Islamabad: A day before Quadrilateral Summit taking place in Dushanbe, President Asif Ali Zardari and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon met here at Qasr-e-Millat, Dushanbe, to discuss matter relating to bilateral relations, regional situation, common challenges and the way forward in addressing the issues of common concern.
Briefing about the meeting of President Zardari and President Rahmon, Spokesperson to the President Mr. Farhatullah Babar said that from the onset of the meeting, President Zardari thanked his Tajik counterpart for providing an opportunity to the leadership of the four participating countries to meet and have candid discussions at the platform of Quadrilateral Summit and also during their one-on-one meetings.
Mr. Babar said that the third visit of the President to Tajikistan—first as Member National Member National Assembly in 1995 and second in 2009 to participate in first Quadrilateral Summit, would not only help in bringing Pakistan and Tajikistan further closer and cementing bilateral relations but would also help in chalking out mutually agreed strategy to find way forward to the issues concerning the two countries and to explore possibilities where all participating countries could pool their resources for the betterment of the people of the region.
Mr. Babar said that the visit and meeting is also important in the backdrop of evolving geo-strategic scenario in post 2014 Afghanistan. He said that being the immediate neighbours, the two countries have vital stakes in peace and stability of Afghanistan.
He said that during today’s meeting the two Presidents agreed upon the need to work earnestly on extending existing connectivity modes between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
He said that the existing road link from Dushanbe to Peshawar via Kabul-Torkhum does not generate much business activities owing to difficulties faced by the business community in shape of security hazards and high tariffs. Moreover, the bounds restrictions on goods vehicles also impede business activities due to unnecessary off-loading and on-loading process twice in Afghanistan thus multiplying the cost and transportation time.
The two Presidents also welcomed Russia’s intended participation in building rail link network among the four participating countries of the Summit.
Mr. Babar said that matters relating to extending air links between the two countries also came under discussion. Various options in this regard were discussed by the two Presidents and both the sides agreed to work further on establishing air links as soon as possible.
President Emomali Rahmon appreciated President Zardari for his efforts for promoting regional connectivity which promises to usher a new era a development for the region.
The two Presidents also agreed upon early implementation of CASA-1000 project for the mutual benefit and called upon IFIs to honour their commitments.
Those who were present during the meeting included Foreign Minister Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, Defence Minister Ch. Ahmed Mukhtar, Petroleum Minister Dr. Asim Hussain, Chairman BOI Mr. Saleem H. Mandviwala and Pakistan Ambassador in Tajikistan Mr. Amjad Hussain B. Sial.
Later the two Presidents left for Ismail Somoni where President Zardari laid the foundation of Pakistan Embassy Complex.
Earlier upon the arrival of the President at Dushanbe Airport, he was received by Mr. Rahmat Bobokalonov, Minister for Melioration and Water Resources, Tajik Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Zohidov Nizamuddin and other Tajik officials.
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