Azerbaijan-Pakistan relations touching new horizons


Shahzada  Madatova

Azerbaijan, a leading country in the South Caucasus region, recognized as a reliable partner in the modern system of international relations, pursues a pragmatic, multi-vector foreign policy based on national interests. As a reasoned and obligate consequence of it, mutually beneficial bilateral and multilateral relations of our country are successfully developing, the number of our friends and partners is growing, the possibilities of our Republic to influence on world politics are expanding.

The environment of mutual trust as a strategic factor in the development of bilateral and multilateral relations

Undoubtedly, today it is a clear reality that Azerbaijan has become a strong actor in the global background, has been recognized as a worthy and independent state with the same weight of words and signatures, as well as making fundamental contributions to strengthening cooperation between countries and eliminating security threats. Among other factors, the close cooperation of our Republic with influential international organizations and the deepening of strategic alliance with individual countries play an important role in Azerbaijan’s rise to such a high peak in the short history of independence. We can say that our Republic has always shown the same sincerity to its friendly allies as it demonstrates strategic sincerity in an atmosphere of mutual trust, and feels their moral and political support behind it.In this regard, the strategic alliance between Azerbaijan and Pakistan, formed and tested over the years, is particularly noteworthy.

An active political dialogue gives a powerful impetus to the development of large-scale cooperation

By dealing with the Azerbaijani-Pakistani relations at the level of a strategic alliance, we can emphasize the ongoing development of an active political dialogue between the two countries. In general, the historical chronicle and the dynamics of the development of relations give grounds to make positive predictions about the prospects for Pakistani-Azerbaijani friendship and strategic partnership.

It should be noted that friendly Pakistan is one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Azerbaijan. This country recognized the independence of our Republic on December 12, 1991. Mutual visits play an exceptional role in strengthening the allied relations between the two friendly countries. By now, the President of Azerbaijan has visited Pakistan, and the head of friendly country has also visited several times. During these visits, the two countries signed a number of important documents that provide a solid legal basis for deepening cooperation in various fields. In general, the number of documents signed between the two countries has reached 35. Among these documents, a special place is occupied by the Declaration on Strategic Partnership. In general, the political will of the Presidents of the two countries gives a powerful impetus to the development of multilateral cooperation between Azerbaijan and Pakistan. The close cooperation within international platforms also reflects the high level of political relations between the two countries. Pakistan and Azerbaijan always coordinate their activities in international organizations, support each other in every possible way and speak with one voice. An obvious example for this is cooperation within the framework of the Non-Aligned Movement, which unites 120 states. On October 26, 2019, within the framework of the summit of Non-Aligned Movement in Baku, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan IlhamAliyev met with the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan ArifAlvi. According to the meeting, friendly Pakistan supported Azerbaijan’s candidacy for the chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement. It should be noted that at present Azerbaijan is successfully presiding the organization. President of the Republic of Azerbaijan IlhamAliyev also met with Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Imran Khan on January 21, 2020 in Davos. The issues of bilateral cooperation between Azerbaijan and Pakistan were discussed at the meeting. All these suggests that the political dialogue between Azerbaijan and Pakistan is quite intensive.

Political relations between Azerbaijan and Pakistan continue at the level of foreign ministries, other establishments, as well as parliaments. In order to develop bilateral inter-parliamentary relations, a working group on inter-parliamentary relations between Azerbaijan and Pakistan and a friendship group on inter-parliamentary relations between Pakistan and Azerbaijan have been established. In September 2018, the Chairman of the Senate of Pakistan visited Azerbaijan to participate in events dedicated to the 100th anniversary of our country’s independence. Also in September of this year, a meeting was held in the format of a video conference between the Speaker of the MilliMejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Chairman of the Senate of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.One of the main targets of Azerbaijani-Pakistani relations is to bring our peoples closer to moral and religious identity. In particular, the humanitarian sphere occupies a special place in the Azerbaijani-Pakistani relations. The tradition of history continues today. In particular, the Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev Foundation makes a significant contribution to deepening humanitarian relations with Pakistan.

The Heydar Aliyev Foundation, headed by the First Vice-President of the Republic of Azerbaijan MehribankhanimAliyeva, held a number of humanitarian actions in the areas of Pakistan affected by the earthquake. It should be noted that the President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation MehribankhanimAliyeva was awarded the highest award of the country, the Order of “Hilal-i Pakistan” for her significant contribution to strengthening relations between our Republic and Pakistan, as well as deepening humanitarian cooperation.

There are good prospects for economic cooperation between the two countries

Judging by the high level of political dialogue between the two friendly countries, there are broad prospects for economic cooperation.It should be noted that the sessions of the Azerbaijan-Pakistan Joint Intergovernmental Commission, established in accordance with the protocol signed in 1995, are held regularly. An export mission was sent from Azerbaijan to Pakistan in 2017. Joint working groups on trade and agriculture have been established in Azerbaijan and Pakistan.

It is gratifying that the trade turnover between our countries is increasing. Both sides demonstrate strong political will to increase mutual investment activity. Both Pakistan and Azerbaijan provide reliable guarantees to protect investors’ investments. In both countries there is ample opportunity to increase investment activity. Azerbaijan offered to create an oil refinery in Gwadar. There are also opportunities for cooperation in the field of agriculture. At the same time, there are good prospects for tourism.By the way, at the meeting between the President of Azerbaijan and the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Davos, the opportunities for cooperation in the field of tourism were also discussed. Noting that tourism in Azerbaijan is developing rapidly, especially the number of visitors from Muslim countries, Imran Khan said that they intend to use the experience of our country in this area. Since January 2017, Azerbaijan has included Pakistan in the list of countries covered by the simplified visa procedure – the online visa system. As a result, there is a high upward trend in the number of Pakistanis visiting Azerbaijan. If in 2016 only 3,800 Pakistanis visited Azerbaijan, then in 2019 this figure reached 46,000. Business forums held both in Pakistan and Azerbaijan are of great importance for expanding economic cooperation between the two countries. The next Azerbaijani-Pakistani business forum was held in Baku in September last year. Along with officials from both sides, the issues of energy, industry, agriculture, construction, trade, pharmaceuticals, tourism, etc. were discussed at the event. About 150 entrepreneurs working in the field of production took part in it. The event featured extensive presentations on the investment attractiveness of both countries.

Azerbaijan and Pakistan are resolutely fighting terrorism and Islamophobia

In recent years, new challenges related to terrorism, separatism and Islamophobia have become increasingly important on a global scale. At the end of the twentieth century and at the beginning of the new century, it is a matter of serious concern that humanity, or part of it, has reached a high level of development and achieved significant success due to the harmony of different civilizations. National, religious and racial intolerance has become a global problem that threatens individual countries, states and the world as a whole. Today Islamophobia and the “new crusade” occupy a special place in the strategic line of some hegemonic forces that propagandize reactionary views, exaggerate neo-Nazi tendencies and try to transfer the philosophy of “clash of civilizations” into the system of international relations. The chaos and anarchy generated by hybrid and asymmetric wars in many regions are not only an obvious reality, but also pave the way for new humanitarian disasters. In particular, countries with centuries-old traditions of statehood located in Islamic geography have become the real target. In short, Islamophobia now haunts the selected countries like a nightmare and threatens them with various threats. Azerbaijan and Pakistan, two brotherly countries, are also experiencing the consequences of terrorism and Islamophobia. Pakistan has long suffered from the Kashmir problem. Terrorist crimes are committed from time to time in a friendly country. As for Azerbaijan, at the beginning of the 1990s, Armenia occupied 20 percent of our territory. Azerbaijanophobia and turkophobia are a red line in the state policy of the occupying country. Thanks to the support of its protectors – various imperialist and Islamophobic centers associated with the Armenian lobby in the world and based on double standards – this country managed to occupy the territories of Azerbaijan for a long time. However, in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Azerbaijan resisted the occupying Armenia, imperialist centers and Islamophobic forces and forced the enemy to sign the act of surrender in the 44-day war, won a complete victory, restored historical justice and territorial integrity.

Both countries make fundamental contributions to the dialogue among civilizations

Despite the current growth of Islamophobia in the world, Azerbaijan and Pakistan make a fundamental contribution to the dialogue of civilizations, cultures and religions. Pakistan attaches great importance to the spread of the high values of Islam in the world and will use every opportunity for this. The country has unequivocally expressed its position on Islamophobia and terrorism in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Non-Aligned Movement and on other platforms. Pakistan also supported the initiative to create a joint TV channel to combat Islamophobia.Azerbaijan is attracting world attention as a center of multiculturalism and an example of tolerance. In our country, the representatives of different nations, people of different religions, communities and groups live in peace, friendly coexistence and tranquility. At the same time, a number of initiatives have been launched in our country aimed at strengthening of Islamic solidarity in the world. In our country, the Games of Islamic Solidarity were held with great success, in which about 50 countries took part. There is no place for any racist tendencies in Azerbaijan, it is a civilized secular state. Azerbaijan, which has great respect for its historical, national and religious values, also contributes to the expansion of dialogue between civilizations. The strategic alliance of Turkey, Pakistan and Azerbaijan is leading to the formation of a new leading center of power in Eurasia, and in recent years, the world has been characterized by the emergence of new centers of power. These centers of power differ from each other in the goals they set and the activities they carry out. The aforementioned imperialist Islamophobic centers are trying to maintain their existence and carry out new expansions at the expense of more negative geopolitical factors.

The alliance of Turkey, Pakistan and Azerbaijan serves the interests of all three countries, as well as all of humanity. In general, the multilateral cooperation of the three countries, which has strengthened in recent years, is leading to the formation of a new leading center of power in Eurasia.It is gratifying that the new center of power, formed by Turkey, Pakistan and Azerbaijan in Eurasia, is far from the intention to use pressure and threat mechanisms is competitive, serves the development and expansion of mutually beneficial cooperation, as well as regional and global progress. We have already talked about the expansion of political and economic relations between Azerbaijan and Pakistan. The relations of our Republic with fraternal Turkey are also quite high.At the moment, Azerbaijan has invested $ 18 billion in the Turkish economy, and Turkey – $ 12.5 billion in the Azerbaijani economy. At the same time, the framework of political and economic cooperation between brotherly Turkey and Pakistan is expanding. Two friendly countries that have high-level political ties support each other, holding a similar position in international organizations. Cooperation between Turkey and Pakistan in the field of the defense industry deserves special attention. According to international rating agencies, Turkey and Pakistan are among the top ten countries in the world both in terms of the types of troops and the capabilities of the Armed Forces as a whole. Both countries successfully continue their activities in the field of mutual supply of products, research and development of new technologies within the framework of military cooperation. Two friendly countries are conducting coordinated activities in various areas of the defense industry.

Thus, the growing economic and military potential, human resources and, of course, the political will of all three countries reveal the reality of the formation of a new center of power in Eurasia, which is receiving more and more attention.

Azerbaijan values Pakistan’s political and moral support

“Mutual support reflects the fraternal nature of Azerbaijani-Pakistani cooperation.” This opinion was expressed by the President of Azerbaijan IlhamAliyev on September 29 this year, accepting the credentials of the newly appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Azerbaijan Bilal Haya. Undoubtedly, mutual trust and strong support are political and moral factors that strengthen the foundations of relations between the two countries.

In particular, this trend is reflected in fundamental national problems for both countries. Azerbaijan supports friendly Pakistan in the Kashmir issue. At the same time, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has always supported the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the internationally recognized borders of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the relevant UN and ECO resolutions.The Islamic Republic of Pakistan did not officially recognize the occupying Armenia and did not establish diplomatic relations with this country.

Pakistan has also always supported Azerbaijan in the 44-day Patriotic War, which lasted from September 27 to November 10 and ended with the complete surrender of Armenia. Undoubtedly, the Patriotic War was the moment of truth for our state and people. This period once again shed light on many realities. One of the most important points is that brotherly Turkey and Pakistan strongly supported Azerbaijan in counter-offensive operations to liberate our lands from occupation. This support was not of a military nature, as claimed by the leaders of the occupying state and their supporters.It was purely political and moral support. Feeling that its real friends are behind him, Azerbaijan’s self-confidence increased, and it resolutely continued its just struggle for its territorial integrity. Undoubtedly, the Azerbaijani people are grateful to the friendly, fraternal and strategic partner country Turkey and Pakistan for this decisive position and moral and political support.

The moral  bridge should be further strengthened by passing on common values to the younger generation on the background of historical, political and cultural ties

Consequently, the relations between Azerbaijan and Pakistan are of strategic importance as well as exemplary.Of course, the issue of transmitting and inculcating the common values formed on the background of friendly and fraternal relations based on sincere and mutual trust, as well as the tradition of active dialogue to the younger generation is of particular relevance and importance. At this stage, it is very important to encourage and support close contacts, exchange of views and experiences between the youth of both countries by the relevant agencies of both Azerbaijan and Pakistan.

Pakistan’s unequivocal support for the just and rightful struggle of our country during the 44-day war was met with special gratitude by representatives of all segments of Azerbaijani society, as well as young people who are an active part of society. Proudly demonstrating their joy over the successive victories of the Azerbaijani Army, our young people proudly waved the tricolor flag, as well as the flags of Turkey and Pakistan, which symbolize national sovereignty. It was both a symbol of moral unity and solidarity and a celebration of brotherhood. Undoubtedly, appropriate steps must be taken for the close integration of young people in the coming period, and the spiritual bridge must be further strengthened by transmitting common values to the younger generation against the background of historical, political and cultural ties.

The writer is a youth activist