Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Thursday cooperation between Pakistan and Central Asian Republics in diverse fields is progressing by leaps and bounds.

He was talking to journalists on board his plane while returning home after completing his two-day official visit to Tajikistan.

The prime minister said Tajikistan wants to further strengthen communication links with Pakistan. He said the Tajik president expressed desire for trade through Gwadar port .

He said Pakistan wants to have better relations with the neighbouring countries. He said the deteriorated situation in Afghanistan has left negative impact on the region.

Earlier in Tajikistan, Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan needs energy for its socio-economic development and to run its industrial sector to its full potential. He said the project would help generate employment opportunities and uplift standards of living of people of Pakistan.

He expressed satisfaction that some of the world’s leading manufacturers have expressed their keen interest to provide Converter Stations for CASA-1000. He also pointed out that tenders for transmission lines from Kyrgyzstan to Tajikistan and from Tajikistan to Afghanistan have been floated and are currently being evaluated.

Nawaz Sharif described CASA-1000 as flagship project in the region connecting Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia to Afghanistan and Pakistan in South Asia through an electricity grid.

He said on its completion, Pakistan will get 1,000MW and Afghanistan 300MW electricity in summer time, from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. This project will help bring a number of economic, social and environmental benefits to member countries, he continued.

The premier said the project is an important step toward realization of the planned Central Asia, South Asia regional electricity market. He said it will be a good example of promoting cooperation between energy-deficient South Asia and energy-rich Central Asia.

Nawaz Sharif said CASA-1000 Power Project will not only bring revenues to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan but will also reduce electricity shortages in Pakistan and Afghanistan and increase the prospects for growth.