Cul­tural At­tache of Em­bassy of Afghanistan to Pak­istan

The Diplomatic Insight - - INDEPENDENCE DAY OF AFGHANISTAN -

Q: Afghanistan has rich cul­tural her­itage and for that mat­ter how Pak­istan and Afghanistan can en­hance cul­tural co­op­er­a­tion? In­deed, Afghanistan has a very rich cul­ture. Arche­ol­o­gists be­lieve that ev­ery inch of this land has arche­o­log­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance. There are thou­sands of arche­o­log­i­cal sites some of those are ex­ca­vated while a large no are yet to be ex­ca­vated and stud­ied. At the Heart of Asia, and a ma­jor route of the an­cient “Silk Road” Afghanistan con­nected the an­cient­World. Afghanistan and Pak­istan share many things in­clud­ing re­li­gion, his­tory, cul­ture and tra­di­tions. Sim­i­larly, cul­ture be­ing a uni­fy­ing force can fur­ther bring closer the two brotherly Nations. The highly cel­e­brated cul­tural and his­tor­i­cal fig­ures of the two Nations such as Maulana Jalalud­din Balkhi (also known as Rumi), Sanayee Ghaz­navi, Al­lama Muham­mad Iqbal, Pir Rokhan, Rehman Baba, Khushal Khan Khattak and many oth­ers are equally hon­ored and re­spected by peo­ple of both coun­tries. The great Sufi and preacher of Is­lam HazratAliHa­j­vairi (known as Data Ganj Bakhsh) came from Ghazni to spread the light of Is­lam throughout sub-con­ti­nent. Sim­i­larly, the Afghan con­querors, Ah­mad Shah Dur­rani andMah­mood Ghaz­navi are also con­sid­ered heroes in Pak­istan. Look­ing at these unique com­mon­al­i­ties, we have to fur­ther en­hance cul­tural co­op­er­a­tion through joint cul­tural fes­ti­vals, aca­demic sem­i­nars on com­mon per­son­al­i­ties, cul­tural ex­changes and en­hance­ments of peo­ple to peo­ple con­tacts be­tween the two coun­tries. Q: Are there any links that ex­ists be­tween Afghan and Pak­istani me­dia? What are the prospects to ex­tend the hands of co­op­er­a­tion in this re­gard? Yes, re­cently through sev­eral me­dia ex­change pro­grammes jour­nal­ist from Pak­istan vis­ited Afghanistan and vice versa to be­come fa­mil­iar with their neigh­bors. The Afghan Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion and Cul­ture and other na­tional and in­ter­na­tional me­dia and civil so­ci­eties have ar­ranged such ini­tia­tives to fur­ther im­prove these links. Last year, we shared draft MoU's in the ar­eas of Cul­ture, Me­dia and Tourism with Pak­istani side to have prin­ci­pal agree­ments in in­creased co­op­er­a­tion in these ar­eas. We hope that these MoU's can fur­ther fa­cil­i­tate ac­tiv­i­ties in me­dia, cul­ture and tourism sec­tors. The en­hance­ment of co­op­er­a­tion in the me­dia and civil so­ci­ety sec­tors can also help to elim­i­nate mis­un­der­stand­ings and fill­ing the trust deficit on both the sides. Q: Many ofAfghan students travel to coun­tries in the re­gion for their higher ed­u­ca­tion, train­ings, re­search and shar­ing of the learn­ing. How many Afghan students are there in Pak­istan? What kind of prospects you see for them in Pak­istani ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tutes? Pak­istani ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tutes? Ed­u­ca­tion is one of the top pri­or­i­ties for the Afghan Gov­ern­ment. We are highly thank­ful to our friends for con­tribut­ing to this sec­tor. Pak­istan is also among key sup­porter to ed­u­ca­tion field in Afghanistan. Pak­istan has given around 2,000 schol­ar­ships to Afghan students in Pak­istani in­sti­tutes. To date nearly 1,000 students are al­ready en­rolled while re­main­ing are yet to come. In ad­di­tion to these schol­ar­ships, Pak­istan re­mained highly gen­er­ous in al­low­ing ed­u­ca­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties to Afghan refugee students. Based on rough es­ti­mates over 10,000 Afghans are en­rolled in var­i­ous Pak­istani in­sti­tutes in pri­vate ca­pac­i­ties. Q: What are the var­i­ous steps that can be taken to im­prove the cul­tural and ed­u­ca­tional link­ages be­tween Afghan and Pak­istaniUniver­si­ties? At present there are very low-pro­file link­ages ex­ists among the Uni­ver­si­ties of both the coun­tries, which have to be ex­panded. Al­though there were some MoU's signed be­tween some uni­ver­si­ties but to date those were not prac­ti­cally im­ple­mented. Q: What is your mes­sage for the peo­ple of Pak­istan? Look­ing at the shared his­tory, com­mon re­li­gion and cul­ture Afghanistan and Pak­istan has unique sim­i­lar­i­ties. Lets unite and strug­gle for a peace­ful, sta­ble and pros­per­ous neigh­bor­hood. By be­liev­ing in co­ex­is­tence and mu­tual re­spect we can have en­dur­ing part­ner­ship for a de­vel­oped and se­cure Pak­istan andAfghanistan.

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