Report – Seminar on “Pakistan’s Relations with Central Asian Republics and Azerbaijan: Prospects and Challenges”

A seminar to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan, Central Asian Republics (CARs) and Azerbaijan was held at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) in collaboration with the Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies (IPDS) on May 11, 2017. Ms. Tehmina Janjua, Foreign Secretary of Pakistan was the chief guest at the occasion. The other participants of the seminar included; 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; Mr. Darkhan Nursadykov, Representative of the Ambassador of Kazakhstan, Dr. Sarfraz Khan, Director Area Study Centre, Peshawar University and Ms. Farhat Asif, President IPDS.

In his welcome remarks Mr. Najam Rafique, Director Research and Americas, welcomed the honourable chief guest, the distinguished speakers and the guests.  He suggested that though we celebrate the 25th year of our diplomatic relations with Central Asian States and Azerbaijan, the linkages with these states are both cultural and historical. Many people in Pakistan trace their  ancestral roots to Central Asian States. These historical ties have found a high place in our poetry and literature. Current ties between Pakistan and Central Asian Republics have now been established  in numerous fields including science and technology, information technology, pharmaceuticals, tourism and media. The most important in this regard are CASA 1000 and the TAPI gas pipeline projects. There is also a  growing cooperation seen in war against terror, combating religious extremism and drug trafficking. He was of the opinion that Pakistan and Central Asian States are also members of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) which has provided several opportunities to the head of states to meet on the sidelines to further cement their bilateral relations. In this regard, Pakistan now looks forward to becoming a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in June 2017. He said that Pakistan has played an important role in curbing terrorism and looks forward to working closely with CARs and Azerbaijan for a peaceful solution in Afghanistan, which is very important for our future bilateral relations.

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