Pakistan and Uzbekistan: Cultural and Historical Linkages

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Pakistan and Uzbekistan have historic relations rooted in cultural linkages and shared history. Strong cultural links, religious binding, defense cooperation, and substantial economic ties forge a solid bilateral relationship between two Asian brothers. Pakistan was among the first countries to recognize Uzbekistan as an independent state in 1991. Consequently, in the year 2021, both culturally rich countries celebrated 30 years of diplomatic relations. Pakistan and Uzbekistan’s historically effective connectivity could be traced back to Great Mughals’ era, the “Baburids Dynasty.” According to the historical records, the Baburids dynasty was established by Zahiriddin Muhammad Babur, who came to the subcontinent from Uzbekistan. Architectural monuments, parks, memorial complexes, mosques, gardens, forts, and madrasas built during the Mughal dynasty are considered a critical cultural heritage of Pakistan. Moreover, arts, crafts, traditional values, and religious linkages highlight that both states have shared values and cultural similarities during Mughal rule. Subsequently, the rich cultural connectivity of the historic links impacted Pakistan-Uzbekistan relations in diverse ways.

Uzbekistan is the country of the world’s great thinkers, scholars, and scientists. For centuries, the contributions of Uzbekistan’s scientists and scholars to the development of scientific knowledge and culture have been the center of world attention. Numbers of religious scholars and thinkers from Uzbekistan’s land have made irreplaceable contributions to the formation of Islamic civilization. Significantly, the author of the collections of Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad, Imam al-Bukhari was born in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Al-Jami al-Sahih, widely regarded as the most credible collection of Hadith in the Islamic world, is the outcome of many years of intense research by Imam Bukhari. Al-Jami al-Sahih is recognized as one of the significant sources of Islamic teachings after the Holy Book Quran. Moreover, the economic, cultural, and scientific development of Islam or the Islamic Renaissance was a process of the modernization of Muslim civilization. During the development process, heavy emphasis and contribution were made by Uzbekistan’s scholars. For example, Al-Khorezmi was the algorithm’s creator, Abu Rayhan Beruni a great scientist, Al-Fergani the scientist-astronomer, Mirzo Ulugbek a great astronomer, and many others other scholars have roots in Uzbekistan.

Sufism, the esoteric school of Islam for self-purification through spiritual instructions, connects the two nations. Sufism has remained a vital force in the religious bond of Pakistan and Uzbekistan. Moreover, in Pakistan, people widely use surnames such as Samarkandi, Boukhari, and Tirmizi. Moreover, the Uzbek language came from the Turkic branch of the Altaic language family. Subsequently, the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language is the origin of the Urdu language. Nevertheless, Urdu and Uzbek languages have close similarities. For example, in the Urdu language, approximately 6 thousand words come from the Uzbek language. That is why Pakistanis and Uzbeks can understand and communicate with one another with little effort. Significantly, centers to understand the Uzbek language and departments to study Urdu languages are running both in Uzbekistan and Pakistan.

Additionally, Pakistan and Uzbekistan’s architectural patterns have immense resemblances and similarities. Samarkand, Shakhrisabz, Khiva, Termez, Kokand, and Bukhara are Significant Uzbek architectural hubs. Furthermore, many ancient architectural designs also include mausoleums, palaces, minarets, and mosques. With its rich heritage, Pakistan’s cuisines have many commonalities with Uzbek food. Pakistani cuisines are heavily influenced by Central Asia and Middle Eastern foods and tastes. The variety of foods such as bread, curries or soups, and rice depict cultural similarities. Pakistani and Uzbek cuisines are a refined blend of similar cooking traditions. Therefore, food is another key source that highlights the traditional resemblance and similarities. As artisanship is viewed as a most significant cultural identity of a state. The art and crafts of Pakistan and Uzbekistan also highlight the close cultural similarities. Both states’ paintings, Jewelry, textile, furniture, ornaments, and pottery industry give an impression of historical existence and cultural harmony.

To conclude, cultural harmony, common values, and shared history can help cultivate bilateral ties based on mutual trust, understanding, and interest. Pakistan and Uzbekistan aim to strengthen economic, political, and cultural roles to achieve sustainable development and regional stability, and further advancement of bilateral relations. Under the five pillars of Pakistan’s “Vision of Central Asia Policy,” it is significant to increase structural engagement to enhance political, trade, energy, security, investment, and connectivity.  Pakistan and Uzbekistan’s relations have begun to witness constant development momentum and enjoy a profound historical relationship. Both states should strengthen mutually beneficial economic cooperation, political mutual trust and enhance people-to-people contacts to expand the avenues of bilateral cooperation. Pakistan and Uzbekistan need to formulate a sustainable, balanced, and long-term strategic framework to achieve mutual interests in the emerging regional landscape of world politics.

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