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Azerbaijan-Pakistan Relations


Muhammad Asif Noor 

While glancing over the relationships between the two countries, there is a number of political, diplomatic, strategic understandings which form the solid foundation of shared beliefs, values, and sentiments towards each other while economic parameters help to test the level of closeness and congeniality.

This special booklet has been produced and published by The Diplomatic Insight and Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies for the readers to have in-depth knowledge about both countries and their relations.

Obviously, every state in the international system pursues its national interest to build the levels of partnerships. This level of interest is defined through the vision and approach of the foreign policy elements that have been set up by the state apparatuses in having a certain posture and dimension in the global arena.

Pakistan and Azerbaijan are among the most important players in their geographical regions. Need not to say about the weight of Pakistan in South Asia as a leading lynchpin of the regional peace posture and Azerbaijan as “Tiger of Caucuses” under the new, energetic, and visionary leadership in its region with bright dimension and outlook towards the future.

Pakistan is the first country after Turkey to have recognized the independence of Azerbaijan in 1992 and it’s the diplomatic edge too that Pakistan is among few of the countries of the world,  till writing of these lines, has not yet recognized the aggressor Armenia as a sovereign state. The reason being the state’s unjust hostility and human rights violations in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and Pakistan supported Azerbaijan’s principled stand over the issue at all international and regional debates in the best possible diplomatic manner.

Last year, Pakistan was at the forefront in supporting the establishment of the contact groups connected to the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the important international organizations which include first and foremost at the Organizations of Islamic Cooperation and second is the Non-Aligned Movement hence proved the strength of the support and glorious efforts of both states to stand by each other on such important issues.

While on the other hand, Azerbaijan supported Pakistan on the international and regional forums on the issue of Kashmir. This presence of each other’s support on such matters had made both states closer to each other since the beginning of the relations 25 years ago.

Both Pakistan and Azerbaijan are facing similar kinds of long-standing territorial disputes with their neighboring countries. Pakistan is confronting more than six decades-old conflict with India over Kashmir- the heaven on earth while Azerbaijan over the beautiful Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia.

Hence the commonality of sufferings and pains of humanity in the regions has connected both states into a somewhat bond of togetherness to oppose the resilience, fear, and injustice. Both states stood by each other on the issues and faced the test of the times together. For Pakistan, Azerbaijan stands out amongst the committee of nations as a country sharing not only a religious belief system but also the standpoint towards the promotion of justice, fairness, and integrity of values.

The energy-rich Azerbaijan has redefined itself over the past two and half decades as the leading economy of the Caucuses region with a positive and transformative outlook towards regional and international energy politics and has an important place in Pakistan’s foreign and strategic policy outlook.

Pakistan and Azerbaijan over the decades have made substantial headways in terms of developing new avenues of cooperation in the economic, political, energy, and strategic field. Bilateral trade is standing at around the startling 7.3 USD million which is significantly not reflecting the will on both sides as there is an urge at the high level to improve this figure to 500 million USD.

Joint cooperation at the level of the Chamber of Commerce is on the rise including regular contacts of trade and economic commissions.  Cooperation in the military has also been enhanced quite recently with the presence of the Azerbaijani companies in the IDEAS military exhibition in Karachi. Both sides are working on developing mechanisms for improving ties in the energy field also.

Although there is a recent focus on the arms trade and energy sector the diversification of cooperation in different sectors has also been explored including trade, education, people to people contacts.

It is heartening to note here that Baku State University, one of the largest universities of Azerbaijan,  has established the Urdu Department. President Mamnon Hussain during his visit in 2015 while Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Baku in 2016, paid visit to the University and was appreciated by the Ministry of Education of Azerbaijan for making this important department. Prime Minister has also conferred with the honorary doctorate degree during his visit also.

The first-ever Urdu-Azeri phrasebook has also been published by the bright faculty members of the Urdu department of Baku State University. Other related publications highlighting the connections between the two languages are in process. Pakistan’s Foreign Services Academy and National Defence University receive several young diplomats and cadets of several cadres of armed forces of Azerbaijan on regular basis on the basis of exchange also.

Both states are encouraging investments so that both states and both can take benefit of the potentials of each other. Pakistan is looking towards the Caucasus especially southwards with the vision to import various energy collaborative projects to end the dearth for the economy that the state is facing today. Azerbaijan being the “ Tiger of Caucasus” in terms of economic and political development pose an opportunity for Pakistan to get involved in mutually beneficial cooperative engagements.

Azerbaijan touched the people of  Pakistan’s hearts as a result of their phenomenal support during the earthquake in2005 and later on with continuous philanthropic work across the length and breadth of Pakistan at various levels, schools, and medical assistance in any emerging calamity.

Since 2012,  the First Lady of Azerbaijan Honorable, Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva is the Vice President and First Lady of Azerbaijan, the head of Heydar Aliyev Foundation took several important philanthropic initiatives. These initiatives are in support to the series of projects related to healthcare, education, culture, sports, scientific-technological, environmental and social fields that have been implemented in all provinces of Pakistan in collaboration with different similar local organizations.

On special festive occasions like Ramzan, Eid ul Adha, iftar dinners, and related supporting events are organized on regular basis to support the deserving people of Pakistan.

Hydar Aliyev foundation also constructed a high school for the 500 pupils in Muzaffarabad after the devastating earthquake in 2005 and has continued supporting the school since then. The school has recently been renamed in the honor of Mrs. Mehriban as Mehriban Aliyeva high school.

The school is a symbol of love, care, and special affection of the People of Azerbaijan for the people of Pakistan. As a result and in recognition of the great philanthropic work by the “lady with heart of gold”  in Pakistan during the visit of President Mamnoon Hussain, the first lady was presented with the highest honor of “Hilal-i-Pakistan” has been conferred.

In the case of cultural exchanges and promotion of values of the great poet “Nizami Ghanjavi”, a corner was recently established also in the premises of the National Book Foundation while Azerbaijan corner was dedicated at the premises of the National Library of Pakistan. These are the monuments of the togetherness which will be harnessed over the course of the coming years between both nations.

Azerbaijan is a beautiful mix of east and west and a reflection of unity in diversity where several religions and cultures are coexisting in harmonious relations with each other. Hyder Aliyev foundation reconstructed several mosques, churches as a project of the foundation “Azerbaijan-Home to Tolerance” reflects the priority the country is posing towards building tolerance and peace not only at the domestic level but also at the regional and international level as well.

Both Azerbaijan and Pakistan can learn and share from their experience be that of living with equality and harmony, fighting with the challenges that of terrorism, or aspiring to improve the standards of the living of humanity in each other’s states.

On the eve of celebrating the silver jubilee between Pakistan and Azerbaijan, both states hope to rise in togetherness for the betterment of the people, promoting peace, prosperity at the regional level, and endorsing justice at the international level.

The Diplomatic Insight is a digital and print magazine focusing on diplomacy, defense, and development since 2009.

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