PR No.138 Islamabad: March 16, 2016

President Mamnoon Hussain has said that Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Gas Pipeline Project would be a game changer with benefits for all participating countries adding that the ground breaking ceremony of the project was a welcome development and Pakistan is looking forward to completion of the project by 2018. “Pakistan also looks forward to import of 1000 MW electricity from Turkmenistan on fast track basis”, further stated the President.

The President said this during a meeting with the President of Turkmenistan Mr. Gurbanguly Malikgulyevich Berdimuhamedov here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, Islamabad on Wednesday.

President Mamnoon said that Pak-Turkmen fraternal ties are based on centuries-old historical and cultural affinities and emphasized that Pakistan-Turkmenistan close friendship should pass on to our younger generations. The President stressed that visa regimes should be relaxed to promote bilateral economic relations, people-to-people contacts, cultural cooperation and tourism.

The President asserted that Pakistan is committed to further enhance bilateral relations, particularly in the areas of trade, energy, regional connectivity, infrastructure development and security and defence cooperation.

The President observed that Pakistan-Turkmenistan bilateral trade is currently below the potential and called for making efforts to further enhance the bilateral trade volume. The President underlined that greater interaction is also needed between Chambers of Commerce & Industry of both countries. The President emphasized that establishment of direct air, road and railway links between the two countries is pivotal for regional economic connectivity.

The President said that Pakistan is willing to help Turkmenistan in improving its defence capabilities and offered Pakistan’s expertise in defence industry and production. The President hoped that Turkmenistan will fully avail the various training courses offered in Pakistan’s prestigious civil and military institutions.

The President reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to eradicate extremism and terrorism and said that the Zarb-e-Azb operation will continue till elimination of the last terrorist which will help to establish peace not only in Pakistan but the whole region. President Mamnoon Hussain urged for unity and cooperation amongst the Muslim countries for collective efforts to remove Islamophobia and misperceptions about the Muslims in the West.

On the occasion, President of Turkmenistan Mr. Gurbanguly Malikgulyevich Berdimuhamedov said that his country is desirous of having joint ventures and close cooperation with Pakistan stressing that the TAPI project will benefit all countries in the region and said that Turkmenistan is building transportation corridors to revive the ancient silk route.

Federal Minister for Petroleum Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Minister of State for Communications Abdul Hakeem Baloch and Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and high officials were also present during the meeting.

Earlier, Mr. Gurbanguly Malikgulyevich Berdimuhamedov President of Turkmenistan was warmly received on his arrival at the Aiwan-e-Sadr by President Mamnoon Hussain and children clad in traditional dress presented bouquets to him. President Mamnoon Hussain also hosted a State Banquet in honour of President of Turkmenistan and his delegation at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. After the State Banquet, a band of Pakistan Army played delightful tunes which were appreciated by the visiting dignitary.