Politics, Asia - Pacific

Pakistan, Tajikistan call for political settlement in Afghanistan before US pullout

2 countries ink several agreements for cooperation in business, economy, energy and strategic cooperation

Aamir Latif   | 02.06.2021
Pakistan, Tajikistan call for political settlement in Afghanistan before US pullout

KARACHI, Pakistan

Pakistan and Tajikistan on Wednesday called for a negotiated political settlement in Afghanistan before the US pullout, and a joint strategy against a rising tide of Islamophobia in the West.

Speaking at a joint press conference in the capital Islamabad, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan, and Tajikistan's President Emomali Rahmon announced that the two countries will cooperate with each other on both issues.

Earlier, Rahmon, who arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday morning on a two-day official visit, met with Khan to discuss a host of issues ranging from bilateral relations to regional security, mainly the fragile Afghan peace process, state-run Pakistan Television reported.

Khan cautioned that the US pullout without a negotiated political settlement between the Afghan stakeholders could further destabilize the war-torn country.

This, he went on to say, could plunge the country into a situation similar to one that happened after the Soviet Union’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989.

"Pakistan and Tajikistan are facing similar challenges. And on top of them is peace in Afghanistan, which we have discussed today," Khan said, adding: "We both fear that if there is no political settlement in Afghanistan (before US pullout), it will trigger a (new) wave of terrorism in the region."

Pakistan, he further said, wants to increase cooperation with Tajikistan in the fields of defense, security, technology, trade and energy. "But for that, peace in Afghanistan is essential for both Pakistan and Tajikistan," he added.

Khan said his country would continue to play its role for the success of the ongoing peace process, which aims to bring an end to a decades-long conflict in the war-ravaged country.

Talking about growing Islamophobia across the world, mainly in the West, he noted that blasphemy of Prophet Muhammad in the name of freedom of expression, and falsely linking Islam to terrorism were the two main reasons behind the rising trend.

The two countries, he added, have also decided to cooperate with each other vis-a-vis climate change challenges.

Turning to Kashmir, Khan said Islamabad will not hold talks with India until the latter reverses its scrapping of the long-standing semi-autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir.

Rahmon, for his part, said his country considers Pakistan an important country and wants to increase cooperation in a variety of fields, including technology, energy, education trade, and business.

Appreciating Islamabad’s efforts for peace and regional security, including Afghanistan, he said that Tajikistan will continue to cooperate with Pakistan on defense and security issues.


Agreements

The two countries signed several agreements and Memorandums of understanding to enhance cooperation in the fields of business, economy, energy, education, art, culture and strategic cooperation.

Khan said the two leaders have "discussed and signed MoUs on how to meet Tajikistan's requirement for the kind of weapons that Pakistan makes."

An MoU was inked between Tajikistan’s Agency for State Financial Control and Struggle against Corruption and Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau to cooperate and learn from each other's experiences in dealing against financial crimes.

An Academic Cooperation Agreement was also signed between Tajik Technical University and the Indus University of Pakistan.

Different agreements on cooperation between Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Tajikistan and Pakistan were also inked.

A Joint Declaration on "Next Steps in Building Strategic Partnership for Regional Solidarity and Integration" was also signed.

Rahmon also visited Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry and met with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

The two countries signed a cooperation program between their Ministries of Foreign Affairs.

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