ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) urged the government to establish an air, road, and railway connectivity between Pakistan and Central Asian Republics such as Turkmenistan on Wednesday to enhance bilateral relations.
A road link via Istanbul, Turkmenistan, and Karachi would be a route of maximum 6 days for transportation, even at a speed of 50 km/hour, whereas it takes around 35 days through seas, besides incurring huge freight cost, ICCI president Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari said in a meeting with Ambassador of Turkmenistan to Pakistan and Dean of Diplomatic Corps Atadjan Movlamov.
Bakhtawari asked both the countries to focus on enhancing bilateral trade and economic relations, saying the two countries have potential to enjoy a healthy trade.
Speaking at the occasion, Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, President ICCI said that Pakistan and Turkmenistan enjoy mutually respectful and cordial relations, which are supported by history, culture and religion.
He also stressed the governments on both sides to focus on developing strong business linkages between their private sectors to explore all untapped areas of mutual collaboration.
ICCI chief suggested establishing a one transport and Goods company to solve the logistic problems between the two countries.
He also proposed a long-term visa for businessmen to facilitate frequent exchange of trade delegations from both sides.
CPEC provides a good opportunity to increase bilateral cooperation and shift the focus of the relationship to address the socio-economic challenges, build economic linkages and enhance bilateral trade, according to Bakhtawari.
“Pakistan and Turkmenistan should facilitate frequent exchange of trade delegations and organize single country exhibitions on reciprocal basis to promote trade ties,” he said.
The ambassador Atadjan Movlamov was of the view that both the countries have huge potential of bilateral trade that could be enhanced through people to people contacts.
He gave a detailed presentation on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) project, which will help Pakistan meet the energy needs of its growing population.
“Turkmenistan is rich in energy and can meet energy needs of Pakistan,” the envoy said, adding that they were producing electricity at a cheap rate.
Movlamov emphasised that both the countries should be connected through optical fiber cable by Arabian Sea. “Pakistan can benefit millions of dollars from it.”
The envoy said Turkmenistan is a landlocked country and it wanted more access through the sea. He said both countries have 30th years of diplomatic relationship and expressed a desire to strengthen these relations through trade and investment.
Faad Waheed, ICCI senior vice president, informed that the chamber was planning to organise an ECO business forum in which diplomats and relevant government officials would be invited to discuss important issues including the TAPI project and developing direct links between Pakistan and Turkmenistan.
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