Pakistan to bolster ties with ECO states: Aziz
* Discusses trade and investment, use of Karachi, Gwadar ports
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said on Tuesday he was satisfied with the outcome of the 8th Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) Summit and was confident his meetings with regional leaders would strengthen Pakistan’s economic ties with ECO member states.
He was talking to reporters at the Chaklala Air Base in Islamabad after a two-day visit to Tajikistan. He described his meetings as “very useful” and said they would lead to greater economic cooperation and open up new vistas for investment and trade.
He said he had offered the use of Karachi and Gwadar ports as transit points for trade between Central Asian countries and the world.
Aziz said Pakistan was interested in importing electricity from Central Asian states. He said there was an electricity surplus in Central Asia and they were keen to export it to Pakistan.
He said he discussed the supply of natural gas from Iran and trade and investment ties with Turkey. He said the summit provided a good opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues with the heads of member states.
When asked about his expectations from the ECO, he said all decisions should be followed up and the focus should be on getting results. He said he had urged the leaders to take up few issues at a time but ensure that those are implemented.
He said the trilateral meeting between Pakistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan was very significant as they discussed the construction of a road link between Tajikistan and Pakistan via Wakhan.
“The route is significant as we will use the same route to bring electricity transmission lines to Pakistan,” he said.
“Transmission lines from Tajikistan run as far as 4000 kilometres while the distance to Pakistan is only 700 kilometres,” he said.
Aziz said the electricity would be financed by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank. “Since it is hydel power its tariff will also be very low,” he added.
He said Pakistan has already signed an agreement with Kyrgystan, Kazakhstan and China to start a trade route through the Karakorrum Highway.
He urged the private sector to take an active role in trade relations between these countries, as imports from Pakistan would be cheaper for them. He said Pakistan had already re-scheduled a $ 13 million loan to Kazakhstan. app