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Posted on: Friday, October 14, 2016

Visit of the Turkmen Institute of International Relations delegation 

On 13 October 2016

Mr. Baba Zahirov, Rector Turkmen Institute of International Relations visited COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) on the invitation of the Rector Dr. S.M.Junaid Zaidi as a follow-up to the two Memoranda of Understanding signed between CIIT and the Turkmen Institute during the visit of the President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berimuhamedov to Pakistan in March 2016. He was accompanied by Ambassador Amangeldi Rakhmanov, Head of Department of International Relations and Diplomacy and Mr. Jumayev Ruslan Rahmanovich Lecturer Department of International Economic Relations. During his visit to CIIT, delegation level talks were held between the two sides led by their respective Rectors. A number of possibilities and proposals were discussed where a wide range of options were explored including exchange of faculties and students, joint seminars and conferences as well as sharing of each other’s experiences in the consolidation and expansion of their Institutions’ activities. Since both can be considered as nascent set-ups (CIIT established 16 years ago and the Turkmen Institute of International Relations 8 years ago), the two sides could assist each other in areas of their respective strengths.

The highlight of the visit was the conference on “Pakistan-Turkmenistan Relations in the light of 25 Years of Turkmenistan’s Independence.” This was in accordance with the provision of MoU wherein it was decided that every year a joint conference would be organized alternatively in Pakistan and Turkmenistan. It may be mentioned here that in 2016 Turkmenistan is commemorating 25 years of its independence and a number of international conferences have been organized in this context. It was an opportune moment for the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), CIIT and the Turkmen Institute of International Relations as well as the Embassy of Turkmenistan to have organized this event during the month of October as 27th October marks the silver jubilee of Turkmenistan’s independence. While conveying felicitations on this occasion, Ambassador Fauzia Nasreen, Head, CPS mentioned about the major achievements of Turkmenistan since 1991 focusing on smooth transition, fast tracked process of development and progress as well as in the international sphere.

The main address was delivered by Rector, Mr. Baba Zahirov. He highlighted the significant developments that have taken place during the last twenty five years emphasizing that Turkmen President has given priority to the social guarantees in keeping with his motto “The state is for people.” The ongoing smooth transition in the economic field has seen market reforms and rapidly developing industrial sector. Speaking about the strides in the realm of foreign policy, he underlined the United Nations General Assembly Resolutions which have a) led to the establishment of UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia; b) appreciation of Turkmenistan’s initiative on the creation of international transport-transit corridors in the Eurasian continent. The UN would be holding the first Global Conference on Sustainable Transport in Ashgabad on 26 and 27 November 2016. He also dwelt at length on the concept of Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan which has also been endorsed by the UN General Assembly. His comments also included brief account of the Institute of International Relations, international collaborations and bilateral relations between Pakistan and Turkmenistan. Ambassador Amangeldi Rahmanov’s subsequent detailed remarks also elaborated on the foreign policy goals essentially covering the aspects covered earlier.

Former ambassador of Pakistan to Turkmenistan, Ambassador Tassaduq Hussain focused on the historical perspective of bilateral relations between Pakistan and Turkmenistan centring on common history, culture and religion, the Silk route connections and trade and ethnic links. His references to exchange of high level bilateral visits, collaboration in energy and other areas and other linkages also outlined the advantages of energy cooperation both from the point of view of Turkmenistan and Pakistan. He also emphasized the need to encourage people-to-people contacts, visa facilitation and reducing the travel time by building road, rail and air links between Pakistan and Central Asia especially Turkmenistan. Current condition was not sustainable as the distance due to lack of accessibility to the shortest route which is through Pakistan, was a serious impediment.

In his key note address, Special Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Waheed ul Hassan after conveying felicitations on the silver jubilee of Turkmenistan’s independence praised the “wisdom and foresight of the Turkmen leadership” that has resulted in the 25 years of “remarkable progress and development” in the “wide spectrum of economic, scientific, educational and socio-cultural areas.” After making brief remarks about the achievements in bilateral relations, he touched upon the contours of Pakistan’s foreign policy and the vision of the government and foreign office. These were identified as a) development of infrastructure and the geo-strategic importance of CPEC; b) Pakistan’s full membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organization;  c) Strengthening of Pakistan’s fraternal relations with Central Asia and active pursuit of such projects as TAPI, CASA-1000, Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline; d) Pakistan’s endeavor for peaceful neighbourhood in the context of Afghanistan and India; e) India’s intransigence and continued brutalities in Jammu and Kashmir; f) economic diplomacy and promotion of Pakistan’s trade; and g) initiatives towards promoting soft image of Pakistan and Public diplomacy efforts.  

In the end vote of thanks was extended by Dr. Arshad Saleem Malik, Head International Office, CIIT.   

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