ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Turkmenistan have decided to establish communication corridors to tap the potential of trade and economic interaction, people-to-people contacts and tourism.

“Given the special economic and political significance of both countries, Pakistan and Turkmenistan have decided to pay special attention to establishing air, road and rail links on priority basis,” stated a joint communiqué issued by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on Thursday.

Both the leaders were briefed on regional connectivity projects by Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal and NHA Chairman Shahid Ashraf Tarar.

A detailed presentation was given on different options of connectivity routes. The proposed routes include roads from Gwadar to Termez via Quetta, Kandhar, Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif. Another road was proposed to be constructed from Karachi to Tashkent via Torkhum, Kabul, Kunduz and Dushanbe. Third proposed route is Gwadar to Ashgabat, a road to be built via Quetta, Kandhar and Herat. The last route will connect Gwadar with Tejen via Zahidan and Mashhad in Iran.

The Turkmen president also had a meeting with President Mamnoon Hussain besides holding talks with PM Nawaz on the last day on his official visit. Berdimuhamedov was accompanied by ministers and senior officials of Turkmenistan, as well as a group of leading businessmen.

The meeting underlined the significance of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project and expressed satisfaction over the project’s groundbreaking in December last year.

The two countries agreed to enhance bilateral economic and trade relations. Both sides realised the volume of trade figures did not match the goodwill between the two countries and agreed to take appropriate measures to enhance bilateral trade and explore possibilities for its increase and diversification.

PM Nawaz said the infrastructural development of Pakistan was the economic lifeline of the country. The completion of regional connectivity projects along with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor would turn around the economic outlook of Pakistan and would prove to be a game changer for the entire region, he said.

Appreciating the vision of Premier Nawaz, Berduhamedov expressed interest in the proposed routes along the Tapi gas pipeline. He also showed interest in investing in Gwadar. “We want to make Gwadar our home port,” he was quoted as saying.