ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday said Pakistan was ready to provide Tajikistan access to Gwadar Port for its international trade.

The president said this during a meeting with Ambassador of Tajikistan Zubaydullo N Zubaydov at the Presidency. Bilateral relations and progress on various projects was also discussed in the meeting. Zardari thanked Tajik President Emomali Rahmon for extending invitation to attend the Navroz festival in Dushanbe. Pakistan attacheed great importance to further strengthening of its fraternal relations and partnership with Tajikistan, he added.

The president said the two countries being important regional players needed to enhance consultation and coordination to promote peace and stability in the region. He also emphasised the need to enhance bilateral trade-volume which was showing an upward trend, but was yet far below its potential. Pakistani ports provided the shortest access to Tajik goods and Pakistan was ready to extend cooperation in this regard, he said, adding that Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement had added opportunities for trade linkages between the two countries.

The president also underscored the need to explore possibilities of preferential trade arrangements and to operationalise ECO Trade Agreement (ECOTA). The Tajik ambassador said Tajikistan was also eager to enhance multifaceted partnership with Pakistan. Provincial governors, Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan, Barrister Masood Kausar, Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi and Sardar Latif Khosa, called on the president on Wednesday at the Presidency. Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Amir Haider Hoti were also present during the meeting, a press release from the Presidency said.