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The Pakistani government has converted its US$13 million loan to Tajikistan into a grant, to be used for financial relief, officials said on Sept. 16.
Shahnaz Javed Mahmood
KARACHI — The Pakistani government has converted its US$13 million loan to Tajikistan into a grant, to be used for financial relief, officials said on Sept. 16.
“The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet formally approved the conversion during its meeting in Islamabad on Sept 15, said Textile Ministry Secretary Dr Waqar Masood. The Pakistani government wanted to strengthen its economic and diplomatic relations with Tajikistan and the conversion was a step in that direction.
“Tajikistan has [requested] access to Gwadar Port in Baluchistan to increase the volume of its exports,” said Communications Secretary Sharif Ahmed Khan. The government will act to make it accessible to Tajikistan.
Pakistan and Tajikistan are also negotiating a range of additional options to enhance their bilateral trade and economic ties, he added.
During President Asif Ali Zardari’s recent visit to Tajikistan, both countries agreed to initiate dialogues on regional peace and economic development. Khan said the nations signed accords to develop electricity supply networks to Pakistan and establish transit and transportation corridors, including direct air flights.
In July, Pakistan and Tajikistan also signed more than a dozen agreements in Islamabad to promote mutual cooperation in a number of fields.
“Pakistan has given relief to Tajikistan as a goodwill gesture that will accelerate the pace of economic cooperation between the two countries in the future,” said economist Dr Salman Shah. Pakistan is seeking a supply of electricity and air links with Tajikistan on a long-term basis, and the conversion of its loan into a grant will accelerate the implementation of bilateral projects recently agreed to by both countries.
Among the Central Asian States, Tajikistan is emerging as a major buyer of Pakistani products, Shah said, adding that the government was undertaking confidence-building measures to strengthen economic, trade and diplomatic ties in the years ahead.