Prim Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday reached Tajikistan where he will attend the 20th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Heads of State (SCO-CHS) meeting being held in Dushanbe.
During his two-day official visit, the prime minister will hold bilateral meetings with other leaders on the sidelines of the SCO Summit.
This is the first SCO summit since the Taliban takeover of Kabul and all eyes are on the Afghan representative at the meeting. Afghanistan has an observer status and has been striving for a full membership of the organisation.
There is a possibility of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s first high-level meeting with an Afghan official after the caretaker government was setup in Kabul.
The prime minister will meet with Tajik president with focus on bilateral relations, especially enhancing trade, economic and investment ties.
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 a statement issued by 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 statement.
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, said the statement.
THE PAST: Established in Shanghai on June 15, 2001, the SCO is an eight-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.
The SCO also has four Observer states (Iran, Mongolia, Belarus and Afghanistan) and six Dialogue Partners (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka).