ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to Pakistan Ali Alizada has reiterated his country’s keenness to further strengthen military ties with Pakistan, hoping that robust security cooperation with Islamabad helps it deal with its territorial dispute issues more efficiently.
The ambassador was of the view that two countries are suffering from terrorism and extremism, and their bilateral cooperation may reciprocate each other’s support to a large extent.
In an exclusive interview with the Chief Editor Dispatch News Desk (DND) news agency Agha Iqrar Haroon here in Islamabad, Ali Alizada said that military to military relationship between Pakistan and Azerbaijan is of importance since both the countries have long been dealing with issues of same nature.
The ambassador said that if Pakistan has fought a tortuous war against terrorism and rendered matchless sacrifices, Azerbaijan has also had to suffer atrocities and brutalities from the Arminian side.
It is worth mentioning that Azerbaijan and Armenia have been archrivals for decades over the illegal occupation of historical Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven other adjacent regions by Armenia.
“Our 20 percent of territory is occupied by the aggressive country of Armenia. Unfortunately, we have one million refugees and IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) in our Country,” Ali Alizada said.
Azerbaijan Ambassador stated that his country faced heart-wrenching massacres and genocides from Armenia, and on February 26, they are going to commemorate victims of the Khojaly genocide on its twenty seventh anniversary. Ali Alizada said that under these circumstance, the two countries may make full use of their expertise to help each other.
“Military cooperation between Azerbaijan and Pakistan is very important. We are keen to further strengthen these military relations,” the ambassador said.
When asked about the status of bilateral trade between Azerbaijan and Pakistan, the ambassador said that their bilateral trade has gradually been growing. But, he added, in the last year, the trade volume witnessed a surge around 25 percent.
Ali Alizada said that the two countries have enough potential to take their bilateral trade to new heights. Therefore, he added that, there exist a number of opportunities and possibilities that Pak-Azerbaijan bilateral trade gets a further boost in the future.
Further commenting of bilateral trade, the ambassador said that the two countries can kick off energy cooperation, and added that Azerbaijan has already offered Pakistan the supply of oil and oil products.
Azerbaijan Ambassador said that apart from the energy field, the two countries have also deliberated upon to work together in other sectors including agriculture. He said that Pakistan can import agricultural products from Azerbaijan, and likewise, Pakistan can export its agricultural products such as rice, fruits, sports goods and surgical instruments to Azerbaijan.
The envoy said that Pakistan and Azerbaijan can explore each other’s markets to supply their respective products. He said that if tangible initiatives are taken in this regard, Pak-Azerbaijan bilateral trade volume will take no time to grow more.
In response to a question that how can we enhance people to people contacts between Pakistan and Azerbaijan, Ali Alizada said that we have increased the number of visitors from Pakistan as in 2017, the number of visitors from both the countries to each other was around 4,000 and now by end of last year, it has increased to more than 41,000.
The ambassador that a large number of tourists from Pakistan are flocking to Azerbaijan’s popular cities such as Baku, Ganja, Nakhchivan, Quba and Qabala to enjoy the natural beauties.
“Now more people from Azerbaijan are also visiting Pakistan, which make us happy,” he said.
Ali Alizada was of the view that the two countries can also increase the people to people contacts through the cultural, science and education exchange programmes.
“We can expand our cultural programs in the two countries,” he said.
The envoy said that last year, we arranged a lot of events in Pakistan such as celebration of 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR). He said that they also arranged cultural evenings in Lahore and Islamabad, and organized events to mark Azerbaijan National Day Celebrations, Armed Forces Day.
Moreover, he said that they can also organize official events, and telecast cultural programs and movies on TV screens, depicting the rich heritage of their respective history, places, tourism, and social values.
The ambassador said that at the moment, a lot of Pakistanis students are studying in Azerbaijan, and they are endeavoring to attract more Azerbaijani students to study in Pakistan.
“We can provide more scholarship programs to each other,” Ali Alizada remarked, adding that the education exchange between scholars and professors of different research Universities of both the countries can help bring them further closer.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijan Ambassador Ali Alizada expressed gratitude to DND news agency for its interest for the promotion of Pakistan-Azerbaijan bilateral relations.
“We are grateful to DND for its effort to promote bilateral ties,” the ambassador said.