“Pakistan Relations with Central Asian Republics & Azerbaijan: Prospects and Challenges”
Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad
May 11, 2017
“Leadership from Pakistan and the Central Asian Republics are moving together to work closely to form a cohesive partnership for the rest of the world to gain experience from.” This was stated by Ms. Tehmina Janjua, Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, during her address as Chief Guest, at a Seminar on “Pakistan Relations with Central Asian Republics (CARs)& Azerbaijan: Prospects and Challenges.” The seminar was organized by the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) in collaboration with the Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies (IPDS) to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan, CARs and Azerbaijan.
Other dignitaries of the seminar included; Mr. Darkhan Nursadykov, Representative of the Ambassador of Kazakhstan; H. E. Mr. Ali Alizada, Ambassador of Azerbaijan; H. E. Mr. Erik Beishembiev, Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan; H. E. Mr. Atadjan Movlamov, Ambassador of Turkmenistan; H.E. Mr. Furqat A. Sadikov, Ambassador of Uzbekistan; Dr. Sarfaraz, Director Area Study Centre Peshawar University and Ms. Farhat Asif, President IPDS.
Ms. Tehmina Janjua made special reference to the success of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) summit held in Islamabad in March, 2017, where the “Islamabad Declaration” was adopted unanimously as a dynamic concept. With reference to the energy shortfall in Pakistan, she thanked the CARs for their increased cooperation in this sector and said that only families share within family. Ms. Janjua went on to highlight the special efforts being made for regional connectivity including a number of time bound mega projects, which are already in the implementation stage. She stressed that an integrated region leads to an environment where diversities can be channelled into collective strength.
Mr. Najam Rafique, Acting Director General ISSI, in his welcome remarks highlighted common historical and cultural linkages between Pakistan and Central Asian Republics and Azerbaijan. He stressed on the need to improve these relations further in energy, social and economic domains. He stated that much depends on the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan that has been plagued by thirty-seven years of war. He also said that it is essential that all countries work together to find a regional solution to this problem along with international partners.
- E. Mr. Ali Alizada talked about the bilateral relations between Pakistan and Azerbaijan, calling them time tested. He acknowledged that Pakistan was one of the first countries that recognised the independence of Azerbaijan and condemn the Armenian aggression. Simultaneously he reiterated Azerbaijan’s support for Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.
- E. Mr. Erik Beishembiev gave a brief overview of Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan relations. He said that though the full bilateral trade potential has not yet been reached, there is a noticeable revival in regional cooperation between the two countries as evidenced by the active participation in this year’s ECO Summit. He went on to say that Kyrgyzstan has no disagreements with Pakistan on any forum.
- E. Mr. Atadjan Movlamov spoke about Pakistan-Turkmenistan relations. He said both countries have always maintained active diplomatic relations and have established a strong relationship in a vast number of arenas such as education, health and energy. He highlighted the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline projects and called it a striking example of long-term regional cooperation, which will take trade and economic cooperation to new heights.
- E. Mr. Furqat A. Sadikov briefed the audience on Uzbekistan-Pakistan relations. He highlighted the strong cultural and historical ties. He particularly highlighted the cooperation in the field of agricultural and recognized Pakistan as the main strategic partner in the region and acknowledged Pakistan’s role in fighting terrorism.
Dr. Sarfaraz discussed the trade relations between Pakistan and the CARs. He also highlighted bilateral visits and covered in-detail Kazakhstan’s role in the international affairs. He hoped that diplomatic relations with Pakistan should continue to grow in new areas which were not covered already. He suggested that to further improve this relation, a proper agenda and road map should be devised in the near future.
Mr. Darkhan Nursadykov said that with the support of Pakistan, Kazakhstan has been elected as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the period 2017-2018. He took the opportunity to congratulate Pakistan on reaching the final stage of becoming a full Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member, and hoped that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would expand to include the CARs particularly Kazakhstan.
Ms. Farhat Asif in her concluding remarks stated that people-to-people contact can help strengthen the already strong relationship. She said that challenges are there but an active collaboration and cooperation could help overcome all these challenges as our relationship is not twenty-five years old but centuries old.