Kazakhstan’s Ambassador to Pakistan Yerzan Kistifan has said that South Asia and Central Asian countries should work together to increase trade, cultural, religious and historical ties for the development of the region. He was addressing the inaugural session of a three-day international conference on ‘Central and South-Asia Re-connected’ by the Punjab University (PU) Department of History and Pakistan Studies at Al Raazi Hall.
On this occasion, Chairman Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) Prof Dr Shahid Munir, PU VC Prof Dr Khalid Mahmood, representative of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) Dr Ellinor Zeino, Chairman Department of History Prof Dr Mahboob Hussain, renowned Historian Prof Dr Iftikhar Malik, National and International researchers, scholars, faculty members and a large number of students were present on the occasion.
In his address, Mr Kistifan said that Kazakhstan and Pakistan have historical relations and both countries are culturally connected. He said that Kazakhstan wants to strengthen relations with South Asian countries at all levels for the strengthening of the region. He said that we should learn lessons from history and benefit from each other’s knowledge and experiences. He said that Central Asia is moving in the right direction and its future is bright. He said that peace in Afghanistan is necessary for the region while the world is being damaged by the war between Russia and Ukraine.
He said that Ukraine is a big country for wheat production, which has affected many countries. He said that we should not look at others for the development, peace and prosperity of our region. He said that peaceful diplomatic talks are the need of the hour for all the countries in the region. He said that problems are everywhere but they can be solved by working together. He said that the future of our region is in our own hands.
Dr Shahid Munir said that Central and South Asia are home to a diverse array of cultures, languages, and histories and regional connectivity is crucial to unlocking the potential of this diverse and dynamic region. He said that regional connectivity was not just about physical infrastructure, such as roads, railways and airports, although these are important. It is also about people-to-people connectivity, trade and investment and the exchange of ideas and knowledge, he added. He said that by connecting businesses and markets, we can unlock new opportunities for trade and investment, creating new jobs and economic growth. He said that we are looking forward to the construction of the TAPI gas pipeline, which will link Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is transforming Pakistan’s economy and creating new opportunities for trade and investment. He said that the development of new highways, railways, and ports is transforming the way people and goods move across borders, providing new opportunities for trade, investment and tourism.
Dr Khalid Mahmood said that Central Asia and South Asia are two important regions sharing rich culture and history. He said that for thousands of years, the great Silk Road has connected the two regions together and now the recent Belt and Road Initiative with CPEC as one of its important components has raised the hopes that these historical and cultural ties can be revived. He said that Central Asia has historically played an important part in enriching the South Asian region politically, spiritually and culturally. He said that all Sufism of South Asia originated in Central Asia and for centuries, established the spiritual linkages between the two regions. He said that Pakistan is overcoming the energy crisis and the gas pipeline project can be a great opportunity for economic and technological collaboration. He said that security, extremism, climatic and environmental issues are faced by the two regions and can be resolved by mutual cooperation.
Dr Mahboob Hussain said that the conference would provide us with an opportunity to get familiar with the multiple dimensions and new paradigms of South and Central Asia. He said that delegates from the universities of four provinces including Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Peshawar and eight countries are participating in the three-day international conference. He said that the three-day international conference would provide a platform for sharing of ideas and academic exchange.