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LAHORE: Ambassador of Tajikistan Ismatullo Nasredin has said that direct air links and establishment of banking channels between the two countries can be instrumental to boost mutual trade and economic ties between both countries. A direct flight from Islamabad to Dushanbe will be started soon.

He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. LCCI President Kashif Anwar presented the address of welcome while Senior Vice President Zafar Mahmood Chaudhry also spoke on the occasion.

The Ambassador emphasized the importance of boosting bilateral trade ties, and highlighted the recent efforts to boost trade activities between the two countries and said that launching air services for commercial purposes is the need of the day as the two countries share common values.

He said that there are some political, transportation and communication-related challenges, but these can be tackled by joint working, adding that direct flights between Tajikistan and Pakistan can save travelling time and help improve mutual trade.

He said that Pakistani businessmen are being facilitated for visa and not a single request is being rejected. He invited the LCCI President to arrange a trade delegation for Tajikistan to explore trade and investment opportunities.

He said that the textile, pharmaceutical, fruits and vegetables, tourism and education sectors have the immense potential for joint ventures. He said that Tajikistan wants to utilize Pakistani ports as these would cost three times less than the other countries.

He agreed with the LCCI President Kashif Anwar that the work should be done on the 88 documents signed between the two countries. He said that the negotiations between Pakistani banks and Tajikistan are well on the way for the establishment of proper banking channel. He said that both the countries should establish direct trade links and trade via third country is taking too much time.

The Ambassador said that Pakistan has always extended support to Tajikistan on all issues. LCCI President Kashif Anwar said that 80 percent documents, out of 88 signed agreements, are economy related but no work has been done yet. He informed the Tajik Ambassador that all the documents of LCCI are QR coded. He said that the first visit of a delegation should be sight-seeing as no business can be started at first visit.

Kashif Anwar said that Pakistan and Tajikistan enjoys strong cultural, religious and historical links. Both brotherly countries share common membership in many international bodies and organizations such as Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Economic Cooperation Organization and Shanghai Cooperation Organization etc.

He said that LCCI accords great importance to Tajikistan as an important economy in Central Asia, in line with the Government of Pakistan’s “Vision Central Asia” Policy which is based on the five pillars of bilateral cooperation i.e. political, trade & investment, energy & connectivity, security & defence and people-to-people contacts.

Kashif Anwar was of the view that the recent visit of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan H.E. Emomali Rahmon to Pakistan in December 2022 has laid a strong foundation for further strengthening of diplomatic and trade ties. He hoped that as agreed during the visit, the Strategic Partnership Agreement between the two countries will be finalized soon.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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