ISLAMABAD   -   Minister for Planning and Reforms Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar has underscored the importance of greater connectivity to stimulate regional economic cooperation.

He was talking to Ambassador of Tajikistan Ismatullo Nasredin, who called on him in Islamabad on Friday.

The minister said that CASA-1000 will help Pakistan meet its energy needs, adding that Pakistan attaches great priority to timely completion of the project.

Member Energy and senior officials of the ministry were also present in the meeting. Talking about CASA-1000 energy project, the minister apprised that the project has been referred to ECNEC with the condition that the sponsors will ensure timely finalization of agreement with the member countries for export of surplus power, if available, during non-supply period.

The minister said that the project will become financially viable if there are two way options adding that Pakistan has surplus energy in winter while Tajikistan has surplus in summer. Tajikistan ambassador also expressed interest in exploring the option of import of power from Pakistan during the winter months under CASA-1000 project.

Highlighting the importance of Torkhum-Dushanbe Economic Corridor, the minister noted that the proposed project will connect Torkhum to Dushanbe via Afghanistan. He stated that Pakistanis willing to go ahead with the initiative if there is a trilateral agreement between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan adding that it has the potential to enhance regional connectivity and integration. Makhdum Khusro welcomed Tajikistan’s accession to Quadrilateral Traffic-in-Transit Agreement (QTTA) among China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan.

This will greatly facilitate regional integration for economic development as it would provide an alternate transport corridor between our two countries and hoped that the legal process for Tajikistan joining the QTTA will be completed soon.

Speaking on the occasion, Tajikistan ambassador said that his country is looking forward to further expand bilateral cooperation with Pakistan in various areas including trade and energy.