Pakistan offers an attractive investment environment and a strong industrial base for potential investors from Central Asian Republics (CARs) as they are various economic and geo strategic factors which have shaped Pakistan’s policy towards these states. “Pakistan’s objectives in Central Asia are determined by its economic and commercial gains and Central Asia is seen as an area of natural expansion for Pakistan, “International Relations expert, Prof Abul Sattar Abbasi said on Sunday. He added growing relations with Central Asian States make Pakistan remains an important player in the region for making its bilateral ties stronger and due to its geo-strategic location makes it difficult for Central Asian regimes to ignore Pakistan. “Pakistan provides the natural link between the SCO states to connect the Eurasian heartland with the Arabian Sea and South Asia.” Quoting the international media reports, he said that in recent years, Pakistan’s relations with the Central Asian Republics (CARs) have improved. In the unfolding geo-political situation, the current Central Asian regimes are trying to build new equations with Islamabad. He said that many world leaders refer Pakistan as the gateway to Central Asia and strongly believe that good relations with the region would not only enhance its security but also provide enormous economic opportunities. He said that religion is seen as an important factor in developing relations between Pakistan and the Central Asian states. It is felt that since the majority of the CARs are Muslim living people. “CARs are paving the way for a bloc thus providing an opportunity to unite Muslims in the CARs, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Pakistan has always desired to expand its relations with Afghanistan and beyond.” As per media reports, Pakistan-Uzbekistan relations have also been improving over the past few years and the cooperation in the fields of education and culture is an important aspect of Pakistan-Central Asia relations. Reports claimed that there are a number of Central Asian students studying in Pakistan and similarly Pakistani students in the CARs. However, the example of Kyrgyzstan can be cited as Kyrgyz students have been pursuing studies in Pakistani educational institutions in various fields such as engineering, business administration, information technology and the English language. Kyrgyz civil servants also attend training programmes in Pakistan. Conversely, over 350 Pakistani students are currently pursuing studies, mainly in medical colleges, in Kyrgyzstan. Reports said that in November 1992, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan and the five former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan created an extended economic bloc linking Asia and Europe.