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February 9, 2021

Uzbek envoy stresses enhanced trade ties with Pakistan through regional connectivity


February 9, 2021

PESHAWAR: Ambassador of the Republic of Uzbekistan to Pakistan, Aybek Arif Usmanov has stressed the need for enhanced trade relations between the two countries through regional connectivity.

“The trade of different items between the two countries could be increased manifold,” he said while speaking at a function arranged here on Monday to mark the 580th anniversary of Ali Sher Novai, the great Uzbek thinker and philosopher.

The event held at the Area Study Centre, University of Peshawar, was also addressed by pro-vice-chancellor of the university Prof Dr Mohammad Abid, director of the centre Dr Shabir Ahmad and others.

The Uzbek envoy, who speaks fluent Pashto, said that it was the first official event he attended since his arrival as ambassador in Islamabad some two weeks ago.He said that Uzbekistan and Pakistan shared a great legacy. “Pakistan should build good relations with the countries on its northern border.

The trade between Pakistan and Uzbekistan should be enhanced. Peshawar and Termez should be declared as twin cities and the two countries should focus greater attention on connectivity through rail and road,” he added.

He said currently most of the trade taking place between Pakistan and Uzbekistan was indirect via Afghanistan. “The Pakistani Kinnow (citrus) and potato come to Uzbekistan from Afghanistan,” he reminded.

The rail connectivity between the two countries could be an important initiative for the purpose, he pointed out. About the Afghan peace process, the Uzbek ambassador said that both Pakistan and Uzbekistan have played the role of mediator for peace in Afghanistan.

He stressed the need for a regional solution to the Afghan issue. He said that both the countries have always advocated intra-Afghan dialogue among different stakeholders in Afghanistan. “They should sit together and solve their problems,” he argued.

For better people-to-people and scholar-to-scholar contacts, he gave some suggestions. He said that a transit route from Termez to Mazar-e-Sharif and from there to Peshawar should be established. “Termez and Peshawar should be interlinked as a bridge between Pakistan and Uzbekistan,” he proposed.

About scholar-to-scholar contacts, he suggested that the Institute for Strategic and Regional Studies, Uzbekistan, and Centre for Strategic and Political Studies could play an important role in this regard.

Aybek Arif Usmanov also spoke about some great philosophers, mathematicians, religious scholars and leaders of Uzbekistan.He said that February 9 was the birthday of Alisher Navoi, the glorious son of the Uzbek nation. “He was the first outstanding poet who discovered the remarkable world of the Uzbek language and its richness. His creativity was famous throughout the world and his contributions in philosophy and literature were remarkable,” the ambassador explained.

The most interesting part of the talk of the Uzbek envoy was the repeated use of Pashto proverbs and couplets. He also responded to some questioners in fluent Pashto.Talking about the friendly relationship between Pakistan and Uzbekistan, he used the proverb: “Ya Ba Yar Shee, Ya Ba Bezar Shee! (either he will become friend or inattentive)”. He also used another Pashto proverb while speaking in the same context - “Spee Ghapee, Karvan Teregi (dogs bark, but caravan moves on)!”

To a questioner who asked his question in Pashto in view of the command of the envoy over the language, Aybek Arif Usmanov responded with a couplet of great Pashto poet Khushal Khan Khattak, saying “Pa Darano Drond Pa Spako Spak Yum”! (respectable people respect others, while unworthy people disrespect others).”

Dr Mohammad Abid expressed his gratitude over the visit of the Uzbek ambassador to the university. He said the University of Peshawar was grateful to the Embassy of Uzbekistan to Pakistan for establishing the Alisher Novai Centre at the Area Study Centre of the university. He that this centre would engage in enhancing the bilateral relations between Uzbekistan and Pakistan.He also expressed his optimism about enhanced cooperation and linkages of the University of Peshawar with different universities of Uzbekistan.