Reaching out to Central Asia – Part II By Ansar Mahmood Bhatti
The Central Asian countries especially Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have been playing an instrumental role for peace in the region and fight against terrorism and extremism. Pakistan’s political and military establishments have been working hand in hand with these governments in order to make sure that safe havens of terrorists are eliminated for good. Leaderships of these countries appear to be on the same page in terms of regional peace and security for all projects of strategic nature such as CASA 1000, can be run only when fool-proof security is ensured. Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan visited Pakistan on November 01 and held talks with top Pakistani political and military leadership including Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan. Among other things security in the region was also discussed in detail and both sides agreed to continue cooperation in this particular field. Additionally, both sides determined to make joint efforts for peace in Afghanistan considering Afghanistan part of the solution and not part of problem.
Kazakhstan is yet another very important country in Central Asia. The new ambassador of Kazakhstan Barlybay Sadykov in a recent interaction with Pakistan media expressed his desire to further strengthen relations with Pakistan. Ambassador Barlybay, who, as compared with his predecessor, possesses excellent communication skills and has an earnest desire to take bilateral relations to new heights. The global initiatives of President Nursultan Nazarbayev regarding nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation issues have lauded by all and sundry, especially in Pakistan, Islamabad has consistently supported the initiative of nuclear disarmament. The global peace initiatives of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev is aimed at achieving a world free of nuclear weapons, strengthening confidence-building measures and settling regional conflicts. It is because of this peace initiative that Kazakhstan that the country has abandoned the nuclear arsenal and closed the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site.
Relations between Republic of Kazakhstan and Pakistan since the establishment of diplomatic relations on 24 February 1992 have been developing in the spirit of friendship and partnership with high level of political cooperation. Since then both countries are able to establish high level contacts with a view to giving new dimensions to bilateral relations.
Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan enjoy cordial relations. The diplomatic relations between Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan were established on 10 May 1992. At the same time Kyrgyz-Pakistani historical relations can be traced back centuries ago. Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan Erik Beishembiev in his recent interview to Centreline said “Pakistan has a high demand of power energy for its growing economy. At the same time Kyrgyzstan is rich in water resources which are used for electricity production by a number of hydropower stations. My country is a member of the project CASA-1000, which is aimed at bringing surplus electricity from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan hydropower stations in summer times to Pakistan through the territory of Afghanistan”.
Summing up, Central Asia has a lot to offer to Pakistan and vice versa therefore efforts should be made to explore this potential. Leaders of various Central Asian states have been visiting Pakistan on regular basis. It is incumbent upon Pakistani side also to reciprocate in same manner because it always takes two to make a clap.
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