(Interview by Dr Shahid Qureshi, Chief Editor):-
H.E. Masud Khalifazoda, born in 1980, is ambassador of Republic of Tajikistan the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. He has served in USA, China and Switzerland. He is fluent Russian, English, and Chinese. He kindly agreed for an interview. Here are the questions and his responses.
What is your impression about the recent visit of your President to Pakistan?
This visit was held in the spirit of friendship and good-neighbourliness of the two countries and ended with positive and successful results for the development and expansion of friendly relations and cooperation between Tajikistan and Pakistan.
What areas of mutual cooperation were discussed between the two countries?
During this visit the Head of State H.E. Mr. Emomali Rahmon held constructive meetings with the Prime Minister and President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and other high-ranking representatives of this country, as a result of which 12 new documents regulating relations in trade, industry, transport, science and education, culture and arts etc. were signed. It should be noted that President Emomali Rahmon and Imran Khan adopted the Joint Declaration on Next Steps in Building Strategic Partnership for Regional Solidarity and Integration between the Republic of Tajikistan and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The two Leaders also touched upon the implementation of energy-related projects, including CASA-1000, discussed Tajikistan’s interest in joining access to Pakistan’s Gwadar and Karachi seaports, the launch of cargo flights between the two countries, the establishment of cooperation in light industry and processing, as well as pharmacy, the establishment of joint industrial enterprises for the production of food products in free economic zones of Tajikistan with the participation and investment of Pakistani companies. Concerning the security issues it was noted that Tajikistan and Pakistan are natural partners in the fight against global threats, including terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking and other forms of transnational organized crime.
What scope do you see in the regional cooperation for example SCO?
As you may know, Tajikistan is current chair of the SCO, which is aimed at strengthening friendship and good-neighbourliness between the member states of the Organization, maintaining peace, security and stability in the region, building up cooperation in trade and economic and cultural and humanitarian spheres, improving the regulatory framework and expanding cooperation instruments within the Organization, strengthening the image and international position of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
How is your stay in the UK so far in the pandemic and the role of UK-Tajik relations in terms of peace process in neighbouring Afghanistan?
Despite the pandemic, I continue to work and to implement my plans and ideas. A lot of work was done in the field of culture, in particular, familiarization of the British people with the culture and customs of the Tajik people. For this purpose, several virtual platforms in have been created in English. I would also like to note that this year we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of Tajikistan’s independence. In this direction, work is underway to celebrate this important holiday.
With regard to the issue of the peace process in Afghanistan, I would like to note that Tajikistan supports the position of the Government of Afghanistan and international community in ensuring security, peace and stability in that country. Tajikistan attaches particular attention to advancement of the process of national reconciliation in Afghanistan and termination of the long-term armed conflicts in the country.
Thank you ambassador for your time.