Prof. Dr. Parveen Shah Vice Chancellor Shah Abdul Latif University Khairpur, Prof. Dr. Ihsan Ali Vice Chancellor Abdul Wali khan University Mardan, Prof. Dr. Masoom Yasinzai Vice Chancellor Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, Prof. Dr. Nasser Ali Khan Vice-Chancellor University of Haripur, Prof. Dr. Zakir Hussain Vice-Chancellor Govt. College University Faisalabad,, Dr. Haroon Rashid Pro-Rector COMSATS Institute of Information Technology Islamabad, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Mohsin Khan Director IMS Peshawar and Muhammad Asif , Chief Editor, The Diplomatic Insight also spoke on the occasion and highlighted various aspects of bilateral relationship between Pakistan and Azerbaijan. They also hoped that increased cooperation between the two countries would certainly be mutually beneficial.
Expressing his views on the occasion, Chief Guest Dr. Javaid R. Laghari Chairperson HEC appreciated the initiative and assured the support of HEC in making the endeavor effective and successful. He said that Pakistan-Central Asia relations are based on geographical proximity, common history, culture, traditions, religion, values and destiny. Pakistan and these states can work together and avail the expertise of one another in the areas of research, information technology and scientific cooperation. The inter university collaborations between the two counties can be greatly helpful for the socio –economic development of the region. He also suggested that central Asian states can also benefit from the development made in higher education sector in Pakistan during last decade.
H.E. Mr. Dashgin Shikarov, Ambassador of Republic of Azerbaijan said Muslim countries with unique commonalities of historical, religious and political nature. After the establishment of the formal diplomatic relations, there was no look back and the ties grew on steady pace. He also announced 36 scholarships for the deserving students enrolled at the consortium member institutions and their visit to Azerbaijan. He said that this MOU would help in establishment of Heyder Aliyev Corners in member Universities of Consortium,and develop linkages between Universities of both countries.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, Prof. Dr Muhammad Mukhtar Founding Chairperson IUCPSS & Vice Chancellor the Islamia University Bahawalpur informed that under facilitation of HEC, IUCPSS has been formed by twelve renowned and prestigious higher educational institutions of Pakistan to establish linkages with national and international organizations for improving social sciences, arts and humanities and research activities in Pakistan.
The Embassy of Azerbaijan and Inter University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences IUCPSS, an alliance of twelve Pakistani universities, singed MOU to establish “Heydar Aliyev Corners” on the name of National Leader of Azerbaijan to pay homage to the visionary leadership in different member institutions of IUCPSS and to promote the youth, educational (fellowships) and cultural linkages between Universities of both countries on Wednesday. The ceremony was organized to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of Heydar Aliyev by IUCPSS and The Diplomatic Insight here at Higher Education Commission (HEC) Islamabad and attended by the diplomats, vice chancellors and academicians.
“Pakistan and Azerbaijan are more than friends, they are brothers,” said H.E Mr. Dashgin Shikarov, the Ambassador of Azerbaijan in Pakistan. He was speaking at the seminar on “ Heyder Aliyev-National Leader of Azerbaijan and Azerbaijan-Pakistan Relations” which was arranged in co-operation with the National Library of Pakistan. The seminar was followed by inauguration of “ Heyder Aliyev Corner” in National Library of Pakistan. This whole week, from May 3 till May 8th 2013 is a “ Heyder Aliyev Week’’ that The Diplomatic Insight has arranged exclusively to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of Heyder Aliyev.
In his welcome note, Muhammad Asif Noor, Editor-In-Chief, The Diplomatic Insight, said that our efforts are to help promote the relations between brotherly Muslim countries and our focus is to develop people to people contacts. He said that the whole week is to pay homage to the National Leader and raise understanding and awareness of the great work that has been done by Hayder Aliyev to bring the friendship and cooperation between Pakistan and Azerbaijan. He thanked D.G library for facilitating and supporting to establish “ Heyder Aliyev Corner” in the premises.
H.E. Mr. Dashgin Shikarov, Ambassador of Republic of Azerbaijan said Pakistan and Azerbaijan are two brotherly Muslim countries with unique commonalities of historical, religious and political nature and after the establishment of the formal diplomatic relations, there was no look back and the ties grew on steady pace. He said that establishment of the corner in National Library will help people of both countries to come more closer to each other and learn about various aspects of each other’s history and culture. While shedding light on the friendship was founded by two great leaders of the two countries, Heydar Aliyev and Benazir Bhutto. He expressed his gratitude for Pakistan’s unequivocal support to Azerbaijan over its territorial dispute with neighboring Armenia.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Ilham Mammadov, First Secretary at the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Islamabad highlighted and paid rich tribute to National Leader of Azerbaijan. He said that Heydar Aliyev was asked by the people of Azerbaijan to lead their country at a time in 1993 when it was in war and in great turmoil. Heydar Aliyev not only liberated most of the territories occupied by Armenia, but also put Azerbaijan on a path of development that has resulted in an unprecedented economic growth. Azerbaijan’s foreign exchange reserves stood at $ 45 billion and that the country had invested hugely in other countries. Mr. Mammadov said that it was because of the hard work and efforts of the great leader that Azerbaijan is enjoying the stature of great country amongst the community of nations. It is because of this stature that recently Azerbaijan has become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council from the competitive East European region.
Prof. Dr.Lubna Abid Ali, highlighted the life and works of great leader Heydar Aliyev. While speaking on the occasion, she was of the view that great leaders bring the nations closer to each other.
The National Library Auditorium was charged on Saturday night with sound of classical music being played by Pakistani and Hungarian musicians. They were singing the duet tunes for Sufi fusion music and the audiences cheered and clapped on the sound of the music.
The Diplomatic Insight, University of Gujrat and Inter University Consortium for the Promotion of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts arranged an exclusive concert “East-West Strings: Sufi Musical Fusion Evening” featuring Ms.Katalin Burns from Hungary and Mr. Qurban Niyazi from Pakistan on 6th April, 2013 at National Library Auditorium.
Both artists did a duet fusion Sufi music to promote the cultural diplomacy between East and West to bring the nations closer together. The Sufi musical evening was arranged to make strings of East(Pakistan) will meet West( Hungary) to make the rhythm to remember.
Prior to their performance, young students from University of Gujrat did an act on a famous Sufi Song. The audience cheered and encouraged the talent of young ones.
Both the artist enthralled the audience with their upbeat performance.
Ms. Katalin Burns is an artist with a mission to build bridges between cultures through (mostly vocal) music. She has been experimenting and studying various vocal techniques from all over the world, but of course, she has been most faithful to her own Hungarian roots. She is also a flutist and a traditional storyteller in the Hungarian vocal musical form.
On the other hand Mr.Qurban Niyazi is a prominent Pakistani folk singer with a vision to promote local Sufi Music to the world. Keeping the beautiful musical legacy of his late brother Tufail Niazi, who has mesmerized the people around the globe for years till his sad demise. Mr. Qurban has been associated with Radio and Television for more than 45 years. He won many prestigious awards from Private Government Institutes and performed not only nationally but also thrilled the audience internationally.
The concert had a clear message that Pakistan is a secure land and there is nothing to be terrorized about what is being portrayed by International media. This also reflected that Pakistan and people of Pakistan are meant to develop deep rooted linkages with outside world keeping their traditions and heritage alive.
The Diplomatic Insight in collaboration with Rawalpindi Arts Council (RAC) organized Nowruz Festival along with an exhibition of photographs on Pakistan Movement at premises of RAC. The festival, having stalls depicting culture of all federating units and Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan, and other countries including Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The main objective of the festival was to exchange culture with nations. There was a beautiful podium of Pakistani stall as the occasion was coincided with Pakistan Day. Local artisans displayed their handmade works at Pakistani stall thus winning the hearts of not only local people but those foreigners attending the festival as well.
The festival that was inaugurated was visited by a large number of people from all walks of life including ambassadors and diplomats of various countries.
Folk singer Qurban Niazi and his companions, and local bands of Rawalpindi and Islamabad also performed on the occasion. Besides cultural stalls of various countries, stalls of the Punjab Tourism Development Corporation, woodcraft works, calligraphy, truck art, embroidery and others were also set up. RAC’s former director Naheed Manzoor, accompanied by diplomats from Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Cyprus, and RAC Resident Director Waqar Ahmed inaugurated the festival.
Concert of local folk, Cuban singers mesmerize audience
A concert of local folk and Cuban jazz singers in collaboration with the Embassy of Republic of Cuba and the Diplomatic Insight mesmerized the audience at Rawalpindi Arts Council (RAC).
Cuban Ambassador Jesus Zenen Buergo Concepcion was the Chief Guest of the event, while Naheed Manzoor and RAC Resident Director Waqar Ahmed graced the event as special guest.
Singers from both countries enthralled the huge gathering.
Local folk singers included Qurban Niazi, Saadia Batool, Rukhsana Khan and Muhammad Arshad.
Addressing the gathering, Ambassador Jesus Zenen Buergo Concepcion said the objective of holding this event was to introduce the Cuban music to the people of Pakistan.
He said the concert will strengthen people-to-people contacts between Cuba and Pakistan, adding he is pleased to see a huge gathering that shows that the people of this region have great interest in art and culture of other countries.
Naheed Manzoor said besides promoting local art and culture, RAC also takes initiatives to introduce art and culture of foreign countries to the people of the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
She said music is universal language; therefore, the music show will bring the people closer, belonging to different cultures.
Chief Editor Diplomatic Insight, Muhammad Asif Noor said that Diplomatic Insight is playing its role as bridge among institutions by conducting such kind of event.
He announced to extend cooperation with Rawalpindi Arts Council, to organize Nawruz Festival in the end of March.
Later, RAC Resident Director Waqar Ahmed thanked the Cuban ambassador and the audience, saying the Council will extend its cooperation to other countries for the promotion of cultural activities.
Genocide in Khojaly was one of the darker and grim side of humanity and is shaking the human consciousness even after two decades of this dreadful event in one of the beautiful town of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan. The humanity is still looking towards its fellow beings for justice and fairness in its approach towards dealing with those who have remained suffering in the hands of unjust and unlawful oppressor nations. Unless and until we would not do our part to stop these kinds of brutal acts then humanity would lose its trust and that would be more disastrous for us all. These were the views discussed by the diplomats, scholars, academicians and various representatives from all walks of life during a roundtable organized by Institute of Peace and Diplomacy and The Diplomatic Insight.
The occasion was graced by Ambassador of Azerbaijan, H.E. Mr. Dashgin Shikarov, Ambassador of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, H.E. Mr. Mustafa Evran. Other diplomats from various missions also graced the occasion with their presence.
Ms.Farhat Asif, Executive Director, Institute of Peace and Diplomacy briefed about Institute of Peace and Diplomacy (IPD) is an independent, non-governmental and not-for-profit think tank that aims to provide strength to global peace through dialogue and diplomacy by sharing knowledge, research, analysis and policy development in the areas of, peace-diplomacy, peace-building, conflict resolution, conflict transformation and conflict management and The Diplomatic Insight. She highlighted the importance of Roundtable and issue of Khojaly Genocide.
During the session, Mr. Ilham Mamedov, First Secretary, Azerbaijan Embassy, gave an overview of the incident highlighting its various aspects. He said that the act of genocide committed by Armenian aggressors in Khojaly town of Nagorno-Karabakh is the most tragic page of Azerbaijan’s modern history. He said that the Nagorno-Karabakh is not a disputed land and is an integral part of Azerbaijan which is recognized by entire world except Armenia. Various resolutions of condemnation and demand of withdrawal of Armenian forces were passed by UNSC, UN General Assembly, NATO, OSCE but all of them were simply ignored by Armenia. We, Azerbaijani people, wants the world to realize that recognition and commemoration and of victims of the genocide is an efficient way that will serve in securing the world from genocides and prevent them to happen again.
Ms. Sabah Aslam, Research Fellow, Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad, spoke about the incident at length. She said Human Rights Watch (HRW), described the event in Khojaly as “the largest massacre to date in the conflict.” While highlighting Pakistan’s standpoint on the issue, Ms. Aslam said that Pakistan has always been criticizing such massacres on international forums and also recognizes Khojaly as genocide. On February 1, 2012, Pakistan’s Senate Committee on Foreign Relations approved a resolution condemning the occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan and the genocide against Azerbaijani civilians committed by Armenian armed forces in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly on 26 February 1992.
Dr. Aftab Qazi, Senior Fellow, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Washington, spoke about the incident and linked it with current international scenario. Dr. Qazi provided historical facts about the event and explained various dimensions of biased approach of international community that also led to non settlement of the disputes including Nagorno-Karabakh. He opined that the border issues between the Central Asian and Caucasian states must be resolved as soon as possible as they would lead to further escalation and formation of new conflicts in the region.
H.E. Mr. Dashgin Shikarov, pay homage to people of Pakistan for supporting people of Azerbaijan in every thick and thin. The brotherly attitude and support done by Pakistan and people of Pakistan are now part of the syllabus and it is being taught in school and colleges of Azerbaijan. He said that the support that Pakistan has provided to Azerbaijan will never be forgotten and is now written with golden words in our history.
During the question and answer session, participants and diplomats were, later, involved in candid discussion.