SCO summit a great success

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Ansar M Bhatti

AS the chair of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Uzbekistan hosted the annual Summit 2022 of the SCO Heads of State Council on September 15-16 in Samarkand. In the upcoming conference, transit trade and commercial cooperation among the members was discussed. The member states also talked about establishing industrial zones and in this regard, the first industrial zone of SCO countries will be established in Samarkand region, Uzbekistan. For the first time, discussions on the promotion of digital transformation and poverty reduction in the SCO space were available to the member countries to benefit from the experiences of one another. The eradication of poverty and economic development was the main focus of this conference, which provided an opportunity for mutual cooperation and dialogue to the member states.

The Uzbek Ambassador in Pakistan H.E. Mr. Oybek Usmanov, in his recent interview had said that Pakistan and Uzbekistan had a very important role to play in providing trade and economic integration to the SCO member states, which will usher in a new era of economic integration. The Ambassador further said that the SCO has important member states in terms of geo-economic and geopolitical position, including developed countries, which can play an important role in the development of global and regional economies through this organizational platform. The holding of the SCO Summit in Samarkand was indeed a landmark achievement for Uzbekistan and people of the Uzbekistan when the leaders of the member states visited this great country. Uzbekistan is touching new heights of development during the tenure of the incumbent President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who ever since becoming the head of the state, has introduced a number of reforms with a view to empowering people of Uzbekistan. Economically, Uzbekistan is very well poised and over past few years the infrastructural and socioeconomic development in Uzbekistan has been phenomenal.

The SCO summit took place in the historical and touristic city of Samarkand. Having been to this wonderful city, I can say on authority that this city has a lot to offer to the tourists, particularly those who are interested in religious tourism. The city is noted as a centre of Islamic scholarly study and the birthplace of the Timurid Renaissance. In the 14th century, Timur (Tamerlane) made it the capital of his empire. The Bibi-Khanym Mosque remains one of the city’s most notable landmarks. Samarkand’s Registan Square was the city’s ancient centre and is bounded by three monumental religious buildings. The city has carefully preserved the traditions of ancient crafts: embroidery, gold work, silk weaving, copper engraving, ceramics, wood caning, and wood painting. UNESCO added the city to its World Heritage List as Samarkand – Crossroads of Cultures.

Imam Al-Bukhari Research Center is also located in Samarkand. The Center was formally opened in January 2019 and was equipped with all latest scientific and technical facilities that are required for in-depth research and enrichment of knowledge. Various facilities are offered at the Center with essential briefing about Imam Al-Bukhari and his contribution towards making Islam well-understood not only in the Muslim world but in the Western world also.

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 tourists coming to Uzbekistan has multiplied. The Uzbek Government led by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has already taken a number of measures to ensure security of tourists besides development and improvement of the touristic places.

Both Pakistan and Uzbekistan enjoy excellent relations. The trade and economic volume between the two countries has also increased manifold while both sides are making earnest efforts to further solidify bilateral relations. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif attended the SCO Summit along with a high-level delegation. It was a great opportunity for both sides to interact closely and explore more avenues of cooperation. Besides, the Pakistani Prime Minister, on the sidelines of the SCO summit, met with other prominent leaders as well. The Uzbek leadership and people deserve credit and applause for holding the historic event in the most befitting manner.