On 18th November 2020, Area Study Center (Russia, China & Central Asia), University of Peshawar & Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS), Islamabad jointly organized a Roundtable Discussion on, “Uzbekistan-Pakistan Joint Collaboration for Peace & Stability in Afghanistan” at Peshawar.
The roundtable discussion commenced with the welcome address by Prof. Dr. Shabbir Ahmed, Director, Area Study Center (Russia, China & Central Asia), University of Peshawar. He stated that as immediate neighbors, Pakistan and Uzbekistan are peace holders for Afghanistan and a peaceful Afghanistan is prerequisite for regional stability.
The Chief Guest for the occasion was Lt Colonel Saadullah Tashmatov, Charge d’affaires, Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Pakistan. He highlighted that Uzbekistan and Pakistan can play a major role for building peace and stability in Afghanistan. He stated that we have to work on it to diversify economic relations to achieve peace and harmony in the region. He also discussed about the Railway project of Uzbekistan that will connect the three countries which is another big step to enhance connectivity among them. He also emphasized on SCO platform which is important in this regard. Moreover, he appreciated Pakistan rice production which is very famous in Uzbekistan and has huge demand. He also said that trade between Uzbekistan and Pakistan should need to be expanded in all sphere, we have huge potential of trade and also have deep cultural ties which is very essential for both countries for further enhancement. He is also told about the translated book, “Zahir-ud-din Babar” and expressed that such initiatives of collaborations and activities must expand further and implemented to the next level.
Ms. Minahil Shawal Afridi, Research Executive, CGSS presented an overview of CGSS cooperation and collaboration with various Think Tanks in Uzbekistan. She highlighted Pakistan Uzbekistan relations, joint collaborations and future prospect between both countries. She discussed institutional cooperation and how it has remained fruitful in enhancing bilateral ties between Uzbekistan and Pakistan.
Lt. Col Khalid Taimur Akram, Executive Director, CGSS stated that many initiatives have been put forward and implemented by Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev for enhancing the stability and prosperity of Uzbekistan’s neighboring countries on important bilateral and regional forums during the recent years. Uzbekistan and Afghanistan are immediate neighbors with a common border and have affected each other’s internal development on many occasions in the past. By keeping this regional proximity of both countries in mind, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirzayeyov has devised an excellent far reaching proposal for not only developing and reconstructing the Afghan economy, but to provide the Afghan administration with much needed socio-economic support from important regional countries in Asia as well.
Dr. Minhas Majeed Khan, Head of International Relations Department, University of Peshawar stated that CPEC is one of the easiest way to bring peace in Afghanistan. Pakistan and Uzbekistan are working for a workable solution to win the hearts and mind of the people of Afghanistan through soft diplomacy. The platforms like SCO and ECO must be utilized in this regard.
Other panelists highlighted the importance of promoting regional integration and explained about geographically and culturally close ties between Pakistan and Uzbekistan. They stressed on the need of strategic and economic partnership for enhanced growth through integration and connectivity. The panelists stated that the exports between Afghanistan and Pakistan have been declined in past years, similarly Afghanistan and Uzbekistan also faced enormous declined in exports. We need to further expand the trade volume between Pakistan and Uzbekistan through collaborations, partnership and joint projects as both countries have great economic potential. The panelists emphasized that Pakistan and Uzbekistan can play a major role in facilitating negotiation between Taliban’s and Afghan Government.
Other panelists of the Discussion included:
• Dr. Ahmad Farhan Saeed, Area Study Center (Russia, China & Central Asia), University of Peshawar
• Dr. Muhammad Ali, Area Study Center (Russia, China & Central Asia), University of Peshawar