LAHORE: Punjab University (PU) Regional Integration Centre on Thursday marked Zaheer uddin Babar Day by announcement of scholarships for Uzbek students, signing a MoU, organizing an art exhibition and a conference to promote bilateral relations with Uzbekistan. The events were organized in collaboration with the Centre for Global and Strategic Studies and Uzbekistan’s Embassy at Al Raazi Hall. Uzbek Ambassador Oybek Arif Usmanov called on PU Vice Chancellor Prof Niaz Ahmed at his office to discuss enhancement of mutual cooperation among the universities of both the countries.
A MoU was also signed between Punjab University and Uzbekistan’s Tashkent State University for exchange of teachers, students and launching of joint research projects. On the occasion, PU VC Prof Niaz Ahmed announced to give scholarships to Uzbek students and invited them to study in Punjab University. In the conference titled “Legacy of Zaheer-Ud-Din Mohammad Babur and Its Relevance in Contemporary Bilateral Relations between Pakistan and Uzbekistan”, Uzbekistan’s Ambassador Mr Usmanov, Pro Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Saleem Mazhar, Dean Faculty of Arts and Humanities Prof Dr Amra Raza, Centre for Global and Strategic Studies (CGSS) member board of experts Dr Mahmood ul Hasan, Executive Director Col (r) Khalid Taimur, Chairman PU Department of History and Pakistan Studies Prof Dr Mahboob Hussain, PU Institute of Communication Studies Director Prof Dr Noshina Saleem, PU College of Art and Design Principal Prof Dr Sumera Jawad, PU Regional Integration Centre Director Dr Fauzia Hadi Ali, University of Peshawar’s Area Study Centre Director Prof. Dr. Shabir Ahmad Khan, PU’s Dr Faraz Anjum, Dr Rukhsana Iftikhar, other faculty members and a large number of students participated in the conference. Addressing the conference, Uzbek Ambassador Mr Usmanov said that he was immensely impressed by the artwork of PU students in which they had truly reflected the culture of Uzbekistan in a creative manner. He said that the life of Zaheer uddin Babar could be a guideline to promote bilateral relations between the two countries and there were many cultural similarities. He said that Lahore was very dear to every Uzbek citizen. He said that Uzbekistan wanted to promote socio-economic relations with Pakistan. He said that the establishment of a rail track from Tashkent to Peshawar would play an important role in the promotion of trade and people to people contact. He lauded PU VC Prof Niaz Ahmad for establishment of RIC and promotion of the legacy of Zaheer uddin Babar in such a remarkable way. In his statement, PU VC Prof Niaz Ahmad said that PU would extend full cooperation to promote mutual relations with Uzbekistan’s universities.
He said that PU would play its role for strengthening regional cooperation among friendly countries and RIC had been established keeping in view this purpose. Prof Vice Chancellor Prof Dr. Muhammad Saleem Mazhar in his remarks stated that PU would organize exchange programs for students and faculty. He said that promotion of bilateral relations between the two countries was a need of the hour and PU would play a lead role in this regard. In his address, Prof Dr Mahboob Hussain said that Zaheer uddin Babar was the first king who wrote an autobiography. He said that Zaheer uddin Babar invented Khat-e-Babri and he was also an excellent Sufi poet. He said that the life of Zaheer uddin Babar was a good source to promote strategic relations with Uzbekistan. He stated that a framework would be devised for academic exchange between PU and Universities in Uzbekistan to find out the relevance in the shared history for the study of the contemporary world. Dr. Mehmood ul Hassan Khan stated that Babur was the most captivating personality in the oriental history. He said that Babur created one of the most powerful empires in the history of the East and was the first one to establish a connection with the soil of Pakistan. Dr. Faraz Anjum highlighted the legacy which Babur bequeathed to his descendants and which served as an example for them to follow. He stated that Babur’s personality became an example for the latter rulers to follow. Dr. Rukhsana Iftikhar stated that Babur’s life was documented more than any other figure before colonial rule in the subcontinent. Prof. Dr. Shabir Ahmad Khan stated that Babur was a man of extraordinary qualities. He was a leader, a soldier, an architect and an administrator. He said that Zaheer ud Din Babur was a lover of nature and he was the best in generating loyalty and devotion amongst his followers. RIC Director Dr Fauzia Hadi Ali said that the centre would organize activities to enhance regional cooperation. The conference highlighted the socio-cultural and historic legacy and common heritage of the two countries and avenues of cooperation and collaboration between Uzbekistan and Pakistan. A Documentary was also screened at the occasion on “Uzbekistan-Pakistan: Shared Cultural & Islamic History” which was produced by the students of the PU Institute of Communication Studies under the leadership of Prof Dr Noshina Saleem and Dr Rashid Khan. Earlier, the Uzbek ambassador and others visited the art exhibition organized by PU College of Art and Design. The ambassador lauded the creations of PU students and termed the artwork “impressive”. He also distributed shields and certificates among faculty members and students for their outstanding performance.