While Kabul is reluctant to finalise a transit trade agreement with Islamabad, Tajikistan is poised to join a separate initiative which will connect Pakistan to Central Asia, bypassing Afghanistan entirely.
Officials told The Express Tribune that Tajikistan’s request for inclusion into the Quadrilateral Traffic in Transit Agreement (QTTA) — a deal between China, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan for facilitating transit traffic and trade — has been approved. The Central Asian state will now become a formal participant once its parliament approves the move, they said.
Up till now, Pakistani traders have had to rely on the land route through Afghanistan to access Tajikistan and other Central Asian States. Pakistan and Afghanistan had been negotiating a transit trade agreement but Kabul’s insistence that India be included in the arrangement led to a deadlock in discussions. Due to tensions with India over unrest in Occupied Kashmir and Delhi’s attempts to implicate Islamabad in rebel attacks on military installations, Pakistan could not accommodate Kabul’s demand. But while Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani threatened to cut off Pakistan’s access to Central Asia if it did not include India in the transit deal, China revived QTTA to further tap the potential of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, officials said. QTTA provides Pakistan a gateway to Central Asia by using the Karakoram Highway — which links Gilgit-Baltistan to China’s Xinjiang region — as a transit corridor.
This PDF contains a good map of the route on page 6. I guess it will now include a link to Tajikistan too. http://pdf.usaid.gov...cs/PA00K24C.pdf
Frankly this is good to see. CPEC is really a game changer for us and it's high time our politicians started focusing on making it into an economic umbilical cord for Asia rather than just a road we will offer chai and fuel stops at. We've had a great diplomatic win in getting access to Tajikistan and bypassing Afghanistan and India in the process. We should build on this.