By Arif Qoreshi
Islamabad: The Embassy of Uzbekistan in Islamabad celebrated the 20th anniversary of Pakistan Uzbekistan relations on Wednesday. The reception also covered the celebrations of the 21st Independence Day of Uzbekistan.
The reception was hosted by the Ambassador of Uzbekistan Parviz Aliev in Islamabad.
Sixty-three-year-old Parviz Aliyev newly appointed ambassador from Tashkent has rich experience in the office of the Foreign Ministry. He worked as Uzbek consul to Mazar-i-Sharif (Afghanistan) as well as the Uzbek Embassy in Iran and Thailand. He is fluent in Turkish, English, Farsi and Dari.
Dr. Paul Bhatti, as Advisor on National Harmony, who was Chief Guest on the occasion, joined the ambassador in cutting the ceremonial cake along with other guests after playing of national anthems of both the countries amidst applause by a large number of guests in the hall.
Uzbekistan and Pakistan are strongly linked by air as there are regular flights from Lahore to Tashkent and a new route from Islamabad to Tashkent will also start from October 31, 2012 operated by Uzbek Air.
Relations between the two states were established when the republic of Uzbekistan became independent following the collapse of the USSR. Both countries enjoy wonderful political as well as business relations. Both countries also enjoy cordial and friendly political understanding over regional issues.
Uzbekistan, officially the Republic of Uzbekistan, is one of the six independent Turkic states. It is a doubly-landlocked country in Central Asia, formerly part of the Soviet Union. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south.
Uzbekistan is the tourism hub of Central Asia, and Uzbekistan’s economy relies also on commodity production, including cotton, gold, uranium, potassium, and natural gas.
Pakistan and Uzbekistan have signed almost 56 bilateral agreements and MOUs since 1991 to provide an institutional framework for an expanding relationship. These documents encompass areas such as economic trade, culture, healthcare, science and technology, customs, agricultural collaboration, tourism, sports, mass media, ports and telecommunications, banking, transit and transportation, avoidance of double taxation, anti-terrorism, extradition, legal assistance, academic and educational fields, and the military-technical sphere, etc.
Uzbekistan has proposed a Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan Trilateral Transit Trade Agreement. An agreement like this involving all the three countries would help remove problems in trade promotion and all the parties would benefit. Various other initiatives, including Uzbekistan’s quest to use Pakistani ports like Gwadar for reaching out to international markets, are also under discussion. Pakistan would very much like that the products of a brotherly country find their way to sea via its ports, which indeed offers the shortest route to the high seas from Central Asia. Uzbekistan is a rapidly-expanding economy and Uzbek trade figures indicate export worth US$14 million to Pakistan in year 2011 as compared to US$10 million in 2010.
This was first year after 2006 that Pakistan bagged a trade surplus with Uzbekistan.
The Uzbek airline flies between Lahore and Tashkent. Talking to The Kooza Communication International, General Manager of Uzbek Air, Hamid Mahmood, confirmed that flights will start from Islamabad to Tashkent from October 31, 2012.