Bilateral Relationship of Pakistan and Azerbaijan entering into a New Era
Bilateral relationship between the land of modern Pakistan and the modern Azerbaijan are centuries-old and Caravanserai Multani in Baku is one of the testified and tangible historic linkages shared by the both the nations.
Since the independence of modern Azerbaijan, Islamabad and Baku stand with each other wherever and whenever it is needed.
It is pertinent to mention that their bilateral diplomatic relationship is based on principle of respect, love and trust and now time tested relations have reached to a new level of understanding during the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan and year 2019 was very productive for two brotherly countries to work more closely.
As always, Azerbaijan during Kashmir crises stood along with Pakistan at international forums this year and Pakistan again forcefully voiced for Azerbaijan at all available international forums.
The visit of President of Pakistan Dr Alvi to Baku in 2019 played a pivotal role to bring the both countries further closer.
Before this visit, the meeting of President Dr Alvi with Ambassador of Azerbaijan Ali Fikrat Oglu Alizada on June 25, 2019 in Islamabad was also an important development when he passed invitation of President of Ilham Aliyev to President Dr Alvi.
In this meeting, President Alvi lauded bilateral relations between Pakistan and Azerbaijan and stated that bilateral trade is also increasing and thousands of tourists from Pakistan are travelling to brotherly country of Azerbaijan.
President Alvi highly appreciated proactive role of Ambassador of Azerbaijan Ali Fikrat Oglu Alizada for his constant work for further cementing the bilateral relations between the two countries.
On October 28, 2019, while giving interview to Azerbaijani media in Baku, President Alvi reiterated his stance that bilateral relationship of Azerbaijan and Pakistan has (had) great importance for Pakistan. He strongly appreciated the support of the Azerbaijan government and people on Kashmir cause.
President stated that Pakistan is (was) the only country which did not recognize Armenia because of its love and respect for the people and state of Azerbaijan.
President Alvi in his interview to Azeri media also stated that strong cooperation in the military-technical sphere is very important between Azerbaijan and Pakistan and Pakistan is ready to support Azerbaijan whenever and wherever it (support) is needed.
On September 23, 2019, Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mahmood Qurashi while speaking at OIC contact group meeting at sideline of UNGA said that world must put pressure on Armenia to vacate Azerbaijani areas and stop aggression over Azerbaijani nation.
He added that Pakistan has demanded the immediate withdrawal of Armenian forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and Pakistan also demanded world to compel Armenia to vacate Azerbaijani occupied land.
When asked to comment on Azerbaijan-Pakistan bilateral relations, the Chairman Pakistan-China Institute (PCI) and Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed stated that Pakistan and Azerbaijan have (had) a special relationship dating from the time that Pakistan was the second country to recognise independence of Azerbaijan in 1991.
Remembering the Father of modern Azerbaijan, Haider Aliyev, Senator Mushahid who is also a journalist and geo-strategist cited that high-level visits and mutual support on core issues of national interest of both (Pakistan and Azerbaijan) have (had) reinforced this relationship.
“The Father of modern Azerbaijan, Haider Aliyev, visited Pakistan in 1995 and so have Pakistani leaders. More importantly, Pakistan fully supports Azerbaijan on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh, refusing to recognise Armenia, while Azerbaijan supports Pakistan on Kashmir. Azerbaijan is also member of the OIC Contact Group on Kashmir,” maintained Senator Mushahid.
“Pakistan also has a solid defence relationship with Baku plus parliamentary diplomacy is a force multiplier, and Pakistani parliamentarians are invited to monitor elections in Azerbaijan. Both countries have also taken a strong position on Islamophobia. Azerbaijan is now becoming a popular tourist destination for Pakistanis and Azeri cuisine too, healthy and delicious, is something that more and more Pakistanis are learning to enjoy,”, concluded Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed.
Geo-political analyst and former top Diplomat of Pakistan Ambassador Abdul Basit when asked by DND News Agency to comment on the dynamics of Azerbaijan-Pakistan relations, he stated as:
“We greatly value our brotherly relations and fully support them on the issue of Nagorno Karabakh. It also goes without saying that Azerbaijan has always been forthcoming on Kashmir. It has been positively contributing in the OIC Kashmir Contact Group.
The two countries need to focus on augment economic ties, including trade and tourism, as the potential is huge. I also remember having visited Azerbaijan as a diplomat from Moscow during the Soviet era and having lunch at Sara e Multan in Baku. I can never forget the warm hospitality of the people of Azerbaijan even then.
When former diplomat Ambassador Dr. Irfan Yusuf Shami was asked to comment over historical perspective of Azerbaijan-Pakistan relations, he said:
Ever since independence of Azerbaijan in 1991, Pakistan has (had) continued to steadily strengthen and further expand its excellent relations with the brotherly country of Azerbaijan.
Both countries enjoy a common history, culture, strategically located region and religious traditions. Pakistan was one of the first country to recognize Azerbaijan as well as one of the first to undertake a leadership level official visit to Baku. Our multifaceted bilateral and official relations continue to be strongly reinforced by utmost respect for each other at the people-to-people level.
Both countries have maintained a strong reciprocal support at bilateral, regional and international levels, for their respective principled positions on Jammu and Kashmir and Nogorno-Karabagh disputes.
Pakistan has refrained from establishing diplomatic relations with Armenia and its official representative in OIC General Secretariat in Jeddah (the undersigned as Director Political Affairs) initiated a fact-finding mission to Nogorno-Karabagh in 2006, Azerbaijan has also consistently supported Pakistan on Jammu & Kashmir, particularly within the OIC Contact Group.
Pakistan will always continue to extend its utmost solidarity with their Azeri brothers and sisters during its annual observance of black January.
Enemies of Pakistan and Azerbaijan always try to harm this wonderful and rock-strong relationship but both countries always defeat enemies to fulfill their nefarious designs”.
While commenting on Azerbaijan-Pakistan relations, former diplomat who also runs one of the prestigious Think Tank of Pakistan Major General (retd) Syed Khalid Amir Jaffery, stated that Pakistan and Azerbaijan have (had) always enjoyed a very special relationship.
“Pakistan has always supported Azerbaijan unconditionally, especially during the Nagorno Karabagh issue which is extremely important for Azerbaijan. In turn Pakistan has been supported by Azerbaijan in all international forums, including Kashmir.
The ties between this region and Azerbaijan go back a long way in history. I was surprised to see a Serai named Multan Serai, in Baku, where caravans from Multan used to come for trade and stay there. Our think tank is working closely with the Azerbaijan Embassy in Islamabad, and we hope that we can contribute towards further strengthening our already brotherly ties”.
He also believed that bilateral relationship of Azerbaijan and Pakistan is irreversible although enemies of both countries keep trying to create divide.
Former Diplomat Ambassador Amjad Majid Abbasi while commenting on Azerbaijan and Pakistan relations stated that both countries share (shared) their roots with the Turks therefore the Turkish culture remains predominant in every aspect of their life and Azerbaijani nation is hard working and robust who take pride of being a nation which has achieved excellent progress after its independence.
“They are honourable people and have never forgotten Pakistan’s unconditional support on the Armenian issue,” concluded Ambassador Amjad.
As always Azerbaijan will observe anniversary of “Black January” on January 20, 2020.
This year it will be 30th anniversary of tragedy when in 1990 the Soviet Army entered capital Baku, killing and wounding hundreds of innocent and defenseless people.
Pakistan as a Nation will again stand with Azeri brothers and will organize commemorative events and increase the awareness of January 20 tragedy among Pakistani people through the mass media, including television, radio and the Internet.
Agha Iqrar Haroon is a Development Observer, travel writer and senior journalist from Pakistan. His area of work includes Central Asia, South Asia and Eastern European regions . He is also Chief Editor of DND News Agency
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