The Deep Roots of Pak­istan-Ta­jik­istan Cor­dial Re­la­tions

The Diplomatic Insight - - News - Prof. Dr. Zahid An­war

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.

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