ISLAMABAD - Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Pakistan Thursday launched the construction of an electricity power grid Thursday to link the four nations to a jointly operated power supply and promote regional stability, security and prosperity.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and the heads of the two central Asian countries attended the launching ceremony in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe. Pakistani state-television broadcast it live.
Officials say the so-called CASA-1000 project comprises the development, financing, construction, ownership and operation of a 750-kilometer high voltage direct current transmission system between Tajikistan and Pakistan via Afghanistan.
It will enable Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to supply 1000 megawatts of surplus electricity in summer months to Pakistan and 300 megawatts to Afghanistan.
The project is expected to be completed by 2018 with an estimated cost of $1.2 billion.
Prime Minister Sharif while addressing Thursday’s event declared it a flagship project that will promote regional connectivity.
Officials hope the electricity purchase under the CASA-1000 project will help mitigate the critical energy deficit Pakistan faces during its summer season.
Pakistani leaders say the project will go a long way in regional integration, which they say is very important for economic and social development of the region.
Officials in Afghanistan hope the country will also have an income of around $45 million from transit fees.