LAHORE: Punjab University Department of History and Pakistan Studies and Centre for Global and Strategic Studies have organized a roundtable discussion on Central-South Asia Regional Connectivity: Grand Initiative by His Excellency President Shavkat Mirziyoyev”.
The discussion was organized in collaboration with Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Islamabad & the Regional Integration Centre. The Uzbek Ambassador Aybek Arif Usmanov also called on PU Vice Chancellor Prof Niaz Ahmad at his office.
The roundtable discussion aimed at highlighting the importance of regional connectivity between Central and South Asia vis-à-vis socio-economic and cultural cooperation. The event commenced with the opening remarks of Pro Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Muhammad Saleem Mazhar. He stated that Punjab University was the oldest university and the Department of History had created many scholars and professors. He said that Punjab University has offered admissions to the students of Uzbekistan that would prove to be a milestone in Pak-Uzbek bilateral ties.
Brigadier Mansoor Saeed Sheikh SI (M) (Retd), Vice President (Punjab Region), Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS), Islamabad in his welcome address stated that Pakistan is situated at the convergence of three geo-economically significant regions and it offers shortest route to the sea for all landlocked countries of Central Asia alongside western China and Afghanistan. He said Pakistan stood out significantly in this regional connectivity. He also stated that at present, the initiative of Central-South Asian connectivity by President of Uzbekistan has emerged as a significant factor in rejuvenating centuries old traditional and cultural linkages between both countries.
His Excellency Aybek Arif Usmanov, Ambassador of the Republic of Uzbekistan to Pakistan, presented keynote speech on “Pakistan and Uzbekistan economic cooperation and perspective”. He stated that not only Punjab, but KPK is also well-connected with Uzbekistan. President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Prime Minister Imran Khan are the first drivers and promoters of connectivity. He said that the projects of connectivity between our countries are already showing positive impacts as I see young researchers, students and scholars gathered here for this event. He said that for more than three years, Pak-Uzbek leaders are working for the peace and development in Afghanistan. He stated that all countries are interested to use Pakistan as a transit hub in Central Asia. He also stated that we are now working on high technology cooperation with Pakistan. He said experts from Uzbekistan helped in formulating solutions to enhance cotton production in Pakistan.
Prof. Dr. Rukhsana Iftikhar, Department of History, PU presented speech on “Economic Potential Between Central and South Asia”. She stated that since the freedom of South Asian states, Pakistan has also been trying to promote her relations with these newlyborn and rich resources states. He said that Pakistan has been a gateway to Central Asia since centuries. He said that Central Asia holds significance for the land and people of Pakistan. He said that Pakistan can be one of the finest partner for Central Asia in terms of economic cooperation. Dr. Fozia Ali Hadi, Director, Regional Integration Center (RIC), PU presented speech on “Role of SCO in Central & South Asia Connectivity”. She stated that SCO Member states stand for promoting cooperation in the development of international relations built upon mutual respect, equality and mutually beneficial cooperation as well as developing a common vision of a community of common destiny for mankind. She said that the role of SCO is critical in adopting programs to promote socioeconomic development as this may be the key to merge as an effective tool for gaining stability and prosperity in the region.