ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan will be paying a two-day official visit to Tajikistan tomorrow to participate in the 20th Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Heads of State (SCO-CHS) Summit in Dushanbe.
According to a statement by the Foreign Office, the prime minister will be accompanied by a high-level ministerial delegation. He is visiting on the invitation of President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan.
This will be the third visit of the prime minister to Central Asia, undermining Pakistan’s enhanced engagement with the region. PM Imran Khan has earlier participated in SCO Summit held in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic in June 2019 and a conference hosted by Russia on 10 November 2020 through video link.
The prime minister will have bilateral meetings with other participating leaders on the sidelines. After attending the SCO-CHS, the prime minister will hold talks with Tajik President on 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.
The prime minister will also inaugurate the first meeting of Pakistan-Tajikistan Business Forum for which a group of Pakistani businessmen will also visit Dushanbe. The Joint Business Forum will catalyze growing trade and investment relations and promote business-to-business contacts between the trading communities of both sides. A meeting of Pakistan-Tajikistan Joint Business Council will also be held on the sidelines.
According to the Foreign Office, 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.
The visit is part of Pakistan’s deepened engagement with Central Asia through ‘Vision Central Asia’ policy, having revitalized focus in five key areas of political ties, trade and investment, energy and connectivity, security and defence, and people-to-people contacts.
SCO is an 8-member permanent inter-governmental trans-regional Organization. It was established in Shanghai on 15 June 2001. Pakistan became an SCO Observer in 2005 and a full member in June 2017 during Astana Summit. Russia, China, India, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan are other SCO members.
SCO also has four observer states (Iran, Mongolia, Belarus and Afghanistan) and six dialogue partners (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey, and Sri Lanka).