New Growth Points For Uzbekistan-Pakistan Cooperation In Economy, Culture And Education
By News Desk
On 15th February 2022, an online Conference on ‘’New growth points and drivers for the development of Uzbekistan-Pakistan cooperation in the field of economy, culture and education’’ was held. The online conference was jointly organized by Institute for Strategic and Regional Studies (ISRS) under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Tashkent, Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS), Islamabad, and Area Study Centre (Russia, China and Central Asia) University of Peshawar, Peshawar.
The online conference commenced with the opening remarks of Mr Sanjar Valiev, Deputy Director, Institute for Strategic and Regional Studies (ISRS) under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Tashkent, Uzbekistan. He welcomed the audience and speakers from Pakistan and Uzbekistan. He stated that the cooperation between Pakistan and Uzbekistan have increased significantly. The cooperation between both the states in the field of trade, defence, culture and education has enhanced. Mr. Sanjar emphasized that under the leadership of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the prospects for regional connectivity between South Asia and Central Asia has increased. He also mentioned that all these new emerging trends demonstrate Pakistan-Uzbekistan leaders’ intentions to bring cooperation to a new level and enhance interaction.
Prof. Dr. Shabbir Ahmad Khan, Director, Area Study Centre (Russia, China and Central Asia) University of Peshawar shared his expert opinion by discussing the main factors responsible for closer cooperation and trust between the two brotherly countries. He stated that the regional geo-economic orientation has induced Uzbekistan and Pakistan to coordinate approaches and policies for enhanced regional connectivity. He also mentioned that the two countries have been developing programs to enhance connectivity as well as to forge strategic partnership. While concluding, Prof. Dr. Shabbir stated that Termiz- Peshawar Railway Line (bullet train) is the project of century that will reduce both the transportation cost and time from Tashkent to Gwadar and Karachi ports.
The theme of the first session was ‘’Development of economic, scientific, technical and educational ties between Uzbekistan and Pakistan”.
Mr. Khalid Taimur Akram, Executive Director, Center for Global and Strategic Studies (CGSS), Islamabad shared his expert analysis that cooperation between Pakistan and Uzbekistan can yield fruitful results. He mentioned that Pakistan must sign joint financial agreements with Central Asian countries with easy visa regimes. Experts from these sectors need to sit together and formulate policies. He further discussed that Digital connectivity is important. To mitigate the language barriers, the industrial websites of Uzbek companies should be translated into Urdu and English. Mr. Khalid Taimur also stated that Uzbekistan has performed tremendously in the construction sector. In this regard, Pakistan can learn a lot from Uzbekistan.
Mr. Anvar Kabulov, Head of the Center for Economic Research and Reform (CERR), Tashkent, Uzbekistan stated that for the past 5 years, cooperation between Pakistan and Uzbekistan has increased manifolds. He mentioned that there are three main areas in which the collaboration between two countries can enhanced, i.e., academics, agriculture and industrial cooperation. Mr. Anvar mentioned that cooperation in the field of education can play a significant role. Both countries should initiate student exchange programs.
Ms. Maryam Raza, Research Executive, Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS), Islamabad shared her expert opinion by highlighting the important concept of regional cooperation that has become the essence of diplomacy. She stated that Central and South Asia have interacted with each other since ancient times. Ms. Maryam also enlightened the audience about Pakistan and Uzbekistan relations in economic, tourism, and political dimensions. While concluding, she emphasized to enhance people-to-people contacts via academic exchanges and courses.
The theme of the second session was “Strengthening cultural and humanitarian cooperation is a significant factor in deepening bilateral development and expanding connectivity between Central and South Asia”.
Prof. Dr. Azmat Hayat Khan, Former Director/Former Vice Chancellor, University of Peshawar stated that the roots of our Civilization lie in Bukhara and Samarkand. He stated that the world’s Islamic culture was originated from Central Asia. After the political change in the post-Soviet era, people from Indo-Pak were enthusiastic to visit these countries, especially Uzbekistan. Prof. Azmat stated that Pakistan and Uzbekistan are the countries to bring peace in Afghanistan. Thus, cooperation between both states is essential for the stability of region.
Dr. Bahiyor Salaydior, Senior Lecturer of the Department of organization and Management of cultural and Art Institution, Institute of Art & Culture, Uzbekistan gave a detailed presentation on Uzbekistan’s Cultural Heritage: Opportunities and Prospects. He discussed that world is changing rapidly and cultural ties act as bridge between nations and peoples. They serve as an important mechanism for maintaining the security of the international community. He stated that Pakistan and Uzbekistan are rich in culture. Smarkand and Bukhara in Uzbekistan, and Monejho Daro and Harapa in Pakistan are the great cultural sites, depicting the culture of these regions. Dr. Bahiyor also mentioned that participation in cultural exhibitions is important as this promotes ideologies.
Dr. Zarmina Baloch, Assistant Professor, Women University, Peshawar & Member Board of Experts, CGSS discussed that the youth can play an important part in strengthening the ties between Central-South Asia. She stated that youth is a major human resource for development and key agent for social change, economic growth and technological innovation. Dr. Zarmina also mentioned that young individuals can create a positive social impact that is needed within a nation to enhance people-to-people contacts.
Mr. Aktam Jalilov, Director of the Institute for Research of the Youth Problems and Training Prospective Personnel, Tashkent, Uzbekistan stated that we are glad that we got the opportunity to work with Pakistan. He discussed that Uzbekistan’s president initiated many programs to build stronger relationship with South Asian countries, especially Pakistan. In this aspect, geo-political cooperation between two countries will change the picture of Eurasian region.
The theme of the third session was ‘’Prospects for Uzbekistan-Pakistan cooperation in the field of tourism.’’
Dr. Mohammad Shafi Afridi, Assistant Professor, Area Study Center, (Russia, China and Central Asia), University of Peshawar provided the conceptual reasons for the recreation of cultural roots between Pakistan and Uzbekistan. He mentioned that the one of the main reasons behind the recreation of cultural ties could be to explore new avenues for joint collaboration. In this aspect, new tourist routes could allow people from both the sides to discover the past/historical legacies.
Mr. Takhir Shamsimatov, Chief Specialist of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan stated that Pakistan and Uzbekistan have signed several agreements to enhance cooperation. Leaders from both states have paid visits that further strengthened the bilateral ties. Mr. Takhir explained that on March 3, 2019, Uzbekistan Tourist Information Center was opened in the city of Islamabad that increased the tourism between two states. Moreover, direct flights between major cities of both countries have also started.
Mr. Ashirali Abdirashidov, Dean, Islamic Economic and International Relations, International Islamic Academy, Uzbekistan gave a detailed presentation on the Prospects for Cooperation between Uzbekistan and Pakistan in the field of Ziyarah Tourism. He stated that Uzbekistan is land of scholars and many Muslim scholars belonged to Uzbekistan. Tourism between Pakistan and Uzbekistan since 2018 has increased. He explained that many tourist destinations in Uzbekistan attracts tourists from Pakistan. Likewise, Islamic academic institutions are located in Uzbekistan through which cooperation can be increased between both countries.
Dr Mohammad Ali Dinakhel, Research Associate, Area Study Center, (Russia, China and Central Asia), University of Peshawar expressed his opinion that the depth of Pakistan and Uzbekistan relation is based on strong cultural ties. Tourism is one of the important sectors that can help in the economic development. Dr. Mohammad Ali explained that spiritual tourism is the oldest form of Tourism. It brings people from different regions together. In Pakistan, there are many sites for spiritual tourism. The biggest example of Pakistan’s support for Spiritual tourism is Kartarpur Corridor.
Mr. Sanjar Valiev, Deputy Director, Institute for Strategic and Regional Studies (ISRS) under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Tashkent, Uzbekistan gave the closing remarks. He appreciated the analysis and speeches by the experts and affirmed his support to enhance people-to-people contacts and academic cooperation between Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
Prof. Dr. Saleem, Mazhar, Pro Vice Chancellor, University of the Punjab, Lahore appreciated CGSS for connecting academic community of Pakistan and Uzbekistan. He stated that CGSS has a platform for the academicians from both the sides to cooperate and collaborate. He also enlightened the audience that University of the Punjab, Lahore has established Regional Integration Center (RIC) with the assistance of CGSS. Prof. Saleem stated that this is the era of connectivity and there is need for direct flights between Pakistan and Central Asian countries. Thus, it is essential for cooperation in all the fields. He stated that Zaheer-ud-Din Baber Center established at University of the Punjab, Lahore is working on student and scholar exchange programs. He also suggested that new programs for student/faculty exchange must also be initiated for connecting the academia of both countries and enhanced people to people contact. He also invited delegations from Uzbekistan to visit University of the Punjab, Lahore.
The online event was moderated by Prof. Dr. Shabbir Ahmad Khan, Director, Area Study Centre (Russia, China and Central Asia) University of Peshawar, Peshawar. The online conference integrated renowned academic institutions and think tanks of Uzbekistan and Pakistan.