The Deep Roots of Pakistan-Tajikistan Cordial Relations
P states, which established diplomatic relations with Tajikistan soon after it became independent in 1991. There are geographical, cultural, historical, religious, economic, social and political commonalities between Pakistan and Tajikistan. Tajikistan is an important country of the Central Asian Region. Dushanbe is the capital of Tajikistan. Tajikistan is a mountainous and land locked country. Its population is 8,5 million ( July 2014). Its mountainous region is called Gorno-Badakhshan (Mountain Badakhshan) with Khorugh its capital. Area-wise Tajikistan is not a big country but in terms of elevation it surpasses the rest of the Central Asian Republics. It has borders with Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Krygyzstan, and People Republic of China. Pakistan is located to the south of Tajikistan separated by Wakhan corridor. Wakhan Corridor of the Badakhshan province of Afghanistan separates Tajikistan from Pakistan. The two countries are only 10 miles (17 km) at their closest point. The geographical proximity makes it easier for both countries to embark on joint ventures particularly in the realm of economics. Amu river which is border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan and Afghanistan originates from Wakhan. Diverse ethnic groups live in Central Asia. Broadly in Central Asian region there are Turkic and non-Turkic ethnic groups. Uzbek, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Turkmen belong to Turkic stock while Tajiks belong to nonTurkic ethnic groups. The people of Tajikistan draw their cultural identity from the Samanid dynasty of the Abbasid period. Samanids (819–999) was a Sunni Muslim ruling dynasty in Central Asian region. Its founder was Saman Khuda, a member of the nobility of Balkh which is now a province of Afghanistan with Mazar-e-Sharif its capital. Tajik cultural development reached its climax during the rule of Samanids particularly during the reign of Ismail Samani. It is considered the golden age of Tajik civilization. Many Ulema, scientists, philosophers, poets, writers and wisemen were encouraged to come and embellish the court of the rulers. Tajikistan is custodian of rich literary heritage as well. Tajiks own great their shared heritage with Afghanistan and Iran. Tajik language is much similar to Dari i.e., Afghanistan`s heritage is part of collective wisdom whether it is shahnama of Ferdousi, Gulistan and Bustan of Shiekh Saadi or is very much respected for his using his epic poetry to educate common folk. Allama Iqbal is very much respected in Tajikistan for his full of wisdom Tajiki/ Dari/Persian poetry. Bukhara and Samarkand were centres of Tajik culture and customs. When Central Asia was demarcated after the 1917 Socialist Revolution both Samarkand and Bukhara became part of Uzbekistan. Another point
of convergence is cuisine. There is much commonality in the Central and South Asian cuisine. Tajik cuisine carries many commonalities with that of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Iran and Pakistan. Tajikistan is famous for its special dishes for instance Samanu and Kabuli Pulao. Tajikistan since the Soviet times gave much importance to industrial development. A dame was constructed on Vakhsh River in the 1930s due to which Tajikistan has become the 3rd largest hydroelectric power producer in the world. That development has increased agricultural productivity and provided electricity which boosted industrial production. Tajikistan is also famous for aluminium processing. It has largest smelter in the world at Regar.. Tajikistan is electricity rich country and can export electricity to neighbouring countries. Tajikistan attaches high importance to higher education. In this connection Tajikistan State University and the Polytechnic Institute in Dushambe are contributing a lot in majority of the people of Tajikistan are Muslim. Majority of the people of Islamic jurisprudence like the rest of Central Asian Republics, Afghanistan, Turkey and Pakistan. The recent visit of Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan to Tajikistan further strengthened the relations between the two regional countries. Pakistan is giving much importance to its relations with Central Asian States. And in this connection Tajikistan is especially important because of its geographical proximity with Pakistan. Pakistan is gradually increasing it the regional countries. Tajikistan and Pakistan are closely cooperating with independence Tajikistan is in search of its national identity and exploring its historical roots. In this respect it has found cohesion with Pakistan. the statements of both countries in different multilateral forums like OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) UN (United Nations), and SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization). When Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif visited Tajikistan recently four MOUs (Memoranda of Understanding) and an agreement was signed. Both are cooperating with one another for promotion of technical cooperation for the uplift of textile industry, professional and technical training, , cooperation for the promotion of culture and eradication of terrorism. For strengthening of economic relations CASA-1000 project is another milestone. It is energy cooperation project between, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The total estimated cost of the project will be $1.16 billion and the funds will be provided by Islamic Development Bank, World Bank, and other donors. The World Bank has approved the CASA-1000 project. For laying the transmission line in Pakistan the World Bank is offering $120 million out of the total of $552 millions loan. Pakistan and Afghanistan will get 1300 megawatts of electricity from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan under the CASA-1000 project. Afghanistan will get 300 megawatts and the remaining chunk will go to Pakistan. SNC Layalin, a Canadian company has conducted the feasibility study of the project and has endorsed the viability of the project. During the Prime Minister`s visit views were also exchanged with the decision makers at the helm of Affairs in Tajikistan on the current development in Afghanistan. The relations between Tajikistan and Pakistan are based on shared interests, mutual respect and a common desire to promote peace, prosperity, stability, and development in the region. Keeping in view the goodwill on both sides and many commonalities and convergence of interests the relations between Pakistan and Tajikistan will further became cordial and friendly in the days to come.