ISLAMABAD - “Pakistan will now receive 1300 Megawatt (MW) of electricity, instead of 1000 mw, from the Central Asian states, under the Central Asia-South Asia 1,000 (Casa-1,000) project, as Afghanistan has shown its inability to draw its share of electricity due to lack of demand,” Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif said on Thursday.

He was addressing a protocol signing ceremony between Pakistan and Tajikistan. The Minister for Energy and Water Resources of Tajikistan, Usmonali Usmonzoda, signed protocol on behalf of his country, after conclusion of 5th session of Pakistan-Tajikistan Joint Commission on trade, economic and scientific technical cooperation.

Afghanistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan and Tajikistan have been pursuing the procurement of electricity through Casa, which envisages transmitting 1300 MW power from the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Under the original plan, major share of the exported energy was to be consumed by Pakistan and approximately 300MW to be consumed by Afghanistan. The minister said that Pakistan and Tajikistan had assured Afghanistan that it would be provided electricity, if it needed either from Tajikistan or Pakistan’s power generating facility.

Asif said there was a lot of trade potential between the two countries, which needed to be exploited.

“During the dialogue, both sides agreed on 11 items to improve bilateral relations,” he informed.

The minister said that both sides were also discussing various options to connect the two countries through road links. “One option is to connect through Afghanistan; second is to connect via Wakhan border, while passing through a narrow strip of Afghanistan, and the third is through Kashgar.

He said there were problems in the implementation of the first option, while the Kashghar option was more feasible due to China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The Tajik minister Usmonali Usmonzoda said that Pakistan and Tajikistan had taken lot of steps in the energy sector during the last three years, which had resulted in improved energy cooperation, and Casa-1000 MW power illustrated this. He said that Casa power import project was the first among four countries, and hoped it would be successful.

“Tajikistan has already laid transmission lines to Afghanistan, and is supplying electricity to the country,” Usmonali said, and added, “Tender for the Casa project is to be launched soon, and will be completed by 2018.”

Regarding the air link between the two countries, the Tajik minister said that direct flights from Lahore to Dushanbe had started, giving direct access to the businessmen and tourists to Tajikistan.

“After signing the protocol, we will also meet next year to review progress on the subject,” he said, and added, “The two countries are cooperating in energy, road and education sectors.”

Replying to a query regarding hurdles in the transit trade agreement due to Kabul’s insistence on including India in it, he said, “We should use all positive solutions.”

During the 5th Session of Pakistan–Tajikistan Joint Commission, both sides noted with satisfaction the progress made so far in the realisation of CASA-1000 project, and also expressed the resolve to initiate work on the project as early as possible to achieve the desired energy supply.

They also noted their mutual interest in the export of additional 1000 MW of electricity by Tajikistan to Pakistan, outside the CASA-1000 framework.

They notified the technical committee members and the first meeting of the committee is proposed to be held as early as possible.

The committee will review the previous reports prepared by Tajikistan side, and will develop a road map for future activities. Both sides also agreed on establishing joint ventures with “Oil and Gas Development Company Limited” (OGDCL) and “Pakistan Petroleum Limited” (PPL) on detection and processing of oil and gas in Tajikistan on government to government basis.

They agreed to enhance business contacts through organising the second meeting of Joint Business Council on the sidelines of the Inaugural Session of Joint Working Group on Trade, Investment and Transport at Dushanbe in October 2016.

It was also agreed to sign an MoU between the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and National Bank of Tajikistan (NBT) on supervisory cooperation.

In this regard, SBP will share a draft MoU through diplomatic channels within three months.

The Tajik side was apprised that their request for accession to Quadrilateral Agreement for Traffic-in-Transit (among Pakistan, China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan), given to Pakistan, was under consideration.

Tajikistan appreciated the initiative of Pakistan to organise a truck caravan under the framework of Quadrilateral Agreement, and agreed to participate in it. Bilateral Transport Agreement will also be discussed during the first meeting of Joint Working Group.

The Tajikistan side showed interest in setting up joint ventures with Pakistan investors in the field of processing of ginned cotton, wool and leather finished products (cotton fabric, sewn and knitted products, leather jackets, bags and shoes). In order to effectively collaborate in agriculture, a Joint Working Group (JWG) will be formed. Both sides agreed to share the composition of members of JWG through diplomatic channels. The two sides agreed to the renewal of Agreement between Pakistan and Tajikistan on Scientific and Technological Cooperation signed in 1992 through exchange of diplomatic notes. Both sides decided to appoint Focal points to combat the menace of drug and narcotics trafficking.