By Nejat İsmayilov
As it is known, the Kashmir problem became main agenda again after the Indian Parliament’s decision on August 5, 2019, to abolish the high level autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir, contrary to international law and even to Indian law. Following the decision, the arrest of about 200 Muslim politicians living in Kashmir, blocking telephone and internet lines in Kashmir, increasing pressure on people living in the area, and deploying an additional 180,000 Indian troops into the region has turned Kashmir into an “open-air prison” and further aggravated the situation in the region.
Despite having hard times while facing Indian occupation in Kashmir, Pakistan has not overlooked the radical policy followed by Armenia in the Karabakh conflict and strongly condemned the actions of the Armenian leadership to destabilize the conflict.
In recent days, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi called for greater pressure from the world to liberate and end the occupation of Azerbaijani lands by Armenia at a group meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation within the sidelines of UN General Assembly.
He noted that Pakistan supports Azerbaijan and it will not be possible to establish peace unless aggressive forces like Armenia are severely condemned by the world’s major powers.
He also added that Nagorno-Karabakh is a kind of flame that has caused people to suffer for decades. Kashmir and Nagorno-Karabakh have faced similar situations. The Minister demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh.
As it is seen, Pakistan always supports Azerbaijan’s rightful position on the Nagorno-Karabakh problem even in the most difficult situations.
Pakistan is also the second country to recognize Azerbaijan’s independence.
Pakistan has almost no diplomatic relations with Armenia and does not even recognize Armenia as an independent state due to its (Pakistan) support for Azerbaijan.
At the same time, Pakistan has been supporting Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue for many years, defending its rightful position from all international tribunals.
But what is the position of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Kashmir issue?
In order to analyze Azerbaijan’s position on the Kashmir issue, it was necessary to study the views of government officials on this issue. That is why DND News Agency first contacted the Press Service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Press Secretary Leyla Abullayeva reminded that Azerbaijan’s position on the Kashmiri problem is clear and that it was expressed in a written statement dated 15 August and in the OIC summit in recent days.
“Azerbaijan supports the peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir conflict in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and this is Azerbaijan’s principal position. We support the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions, as well as the resolution of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the same body and we support all efforts aimed at ensuring peace, security and prosperity in the region.
Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, took part in the meeting of the Jammu and Kashmir Contact Group of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on September 25 in New York as the sidelines of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly.
Speaking at the meeting, Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said that Azerbaijan, as a responsible member of the international community, supports the peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir issue in accordance with the norms and principles of international law and the relevant UN resolutions, as well as with respect to international humanitarian law.
Let us analyze this position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Kashmir issue based on the above statement:
“We support the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions, as well as support the resolution of the Jammu Kashmir issue in accordance with the resolutions of the same organization.”
This statement from the Foreign Ministry is very important. Because here, Azerbaijan’s approach to Kashmir is expressed in general.
It is no coincidence that the statement addresses the problems of Nagorno-Karabakh and Kashmir at the same time. The Republic of Azerbaijan considers the problem of brotherly Pakistan and Pakistani people as its own problem and points out the two countries face similar problems and expresses their support.
Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov also expressed his official position on the Kashmiri issue in his remarks at the OIC summit in New York.
According to him, Azerbaijan supports the Jammu and Kashmir issue in accordance with the norms and principles of international law and relevant UN resolutions. But how do the relevant UN resolutions address the Kashmir issue?
These resolutions express the principle of the Kashmiri people’s self-determination through a referendum. It means that, the people living in Jammu and Kashmir must either determine their destiny by referendum, either gain independence or leave India or maintain their autonomy within India.
However, the Indian parliament’s decision on August 5 to abolish the province’s high autonomy is a direct violation of UN resolutions and a violation of international law. From this point of view, Azerbaijan supports not a violator of international law, but an advocate of international law, the right position of the brotherly Pakistani Republic.
In his speech at the meeting, the Azerbaijani minister touched upon another interesting issue, using the phrase “fully respect international humanitarian law.” This small statement can also be interpreted as a call to Indian leadership. Because in Kashmir, India is the party that does not respect international law. Azerbaijan calls on India to respect international law and pursue a political course that will lead to a peaceful solution to the problem.
In addition to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we appealed to the Parliament of Azerbaijan with the same question. What is Azerbaijan’s position on Kashmir?
Tahir Rzayev, a member of the working group on inter-parliamentary relations between Azerbaijan and Pakistan, while answering this question said that he was grateful to the Pakistani Foreign Minister, who defended Azerbaijan’s position in the OIC summit by name of members of the Azerbaijani parliament and all the people:
“Pakistan is the second country to recognize the independence of Azerbaijan, a brother republic. From the first years of our independence, we have observed Pakistan’s support. At that time, we tried and wanted to have a strong relationship between Azerbaijan and Pakistan. Pakistan was one of the leading countries in the Islamic world due to its population, military capabilities and the geopolitical situation.
During the time of the national leader Heydar Aliyev and President Ilham Aliyev, the relations between Azerbaijan and Pakistan were developing and the brotherhood of the two countries was strengthened. Political and military cooperation has intensified in recent years between Azerbaijan and Pakistan. Pakistani officials have always supported Azerbaijan’s right to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem, both in front of the international community and in Azerbaijan. It is very good that at the last OIC meeting, the right position of Azerbaijan was supported by Pakistan. Each of us was proud of Pakistan’s statements. Looking at Mr. Qureshi’s comments, I thought that this was not a Pakistani but a senior official of Azerbaijan talking about Karabakh. It is really very prideful. Therefore, we express our special gratitude to the leadership of Pakistan, including Mr. Imran Khan and Mr. Qureshi.
“The Azerbaijani government has always supported the brotherly Pakistani Republic in this regard. And today, as an Azerbaijani MP, I think that Pakistan is justified in the liberation of its lands, in the Kashmir issue, and that the whole international community together with Azerbaijan should support Pakistan. Residents in Kashmir and Karabakh are faced with similar aggression, massacres and occupations. Both Kashmir and part of Karabakh have been occupied. Therefore, Azerbaijan does not recognize this occupation and, as our Foreign Minister noted, we supports international law in both Karabakh and Kashmir. But unfortunately, the UN resolutions on Kashmir and Karabakh are not being implemented. The international community should not remain silent on the Kashmir and Karabakh problem. Because this silence can lead to the formation of new conflict centers,” Tahir Rzayev concluded his opinion.