Central Asia is famous for its numerous shrines of saints in the history of the world. Central Asia consists of five countries, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, sometimes Afghanistan is also included in the historical context based on geographical affiliation. The Russian language dominates here, but local languages such as Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Tajik, Turkish and Kazakh are also popular. Among the total population of 72 million in this region, 35 million are from Uzbekistan, 19 billion from Kazakhstan, 7 million from Kyrgyzstan, 10 million from Tajikistan and 6 million from Turkmenistan. Be it rivers, mountains, seas or bordering dry and snowy deserts, the natural beauty of Central Asia is its own example. Its developed country is Kazakhstan and the poorest country is Kyrgyzstan. In view of the importance of Gawadar Port, the CPEC project is the most important and expensive project so far, due to which the neighboring countries will also get immense commercial benefits, but we do not have complete information about the countries with which we want to develop trade relations, nor do the people of these countries have awareness about Pakistan. Due to Pakistan’s weak diplomacy, specific foreign policy and the gap between international media representatives, our arch-enemy conveys information about Pakistan to Central Asian countries through journalism and literature. As a result, we have been deprived of economic cooperation in the region and have been far away from commercial benefits. It is very important to have information about Central Asian countries so that we can get far-reaching results.
In this regard, for the interest and awareness of our readers, we are making use of the famous writer, poet and teacher of the late Dr. Rauf Ameer’s Book “SHAHRA E RESHAM KI JAAN—KAZAKHSTAN”, in which we are supported by the prominent anchor and columnist Mrs. Iffat Rauf. It should be remembered that Prof. Dr. Rauf Ameer was appointed as a Scholar at Pakistan Chair at Ablai Khan University, Almaty, Kazakhstan in November 2006. In this regard, the agreement reached between the Pakistani ambassador in Kazakhstan and the Rector of Ablai Khan University that the chair holder will carry out research on Urdu and Pakistan, and if teaching responsibilities are assigned to him by the university, he will also fulfill them. Moreover, the chair holder will act as a bridge between the university and the Pakistani community and strengthen mutual relations. So this book is a strong reference about Kazakhstan which is an honor for us as Pakistanis. It is said that the example of the Silk Road in the world is like the vessels that supply blood to the human body, on which Dr. Rauf Ameer writes that Kazakhstan is like the heart of the Silk Road. If there is no heart, how can blood flow in the veins? In the book, Kazakhstan is called the main gate of Central Asia, which opens to both Europe and Asia. Seventy years of Russian rule took Kazakhstan back thousands of years in terms of civilization and culture. It is also said that the Russian economy was bankrupt, the defeat in Afghanistan forced him to retreat and now he wanted to get rid of the Central Asian states, but the perspective of Kazakh intellectuals is different. According to them, the storm rising from within the Kazakh people swept away the Soviet Union like a straw. Socialism is considered to be the bearer of personal freedom, in fact this system consists of oppression, which gradually binds people in its grip and makes them numb. The independence movement of Kazakhstan has a long history. Many people raised the flag of independence at different times and today streets are named after them. The independence of former Soviet states, especially Kazakhstan, can be described as the separation of father and son. The relationship between Kazakhstan and Russia is deep and permanent, that’s why they say “to be a Kazakh, you must always be pro-Russian mentally”.
The importance of Kazakhstan can be estimated from its geographical importance. The country provides a route to Europe to China and Europe to South Asia. Means of transportation include rail, highway, airway and sea routes. The use of sea routes alone contributes 11% of GDP to the country’s economy. Deputy Chairman Kazak Transport Committee Qasim Tali Poov said that in five years, 35 billion dollars were invested in transport, the turnout in railways was 52.2%. In the interest of trade and transit between Europe and Asia, the government has laid the foundations of a modern railway system of 2500 kilometers with 1.6 billion dollars. Similarly, 498 flights are running daily in 28 countries including Europe, Russia, South and East Asia and Central Asia. In 2022, the number of passengers traveling by air was 4.5 million, which is 9 times more than in 2021. Due to the geographical importance of this region, in 2022, the United States started direct flights under the Open Skies Agreement, emphasizing mutual relations. 70% of Kazakhstan’s land is reserved for transit traffic from China to Europe and other countries. Five railways and six international automobile routes are active between China and Kazakhstan and it is estimated that products can be delivered to designated areas in 10 to 15 days, while 51 major projects worth 3.5 billion dollars are pending. Three ports on the Caspian Sea are also active.
After the independence of Kazakhstan, relations with Pakistan were cordial for some time, but due to the threat of global terrorism, this relationship was severed. After 2021, the work of restoring relations between Pakistan and Kazakhstan has started again. A sincere, active and hard-working Ambassador Qistafin Yerzhan was appointed in the Kazakh Embassy in Islamabad. As a result of his efforts, mutual relations were restored. He constantly meets with Pakistani ministers, officials and sportsmen to promote trade and tourism, apart from participating in conferences, exhibitions, he also visits universities. Sajjad Ahmed, the recently retired Pakistani ambassador posted at Noor Sultan Kazakhstan Embassy also fully supported in building mutual relations, thus a trade transit agreement QTTA has been concluded between Pakistan, Kazakhstan, China and Kyrgyzstan regarding Gawadar Port. Pakistani products were well received at the Pakistani Made exhibition held in Almaty last year and direct flights between the two countries have also been started in March 2023. The government of Kazakhstan plans to hold an international conference for cultural reconstruction in its capital in 2023 and considering Pakistan as a special guest, the President of Kazakhstan Qasim Jomart Tukalov is expected to visit Pakistan this year. In recent days, a business delegate of Pakistani business men met the Ambassador of Kazakhstan for Pakistan Mr. Yerzhan Qistafin, Mr.Tahir suleman was leading the delegate alongside Ms. Sumera Nisaar, Mr. Adil Jahangir, Mr. Chaudrhy Shakeel, Mr Fayyaz, Mr. Mattiullah and business & media co-ordinate Ms.Iffat Rauf. During the session many issues and obstacles of business with Kazakhstan were addressed to which the humble and genial Diplomat replied with great kindness. H.E. Mr.Qistafin informed the group about the growing economy and business collaboration of Kazakhstan with developed countries. In addition, for bilateral trade serious and immediate actions are taken, the direct flights will soon be launched from Pakistan to Kazakhstan in June 2023. The Karakuram High Way will provide a direct route to Kazakhstan for local business men. He also emphasized on start of manufacturing industry at Kazakhstan alongside an export of industrial products. Kazakh government showed great interest to enhance collaboration in fields of trade, tourism, education, sports, culture and media.