ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Tajikistan Thursday on a two-day official visit to attend the 20th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Heads of State (SCO-CHS) meeting in Dushanbe.
Tajik Prime Minister Kokhir Rasulzoda received PM Imran Khan at the airport.
Accompanied by a high-level ministerial delegation, the prime minister will hold bilateral meetings with other leaders on the sidelines of the SCO Summit.
The SCO summit is the first meeting of the heads of states since the Taliban’s takover of Kabul and all eyes will be on the Afghan representative at the meeting. Afghanistan has an observer status and has been striving for a full membership of the organisation.
If there is representation from Afghanistan, it will be PM Imran Khan’s first high-level meeting with an Afghan official after the caretaker government was formed in Kabul.
After attending the SCO-CHS, the prime minister will have the bilateral segment of the visit.
His talks with Tajik president will cover the entire gamut of bilateral relations, especially enhancing trade, economic and investment ties with a particular focus on regional connectivity.
The two countries have earlier expressed strong commitment to enter into a formal strategic partnership.
“Pakistan and Tajikistan enjoy close brotherly relations underpinned by the bonds of common faith, history and culture. The two countries have shared perceptions and a common desire to promote economic development, peace, security and stability in the region “, said the Foreign Office.
“The prime minister has been invited by President Emomali Rahmon and this will be his third visit to Central Asia underlying Pakistan’s enhanced engagement with the region,” said the Foreign Office while announcing the visit.
The prime minister’s visit is part of Pakistan’s deepened engagement with Central Asia through ‘Vision Central Asia’ policy, having revitalised focus in five key areas of political ties, trade and investment, energy and connectivity, security and defence, and people-to-people contacts.
The premier will also inaugurate the first meeting of the Pakistan-Tajikistan Business Forum for which a group of Pakistani businessmen will also visit Dushanbe.
The Joint Business Forum will catalyse growing trade and investment relations and promote business to business contacts between the trading communities of both sides. A meeting of the Pakistan-Tajikistan Joint Business Council will also be held on the sidelines.
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)
Established in Shanghai on 15 June 2001, the SCO is an 8-member permanent inter-governmental trans-regional Organisation.
Pakistan became an SCO Observer in 2005 and a full member in June 2017 during the Astana SCO-CHS Summit.
Russia, China, India, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan are other SCO members.
SCO also has 4 Observer states (Iran, Mongolia, Belarus and Afghanistan) and 6 Dialogue Partners (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka).