ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan left here for Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe to lead the country at 20th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Heads of State (SCO-CHS) Summit. A high-level ministerial delegation including Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Commerce Adviser Abdul Razak Dawood and National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf accompanied the prime minister. The visit of PM Imran Khan is taking place on the invitation of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon on September 16-17. This is the third visit of the Prime Minister to Central Asia, underlining Pakistan’s enhanced engagement with the region. He has earlier participated in SCO-CHS held in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic on 13-14 June 2019 and SCO-CHS hosted by Russia on 10 November 2020 through video-conference. The SCO, an eight-member permanent inter-governmental trans-regional Organization, was established in Shanghai on 15 June 2001. Pakistan became an SCO Observer in 2005 and a full member in June 2017 during Astana SCO-CHS Summit. Russia, China, India, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan are other SCO members. The SCO also has four Observer states (Iran, Mongolia, Belarus and Afghanistan) and six Dialogue Partners (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka). The prime minister will hold bilateral meetings with other participating leaders on the sidelines. “His talks with Tajik President will cover the entire gamut of bilateral relations, especially enhancing trade, economic and investment ties with a particular focus on regional connectivity,” the Foreign Office said. The two countries have earlier expressed strong commitment to enter into a formal strategic partnership. The prime minister will inaugurate the first meeting of Pakistan-Tajikistan Business Forum for which a group of Pakistani businessmen is also visiting Dushanbe.“The Joint Business Forum will catalyse growing trade and investment relations and promote business to business contacts between the trading communities of both sides,” the FO statement added. A meeting of Pakistan-Tajikistan Joint Business Council will also be held on the sidelines. Pakistan and Tajikistan enjoy close brotherly relations underpinned by the bonds of common faith, history and culture. The two countries have shared perceptions and a common desire to promote economic development, peace, security and stability in the region. The Prime Minister’s visit is part of Pakistan’s deepened engagement with Central Asia through ‘Vision Central Asia’ policy, having revitalised focus in five key areas of political ties, trade and investment, energy and connectivity, security and defence, and people-to-people contacts.