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Friday, July 19, 2024  
12 Muharram 1446  

Pakistan, Azerbaijan agree to start Baku-Islamabad flights

PM Shehbaz requests Azerbaijan president to lend their experts in horticulture and waste management to Islamabad
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev at a joint press stakeout in Zugulba Palace at Baku, Azerbaijan on June 15, 2023. Photo via Twitter/@PTVNewsOfficial
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev at a joint press stakeout in Zugulba Palace at Baku, Azerbaijan on June 15, 2023. Photo via Twitter/@PTVNewsOfficial

Pakistan and Azerbaijan agreed on Thursday to enhance bilateral cooperation in the fields of energy, trade and aviation sectors to reflect the decades-old strong relationship between the two nations.

The bilateral relations were discussed at length in a meeting between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev here at Zugulba Palace.

The prime minister, accompanied by a high-level delegation, was on a two-day official visit to Baku at the invitation of President Aliyev.

At a joint press stakeout following their bilateral meeting, the two leaders told the media of agreeing to introduce flights of Azerbaijan airline between the two capitals, enhance a number of military exercises, besides exploring the avenues of cooperation in the areas of energy, investment, and education.

PM Shehbaz, who earlier visited the mausoleum of Azerbaijan’s First President Haider Aliyev and the martyrs’ monument, spoke high of President Ilham Aliyev’s leadership to build the city’s infrastructure and impressive horticulture.

He cited the pleasant surprises of the neatness and beauty of Baku. The prime minister requested the Azerbaijan president to lend their experts in horticulture and waste management to Islamabad.

He told reporters that during the discussion, there was a total “unanimity of views” on various bilateral and multilateral issues as the relationship was built on mutual trust and sincerity of purpose.

“Pakistani flags all across Baku manifested the love between the two people,” said PM Shehbaz, “though our ties are so strong for ages, these do not reflect its intensity through trade and investment, exchange of visits, and other important areas of cooperation.”

He stressed the need for cooperation in the energy sector. Being an energy-deficient country, the PM said that Pakistan depended upon costly imported fuels spending $27 billion last year which was becoming unaffordable owing to the challenges of imported inflation and oil price hike due to the Ukraine crisis.

The prime minister said that his government was committed to replacing the costly imported fuels with solar energy to support industries, exports, commerce, and offices.

He thanked the Azerbaijan president for abolishing duties on Pakistan’s rice to facilitate the export of the Pakistani commodity to the friendly country.

He said Pakistan welcomed the Azerbaijan airline to start its operations in Islamabad and invited the country’s aviation minister to Pakistan to work out Baku-Karachi flights with a view to promoting bilateral tourism.

The prime minister thanked Azerbaijan for being a “staunch supporter” of Kashmir and highlighted the Indian acts of terror and atrocities in the occupied region including the violations of UN resolutions.

He reiterated that Pakistan was committed to the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and appreciated the bravery of the country’s forces in fighting for Azerbaijan’s rights. “Pakistan did not recognise Armenia and always stood by Azerbaijan considering it a duty,” said the premier.

He highlighted the immense opportunities Gwadar Port offered and added that both countries could cooperate to enhance trade. He told the media that the Pakistan-Azerbaijan cooperation in defence was not a secret as it was meant for peace in the region, not any aggression.

The premier extended an invitation to President Ilham Aliyev to visit Pakistan, saying that he also looked forward to seeing the Azerbaijan delegations of economic, aviation, and energy ministers to discuss at length the cooperation in petroleum, and solar energy.

In his remarks, President Ilham Aliyev welcomed the prime minister and his delegation to Baku and said both countries had agreed to enhance cooperation in the fields of energy, defence, and education.

He said Azerbaijan hoped to host more Pakistani students and Azeri students studying in Pakistani universities contributing to strengthening the bilateral relations.

“The two sides have agreed to increase the number of military exercises as military capability is of utmost importance considering the changing circumstances,” the president said, “strong military capacity guaranteed independence and territorial integrity as Azerbaijan also liberated its Karabakh region from Armenian occupation through its military might, not dialogue.”

He said Pakistan and Azerbaijan always “stood shoulder to shoulder” as both the peoples shared the same views on a host of issues.

The Azerbaijan president appreciated the leadership of PM Shehbaz and “congratulated the people of Pakistan for having such a great leader” with vision and commitment to the country’s development.

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Shehbaz Sharif

Pakistan

Azerbaijan

Armenia

Karabakh

Ilham Aliyev

Zugulba Palace