New Uzbekistan-New Opportunities By Ansar M Bhatti

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Uzbekistan is one of those countries that have made progress in all spheres by leaps and bounds. Development activities in this landlocked country got an added spur when President Shavkat Mirziyoyev took over after demise of Islam Karimov, the architect of modern Uzbekistan. Since then the country is constantly on the move. The Uzbek leadership is keen to not only improve infrastructural network in the country but to bring the less privileged class at par with those who have access to all modern facilities. The beauty of Uzbek system is that everybody has access to basic amenities of life. Education is free. Everybody gets free healthcare facilities no matter he or she belongs to government or private sector. Even those who do not have a job can enjoy all such facilities.

In universities talented students are offered scholarships as well while those who do not have a place to live are provided with a decent accommodation by the government. For jobless people a dedicated institution is working round the clock that gathers data of all such people and then recommends them suitable jobs. The effectiveness of this system can be gauged from the fact that those Uzbek people who had left the country long ago in search of jobs abroad, are now rushing back as the govt has set for it target of providing jobs to all needy people within next few years.

The security situation in Uzbekistan is meticulous. It is because of fool proof security that foreigners come to this country without any hesitation and fear. During past few years number of tourist coming to Uzbekistan has multiplied, told the Deputy Chairman of the State Tourism Committee in an exclusive interview with DNA, CENTRELINE and daily Islamabad Post. He further told that the Uzbek government led by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has already taken plenty of measures to ensure security of tourists besides development and improvement of the touristic places.

Uzbek people are down to earth. Their hospitality is matchless.  And that is perhaps the secret of progress of the country. As compared with Pakistan, Uzbekistan happens to be a very young country however during past twenty years or so the country has achieved many a milestone we in Pakistan can only dream of. For instance the bullet train connecting Tashkent with Samarkand and Bukhara is ostensibly a landmark project. Now with the fast train called Afrosiob, it takes only four hours to reach Bukhara from Tashkent. Samarkand is just in the middle of Tashkent and Bukhara so in only two hours visitors can reach this beautiful and historical city.

The Uzbek embassy in Islamabad sent a group of professionals as observers to Uzbekistan for monitoring the parliamentary and local government elections. Here too many lessons can be learnt from the Uzbek experience. The entire electoral drill was conducted in a peaceful and harmonious manner. The opposition parties got a level playing field and participated in the elections with full fervor and interest. For the first time live debates were telecast on national hook-up thus all five political parties had opportunity of reaching out to their electorates.

Summing up, Uzbekistan under President Shavkat Mirziyoyev is well on track of progress and prosperity. The way things are moving ahead in Uzbekistan, in next few years the country would surely emerge as a key player not only in the region but at global sage also. Pakistan and Uzbekistan have so many excuses to expand and deepen their cooperation. Since the direct flights have already started therefore distance barrier has become irrelevant thus providing peoples of both sides to commute freely. Both countries are rich in cultural and religious sites therefore this is yet another excuse that should bring both countries even closer.

Ambassador Furqat Sidikov and his staff also need applause as whatever is happening between the two countries is a result of their tireless efforts and toil.