A famous proverb “in all the other parts of the world light descend upon earth. From holy Samarkand and Bukhara, it ascends,” reflects the great knowledge and cultural history of the country and the people whose geniuses and intelligence made this region shinning out of the other geographical regions of the world.

Central Asia in general and Uzbekistan in specific is at momentous junction of the prehistoric world and today’s modern civilisations with its own splendor and glamour of history, heritage and traditions. Wealth and ideas from all over the world merged and synergized there, giving academics the opportunity and means of making new breakthroughs. The region, what we now called as Uzbekistan has a history of thousands years of work of great and prolific scholars who had spend their lives working and discovering what today’s modern science, medicine and other fields have taken aspirations from. This region has remained the centre of world’s economic attention because of the great Silk Road, making it the great centre of excellence for travelers from across the world. The great route had also turned into the reason behind spreading new principles, religions, ideologies, arts, crafts, traditions, values, cuisines and technologies. The multicultural architecture of Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva demonstrate the ancient and varied nature of the country’s historical heritage. One gets loss of words while describing the splendors and grandeurs of these scholars and the amount of impact they had on today’s world felt from Middle East till East Asia that include Imam Bukhari, Imam Tirmzi, Al-Khorezmi, Abu Nasr al-Farabi, Abu Rayan al-Biruni, Abu Ali Ibn Sina, Ulugbek, Alisher Navoi and many others in the development of Modern Civilizations.

The region of what is called as today’s Pakistan has equally been inspired and affected by the cultural, rich traditions, values of the great civilization sprouted in the region from today’s Uzbekistan. Pakistan and Uzbekistan though have 25 years diplomatic relations but they have deep rooted historical roots. These relations gained strength over the years because of the religious and cultural affinity and shared values hence both state worked towards having close cooperation with each other at the international and regional level. Pakistan and Uzbekistan are situated in a region of great geo strategic importance. Cooperation between the two distant neighbors is significant for the political and economic well being of the entire region. Establishment of the relations between Pakistan and Uzbekistan dates back to the time when both states open their first diplomatic missions in each state after Uzbekistan gained independence. Pakistan was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Uzbekistan.

Both Pakistan and Uzbekistan share similar views on major regional and international issues and collaborate closely on multilateral forums including the United Nations, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Various high level visits to each other’s countries on regular basis reflects a strong desire to make substantial head ways in enhancing cooperation and collaboration in various identified fields. Prime Minister of Pakistan, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was in Uzbekistan and later last year in June while President Mamnoon Hussain visited the country and met the Late President Islam Karimov during the sidelines of SCO Summit of Heads of states. While we have witnessed presence of Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Mr.Ulugbak Rozukulov during the ECO summit where he has called or enhanced collaboration in agriculture sector. These high level visits to Uzbekistan are reflective of the priority and broader commitment to further strengthen Pakistan’s engagement with the Central Asian regional countries. During these visits it was agreed to enhance trade to 300 million in the next three years. To achieve this target, both sides have reflected strong urge to work together day and night in multi sectors and look out for ways for cooperation.

One of the major challenge between Pakistan and Uzbekistan was the direct link, which was resolved when the direct flights were resumed their operations from Tashkent to Lahore in April this year. After the resumption of the flights, to everyone’s surprise and astonishment, at the very first month, there were more than 2000 visitors from both the countries. This number is growing continuously as there has been strong urge from both sides to enhance partnerships in various fields. In business field and trade cooperation, quite recently KASB group and Uzbek Export Corporation signed agreement to establish Pak-Uzbek Trade House which is meant to introduce the new technologies in the field of agriculture in Pakistan as Pakistan is struggling to enhance the per-acre yield of the cotton in case of use of old technologies and techniques. Uzbekistan being the leading cotton producing economy is having high valued and mechanized agriculture machinery which is better for the farmers in Pakistan and will enhance the yield. The KASB Group at first planed to focus on the cotton and wheat production areas in the regions and has introduced the cotton picking tractors for furthering the yield and quality of the production. There is also a need to establish a joint business council and joint commission to further move forward the processes of business development.

Our trade volume is standing startling around 40 million USD and is obviously not reflecting what we can together achieve despite having potentials for further partnerships. It is a good omen that regular meetings of Pakistan-Uzbekistan Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) held on regular basis. There is also a need that there should be joint Pakistan-Uzbekistan Business Council. Pakistan can offer export of engineering goods, medical equipment, sports goods, and textile fabrics while Uzbekistan may export of cotton fiber, silk, minerals, fertilizers, cables, construction material, transmission lines, transformers, consumer electronics, mobile phone and building materials along with agriculture machinery, chemicals and aircraft to Pakistan. Currently, both states desired to enhance trade volume to 300 million USD where in Pakistan is importing cotton, yarn, clothes, iron, steel plastic, telecommunications equipment and electric items from Uzbekistan. Hence a need is there to make exports and imports a broad based agenda. There is an agreement of cooperation has also been signed between the national chamber of commerce of both countries. . With emergence of China Pakistan Economic Corridor, both Pakistan and Uzbekistan will be linked through the several projects and this may be done by provide the opportunity to the Uzbek businessmen for the shortest and viable trade routes to the larger markets of the world.

Another interesting step in enhancing relations and understanding between both sides is that Institute of Oriental Studies, Tashkent and University of World Economy and Diplomacy in Uzbekistan has Urdu Departments. One of the important works that faculty and students recently published is the compilation of Urdu-Uzbek dictionary which reflects 4000 words common in both languages. There are also frequent exchange of scholars, who visit different Universities of both states to give lecturers and engage in talks with faculty members and students at each other’s academic and research institutions. There are deep rooted linkages has been established with different institutions of both states. For example, Pakistan Foreign Services Academy and National Defense University provide training to various officials representatives from Uzbekistan on regular basis.

This year, both states are celebrating their 25th years of togetherness and it is high time now reflect back on the achievements over these years and challenges that may require our special attention including trade, development, people to people contacts and others in times ahead. Uzbekistan always stood by Pakistan in its war against terror and recognised not only regionally but internationally also the services and sacrifices made by the Pakistan and people of Pakistan. Both states also can play significant role in promoting peace processes in the region and economic revival with the special focus on the trade and investment.

Overall the region is marred with conflicts and growing threat of terrorism but there is an urge and need identified by the leadership and people of both Pakistan and Uzbekistan that to have indigenous solutions to the entire challenging emerging indigenous problems with more emphasis on enhanced investment on the peaceful future.