The Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI) hosted a seminar titled “Pakistan, Central Asia and CPEC: A Vision for Improved Connectivity” on November 13, 2018. Foreign Secretary Ms. Tehmina Janjua was the Chief Guest at the occasion, while other keynote speakers included: H.E. Mr. Yao Jing, Ambassador of People’s Republic of China, H.E. Mr. Barlybay Sadykov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kazakhstan, H.E. Mr. Beishembiev, Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan, H.E. Mr. Sherali Jononov, Ambassador of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Mr. Atadjan Movlamov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Republic of Turkmenistan, and H.E. Mr. Furqat Sidiqov, Ambassador of Republic of Uzbekistan.
Welcoming the guests, Director General ISSI, Ambassador (Retd) Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said that the presence of the Foreign Secretary is testament to the importance that Pakistan attaches to its relations with China and Central Asia. He spoke about the recent visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China in November 2018, and said that the comprehensive joint statement issued after the meetings between the leaders showed their resolve and commitment to CPEC and strengthening economic cooperation. Describing the priorities of CPEC, he was of the view that the presence of the Chinese and Central Asian ambassadors will help us to understand the challenges and opportunities for better connectivity under the Chinese ‘Belt and Road Initiative’. Reminiscing about his own personal experiences, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said that the people of Pakistan and Central Asia are bound by shared history, culture with regional proximity, and who today, have achieved a high level of development that is impressive.