By Arshad Mehmood
Contributing journalist | The Media Line USA, an independent news agency
Decemebr 26, 2020
The following is a recap of commentary during the Caucasus Exchange network event, presented by Timberwolf-Phoenix LLC Media at 12pm New York City time on December 26.
Pakistan and Azerbaijan have a very unique political relationship that has surpassed territorial boundaries and geographical distance.
Pakistan and Azerbaijan have diplomatic and cordial relations since Azerbaijan‟s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Pakistan was the second country to recognize Azerbaijan and has not established diplomatic relations with Armenia.
The relationship between the two countries has covered economic, defense, political and diplomatic cooperation since Azerbaijan‟s independence.
Kashmir and Karabakh disputes have been the defining reasons due to which both countries have developed and continue to maintain large defense sectors to have a sufficient response to the security concerns that these issues bring with them.
Pakistan and Azerbaijan have supported each other diplomatically on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Kashmir dispute at all international forums including UNO.
Both countries share the commonality of history, politics, and religion as well.
In 2019, the president of Pakistan Arif Alvi visited Baku which brought the two countries even closer. On October 28, 2019, President Arif Alvi gave an interview to Azerbaijani media in Baku in which he reiterated that “The bilateral relationship between Azerbaijan and Pakistan has great importance for Pakistan.” He strongly appreciated “the support of the Azerbaijan government and people on Jammu and Kashmir’s cause.”
Pakistan is also the only country that did not recognize Armenia because of Pakistan-Azerbaijan deep relations.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi Pakistan FM, while speaking at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) contact group meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 23, 2019, said that “the world must put pressure on Armenia to liberate Azerbaijani areas and stop aggression against the Azerbaijani nation.”
Pakistan also demanded the immediate withdrawal of Armenian forces from Karabakh.
Azerbaijan also supports Pakistan on the Jammu and Kashmir issue and is also a member of the OIC Contact Group on Kashmir. That is why Despite some back door efforts, Pakistan always refrained from establishing diplomatic relations with Armenia, because Islamabad knows very well that the move would create a great problem in the relationship between both countries.
Recently, after the 10th edition of the Economic Cooperation Organization’s (ECO) Transport and Communications Ministers Meeting in Istanbul. Turkey’s Transport Minister, Adil Karaismailoğlu, said that the railways of Pakistan, Turkey, and Iran have mutually agreed to resume regular operations soon.
He further added that the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) freight train is expected to resume operations in early 2021 to boost Pakistan’s trade with Turkey and Iran.
After this developing announcement, the ambassador of Azerbaijan in Islamabad, H.E Ali Alizada tweeted that “Islamabad-Tehran- Istanbul train to launch in 2021. A very promising project which can also be considered by the relevant authorities for further connection to Azerbaijan in future.”