afghanistan is prime necessity to be fulfilled for long term prosperity and peace in both states and the region. Peace is vital for CASA-1000 to go ahead as Afghan territory is proposed transit route to Pakistan.

The visit is important for Pakistan's standing with neighbours that were largely ignored during the Musharraf and PPP regimes, which favoured a US-centric policy. Relinking with regional allies and collaborating on terrorism on Pakistan's own terms are reflections that state is moving out of obsolete-mode and into the regional scene again.

From friendly perceptions towards each other to convergent interests both neighbours shared a great deal of concentration. Hazrat Mir Ali Hamdani (Shah Hamdan), most respected Waliullah of Tajikistan is being followed and loved by Muslims of Kashmir and Pakistan. King of Tajik Sufism is immortalised by Alama Iqbal in his work. In return Iqbal is widely loved by Tajik people. Iqbal day is celebrated in Institute of Oriental Studies and Literary Heritage of Tajikistan and day for Iqbal Khoni (reciting Iqbal's Poems) is observed with respect and enthusiasm in schools and Universities as assisted by Tajik President. From energy projects to utilization of Gawader port to export Tajik goods to world markets, both Muslim brother states are in full capacity to fulfil each other's requirements.
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Publication:The Diplomatic Insight
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Aug 31, 2014
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