Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) on Monday requested the Embassy of Pakistan in Tajikistan to cooperate with the private sector in promoting trade and exports. He said that Tajikistan is a gateway for Pakistan in Central Asia and Pakistan can significantly improve its business relations with these countries by establishing close relations with Tajikistan. He said this while talking to Muhammad Saeed Sarwar, ambassador-designate of Pakistan to Tajikistan during his visit to ICCI. Ahsan Bakhtawari said that Tajikistan is an import-based country and Pakistan can export many products to it including textiles, pharmaceuticals, surgical instruments, cement, sports goods, and leather products, for which cooperation of the embassy is important. He said that there is a distance of only 16 kilometers between Tajikistan and Pakistan at the Wakhan strip, and if this route is made usable, there can be a significant improvement in bilateral trade between the two countries. He said that ICCI would consider sending a delegation to Tajikistan to explore its market. Speaking at the occasion, Mohammad Saeed Sarwar, Pakistan’s Ambassador-designate to Tajikistan, said that the business community is playing an important role in promoting the country’s trade and exports, and assured that he would try to explore new opportunities for Pakistan’s export to Tajikistan. He said that a transit trade agreement has been signed between Pakistan and Tajikistan, and its implementation would improve trade relations between the two countries. He said that the government is focusing on exports and the Pakistani foreign missions would cooperate in this mission. Faad Waheed, Senior Vice President of ICCI said that the Chamber has established a facilitation desk for the Central Asian Countries to facilitate the business community in finding new opportunities for doing business with these countries. He said that the cooperation of the embassy will be helpful in making the desk more effective. ICCI Group Leader Khalid Iqbal Malik said that the role of embassies in promoting Pakistan’s business interests in the international market is very important and hoped that Pakistan’s embassy in Tajikistan would play an active role in this regard. He said that embassies should be given annual targets for exports so that our exports can grow faster. Zafar Bakhtavari, former President of ICCI said that the direct air links of Pakistan with Central Asia, including Tajikistan, are very important for Pakistan, as they will strengthen people-to-people contacts, increase exports, and promote tourism.