Bilateral relations of Azerbaijan and Pakistan are based on perceptual process and cognitive functions
By Prof Shazia Cheema
You can find countless articles and comments on the Azerbaijan-Pakistan Bilateral Relationship and most of the articles deal with historic perspectives and military relationships between young nations. Yes, historical perspectives are a core component of any relationship but do only historical perspectives can transfer good feelings to the young generation?
Pakistan has military relations with several countries but do they stand with Pakistan on Kashmir cause as does (did) Azerbaijan that stands (stood) shoulder to shoulder with Pakistan in every hard time at Diplomatic Arena? The answer is simply No--- So what is unique in the Azerbaijan-Pakistan relations that transform both nations as one entity at Diplomatic Sphere?
Pakistan has historic linkages with several countries all over the world but do all of them take a bold Diplomatic stance on Kashmir when Pakistan needs it? The answer is No. Even many so-called brotherly left Pakistan in a situation in OIC when the Kashmir issue was supposed to push. Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Malaysia were three countries that kept the Kashmir issue alive in OIC Forum.
We need to find the strong foundations of Azerbaijan-Pakistan relations through the perceptive journey of events, social fabrics, and norms both the nations possess.
There are several writers who believe that Azerbaijan always helps Pakistan on the Kashmir issue because Pakistan was co-author of several UNSC resolutions on Nagorno-Karabakh and stands with Azerbaijan on this, particularly diplomatic matter.
I always believe such an approach to the Azerbaijan-Pakistan relations is just on the surface and does not represent the depth of the unusual bond between Baku and Islamabad. Azerbaijan under the leadership of President Ilham Heydar Aliyev has reclaimed its territory which was under the illegal occupation of Armenia. Yerevan will remain licking its wounds for all times to come inflicted by shameless defeat it (Yerevan) faced at the hands of the strong and resilient nation of Azerbaijan. Since Nagorno-Karabakh is resolved and Baku may not need the support of any country on this issue after winning a historic war then why Baku even now stands so strongly with Pakistan on Kashmir cause? The world saw that Baku stood on the Kashmir issue again on Kashmir Solidarity Day by illuminating the iconic Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku with the Pakistani flag on February 5, 2021.
This was a historic event that must be documented with a new vision in the book of Azerbaijan- Pakistan bilateral relations.
According to official information, one of the most important landmarks of Baku- Heydar Aliyev Centre was lit with a Pakistani flag on Kashmir Solidarity Day to express the solidarity of Azerbaijan with Pakistan on the “Kashmir Solidarity Day”.
The projection of the Pakistani flag on its national monument to mark the “Kashmir Solidarity Day” is a testimony of Azerbaijan’s bold and principled stance on the just struggle of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
According to the media reports, the Embassy said that today’s event reflects that the peoples of Pakistan and Azerbaijan stand together in raising the voice for the oppressed people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
According to regional Foreign Affairs experts, the bilateral relationship between the land of modern Pakistan and modern Azerbaijan are centuries-old but not stagnant and improving with every passing day although, unfortunately, both countries have no direct railway, road, or air contact. Traveling between both the countries is not easy and it is trans traveling through third countries. There is no direct by air linkage established between Pakistan and Azerbaijan and people-to-people contact is not as frequent that can be with direct travel linkages.
Let me explain what I think about Perceptive linkages between both countries that are enhancing and consolidating contact between Baku and Islamabad.
Perception is based on old experiences and it is not only the passive receipt of old experiences rather it is also shaped by the recipient's (subject) learning, memory, expectation, and attention.
The process that follows connects a person's (Subject) concepts and expectations (or knowledge), restorative and selective mechanisms (such as attention) that influence perception. In simple words, I wish to say that expectations for good support and brotherly relations are the driving force for the Azerbaijan-Pakistan bilateral relationship, and this core point---Expectation for respectable support--- is the focal point that needs to be enhanced in the future.
Mutual expectations are based on the perception of each other, (Baku and Islamabad). The human cognitive system learns through embodied experiences, mare observation cannot formulate a tangible experience. We expect as much as our cognitive functions (reasoning, judging, decision making, evaluation) allow us. And all these cognitive functions work solely based on prior schemas. What decision in the past lead to what circumstances is a key factor in expectations? The human mind is trained to expect via perception.
Azerbaijan and Pakistan feel the same comfort level in expectations to each other, it is mainly because both the nations believe in positivity and productivity. No hidden agendas no bad intension, both want a safe, sovereign, prosperous future and both feel that they can expect any help in this regard based on their perceived notion. That’s why Azerbaijan never feel shy to initiate support for Pakistan just based on mutual perception. This is a unique and cherishable relationship, difficult to grasp in this give and take connotation, but giving and taking is not always bartering, some time is an investment, emotional, psychological investment which pave way for people to people relationship.
As we know that expectations are based on cordial mutual relationships and human relationship needs frequent physical contact, therefore I suggest that inexpensive and direct travel linkage between Azerbaijan and Pakistan must be established before the delay and experts exchange programs, student-exchange programs, transfer of knowledge programs must be enhanced.
The youth of both countries wish to meet and exchange their experience, knowledge, and skills and these desires need proper platforms, government support, diplomatic encouragement, and financial resources.
I believe that Diplomatic Relations can only be sustained when they are backed by Economic interests and bilateral trade is a nucleus power in the 21st century for Diplomatic Relationships. Therefore, traders and businessmen must work closely to enhance bilateral trade between the two-nation because the level of trade is not promising as it was reported just around US$ 16-17 million annually (according to 2019-2020 figures).
I remember in my meeting Ambassador Azerbaijan in Pakistan Ali Alizada rightly said that Azerbaijani and Pakistani are two brothers and they love each other. Yes, we are two brothers and we should meet frequently.
One should understand that Azerbaijan has again out rightly showed its unshaken support with Kashmir cause on February 5, 2021, and now this we (Pakistan) that must appreciate this event at Diplomatic as well as People to People level.
The writer Shazia Cheema is an analyst writing for national and international media outlets including Pakistan Observer, Eurasia Diary, InSight, and Mina News Agency. She heads the Thought Center of Dispatch News Desk (DND). She did her MA in Cognitive Semiotics from Aarhus University Denmark and is currently registered as a Ph.D. Scholar of Semiotics and Philosophy of Communication at Charles University Prague.
She is an analyst writing for national and international media outlets including Pakistan Observer, Eurasia Diary, InSight, and Mina News Agency. She heads the Thought Center of Dispatch News Desk (DND). She did her MA in Cognitive Semiotics from Aarhus University Denmark and is currently registered as a Ph.D. Scholar of Semiotics and Philosophy of Communication at Charles University Prague. She can be reached at her: Twitter @ShaziaAnwerCh Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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