Celebrating 20 years of diplomatic relationship between Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan, the people of Kyrgyz have brought a piece of their culture to Pakistan National Heritage Museum at Lok Virsa.
The cultural corner in the Central Asia linkages wing of the museum features 32 traditional artefacts such as richly colored embroidered cushions, woven rugs, wall hangings and ornamental jewellery. Many cultural artefacts from Kyrgyzstan are quite similar to Pakistani ones, especially their traditional dresses for men that resemble sub-continental sherwanis.
Commenting on the similarities between Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan in his address, Kyrgyz envoy Alik Orozov said, “Our countries are united not only by geographical proximity, we have common historical roots. In the customs and traditions of the people living in Pakistan, there are elements of our Turkic culture and Turkic traditions.”
He shared that 90 years ago, some of his compatriots were forced to move to Pakistan but now they happily live in Gilgit and Rawalpindi and Pakistan has become their second home. He added that around 70 Kyrgyz girls have married Pakistani citizens, fusing the two cultures. Approximately 1,000 male students from Pakistan travel every year to Kyrgyzstan for higher education.
The event was also an opportunity to promote business and trade ventures between the two countries. Well-developed democratic institutions and a favourable legal framework in Kyrgyzstan create the most attractive conditions for foreign investment, said Orozov. Kyrgyzstan could become a logistic platform to promote Pakistani goods in Russian and Central Asian markets, he added.
Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with Central Asian states, in particular Kyrgyzstan, said chief guest, Federal Minister for National Heritage and Integration Samina Khalid Ghurki, while inaugurating the ceremony. “The creation of the Kyrgyz cultural corner in Pakistan will certainly enhance friendly relations which will bring the people of both countries closer to each other.”
She also commended Lok Virsa for showcasing not only the diversity in Pakistan but other countries as well.
Lok Virsa Executive Director Khalid Javaid said, “Lok Virsa not only presents living cultural traditions and lifestyles of the people of Pakistan but also focuses on similarities that Pakistan has with various countries so we can visually see our similarities and appreciate our differences.”
A photographic exhibition portraying folk-life, architecture and scenic views in Kyrgyztan further showcased the similarities between the two cultures, even the terrain looked familiar.
The event was attended by diplomats, intellectuals, students and culture enthusiasts.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2012.