September 2004 News

Kashmir is core issue: Shaukat

13 September 2004
The News International

Dushanbe: Pakistan and Tajikistan on Monday reaffirmed the mutual desire to further enhance trade and economic relationship as Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz held cordial and constructive meetings with the Tajik leaders on a broad range of subjects. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz told newsmen after separate meetings with Tajikistan's President Emomali Rahmonov and his Tajik counterpart Aqilov Aqil Ghayduloyezich that both countries have a firm desire to establish communications link. 'We will carry out a survey for a road link with Tajikistan and the Tajik leaders are excited and have expressed their support for this idea,' he said. Aziz, who met President Rahmonov for over an hour ahead of Tuesday's summit of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), informed that it has been decided that Pakistan would open a branch of the Habib Bank in Tajikistan. The Governor of Tajikistan's Central Bank also attended the meeting. The prime minister said the Gwadar deep seaport can serve as a transit for Tajikistan's trade with the Gulf and other countries. In addition, Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, whose delegation is also in Dushanbe, will set up an Export Display Centre in Dushanbe. The Tajik President informed Prime Minister Aziz that Dushanbe would upgrade its embassy to ambassador level in Islamabad. The Joint Economic Commission of the two countries will meet shortly as part of their commitment to further boost trade and economic ties. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz briefed the Tajik President about Pakistan-India relations in the context of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and the confidence building measures. 'Kashmir is the core issue and we want to resolve it peacefully,' he said. Pakistan, he said, wants peace but there should be forward movement on Kashmir issue. Shaukat Aziz expressed the hope that the composite dialogue process with India would have a positive outcome. The leaders of two countries also exchanged views on strengthening the Economic Cooperation Organisation for the benefit of all member countries. The prime minister was assisted during the meetings by Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri, Minister for Water and Power Liaquat Ali Jatoi, Minister for States and Frontier Regions, Yar Muhammad Rind, Chairman Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed and Chairman Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir, Hamid Nasir Chatha. Shaukat Aziz arrived here on Monday to a warm reception. He was received at the airport by Deputy Prime Minister Assadullah Ghulamowich. Two children attired in traditional dress presented him bouquets as he alighted from his aircraft. Earlier, talking to newsmen at the Chaklala base before his departure for Dushanbe, Shaukat Aziz said Pakistan would focus its attention in the ECO Summit to move it forward to enhance economic cooperation among the member states which will be beneficial for these countries and their people. He said Pakistan enjoys close and historical traditional relations with Iran and Turkey and it will be our endeavour to further enhance ties with them. He said relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan are improving day by day and the summit will help to further improve ties. The Prime Minister said Pakistan also wants to have good relations with Central Asian states as Pakistan and these states can enhance their trade through Karachi and Gwadar ports. He said the volume of trade between Pakistan and Central Asian States is at lower level, which needs to be enhanced for the region. Aziz said besides participating in the summit he will have also an opportunity to meet the leaders of the ECO countries and discuss host of issue to increase bilateral relations particularly in the field of trade and commerce. The prime minister said he will also discuss issue of Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline, Pakistan-Turkmenistan- Afghanistan Gas Pipeline and improve communication relations with these countries. He said Pakistan will give a proposal to form a regional grid to transfer electricity to the other countries. The Prime Minister said Pakistan is in short of electricity and will prefer to import it from the Central Asian States.

 

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