ISLAMABAD  -  The country is located at the heart of Central Asia with a large population, rich natural resources and significant military capabilities which make this country more important in the world map. Uzbekistan is the proud home to a spellbinding arsenal of architecture and ancient cities, all deeply infused with the fascinating history of the Silk Road. In terms of sights alone, Uzbekistan is Central Asia’s biggest treasure and most impressive showstopper. Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva never fail to impress visitors with their fabulous mosques.

The 1st of September, 1991, is the birthday of new independent republic of Uzbekistan. After the disintegration of U.S.S.R in 1991, it is the first and most important public holiday of the country. This national day personifies all dreams and expectations of all Uzbek people which lean on the main principles of friendliness, solidarity, charity, and mutual respect.

Uzbekistan was declared as an independent state and named as the Republic of Uzbekistan. The ambassador of Uzbekistan in Pakistan Furqat Sidiqov, to mark the 27th anniversary of the independence day of his country hosted a grand reception at a local hotel in Islamabad. The Federal Minister for  Railway Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed  was the Chief Guest while other prominent dignitaries like  former DG ISI  Lt. Gen (R )Zaheer –Ul-Islam ,Former security Advisor Lt.Gen (R)  Nasir Janjua , Ijaz Chaudhry, Chinese ambassador  Yao Jing  , Tajik ambassador Janonov Sher Ali ,prominent businessmen Youqoob Tabani and Hameed Rafique  also graced the occasion by their presence. A cake was also cut and national anthems of both countries were also played.

The well arranged event was a portrayal of close relationship between Pakistan and Uzbekistan. It provided a great opportunity to understand the deep and close connection between the two nation’s cultures.

The ambassador and embassy staff put a tremendous effort to make the event successful. A short video reflecting the views about Pakistan and Uzbekistan’s close friendship was also played. The ambassador of Iran Mehdi Honardoost while talking to a writer about the last visit of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that it was a fruitful and result oriented visit. Such visits would help in the promotion of relations between the two countries. The venue was packed with notables from all walks of life especially Government, Business Community, Diplomatic Enclave and Media but Shiekh Rasheed was the most prominent guest as he is the most senior parliamentarian in the new setup. He felt proud to be nominated as the chief guest of the event. He is a man of intellect and a visionary. He made a short speech in which he said that Pakistan and Uzbekistan are brotherly nations that are devoted to each other and are time tested friends. He further added that Uzbekistan is not our neighbouring country but it is going to join us in the CPEC project via a rail network which would be beneficial for the region. He further added that the Gwadar port and rail network of CPEC project would bring a revolution in regional connectivity.

The ambassador of Uzbekistan Furqat Sidiqov delivered a short but very thought provoking speech on this occasion to strengthen the bond of friendship between the two countries. He said that Uzbekistan and Pakistan’s relations are based on   same culture, history and tradition. Uzbekistan and Pakistan need to develop better business and trade relations. Sidikov said that Urdu is a language which has words that are common in Uzbek language as well.

He appreciated Pakistan’s efforts in promoting peace in Afghanistan and believes that people to people visit should be promoted between both countries to develop more co-operation. Uzbekistan has made efforts to break the shackles of international isolation and economic immobility in order to make advancement in the ideals of economic liberalization. Uzbekistan has the fourth-largest gold deposits and tenth largest copper reservoir in the world.

The country has significant reserves of oil and gas. Uzbekistan and Pakistan relations after CPEC Project would take the relations of both countries to a new height. Uzbekistan is the only country in Central Asia with which Pakistan has direct air link and it is also due to the courtesy of Uzbek Air . Ambassador of Uzbekistan Furkat Sadikov’s services for promotion of bilateral ties and people to people ties are exceptional.

–The writer is a freelance contributor.