Pakistan keen to join International North-South Transport Corridor - Pakistani Envoy | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

10 April, Friday


Pakistan keen to join International North-South Transport Corridor - Pakistani Envoy

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Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Azerbaijan Saeed Khan Mohmand and the Military Attache of the Embassy for Azerbaijan and Georgia Nadeem Yaqoob Chaudhry were the guest of honour at the headquarter of International Eurasia Press Fund. Being pleased from the long-time friendly relations between organisation and the Embassy, the envoy expressed his deepest gratitude to the head of organisation as well as the Eurasia Diary’s editorial for holding close cooperation with them. 

Ambassador and the Head of IEPF discussed furthering this cooperation as well as touching on role of unbiased media in spread of truth in the world. During the meeting, the Ambassador and IEPF president spoke of many issues, including Kashmir and Garabagh problems. 

In his exclusive interview to Eurasia Diary, the Ambassador Saeed Khan Mohmand also answered several questions related to the roles of both countries in development of economies, trades, tourisms and militaries of each other.       

2019 has been a year full of tensions for the Kashmir issue. Both February’s clashes and the abolition of August’s autonomy by India further increased the risk of conflict in Kashmir and the region. What specific and practical steps are you planning to take to address the official Islamabad problem in 2020? 

As you correctly mentioned, the 2019 was a year of full of tensions, especially between Pakistan and India. Despite we have many times called them to come for peace talks either at the ministerial or presidential levels, India always denied to meet us for negotiations, particularly on the issue of Kashmir thinking they are constitutionally right, which is the part of their Indian Union. Of course, as a peace loving country we know all conflicts and issues can only be solved on a good negotiation table. Concerning the Kashmir conflict, we never changed our stance, in which we always advocated and professed the fact that the issue of Kashmir should be solved in accordance to the 11th resolution of the Security Council, and this is precisely the structure of our position on establishing peace and security not only in the region but also globally. We keep searching ways for solution by also asking the international communities, International Human Rights Organisations to visit Kashmir and become witness to the situation. I will unfortunately add that it is so far impossible for them to go to Indian part of Kashmir where is strictly blockaded for even politicians of whom they are afraid to uncover truth about the Indian claims over Kashmir issue. However, we are still hopeful by continuing to address this issue to International Community, the civilised community and civil societies as we believe this issue may have serious consequence not only in the region but also beyond our territories. 

Dear Ambassador, I would like to remind you the recent meeting of Prime Minister of Pakistan H.E. Imran Khan and President of Azerbaijan H.E Ilham Aliyev in Davos. How do you see the relations developing between both countries after the meeting of political leadership?      

Obviously, relations between Pakistan and Azerbaijan at the level of leadership have been very cordial, brotherly and friendly. Let me tell one particular thing, which our President mentioned at the meeting that apart from the visits of two prime ministers it was the 5th president of Pakistan to have visited Azerbaijan. So, it was seven visits of top leaders of Pakistan who visited Azerbaijan in the past 29 years since independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan. 

In general, the Davos meeting was very useful for the countries which brought us together to exchange our views and find solution for peace not for only conflict in Kashmir but also in Afghanistan. During the meeting, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Ilham Aliyev also discussed the conflicts of Kashmir and Upper Garabagh thinking prospects for peaceful solution of the issues as well as touching some other global problems. Moreover, it is expected this year the two leaders to plan mutual visits to countries of each other for further developing the relations between two countries.    

From 2016 to the present, military cooperation between Pakistan and Azerbaijan is developing and expanding. What will be the main priorities for military cooperation in 2020? 

Pakistan would always like to develop relations with Azerbaijan in diverse fields. Of course, military is one of them though which we want to address all legitimate concerns and requirement of Azerbaijan.  As you know, at the very start of this year, on the 16th of January the representatives of Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry had visited Pakistan. The scope of ongoing talks covered the main requirements in Azerbaijan’s defence system. Pakistan cares about Azerbaijan’s needs and in the passage of time aim to continuously support Azerbaijan’s armed forces with all necessary military ammunitions. 

I would like to add one more thing that Pakistan and Azerbaijan are not the warmonger countries, and especially Pakistan develops its military power for legitimate defence needs but not offence needs. We are peaceful countries and support peace in every issue though we try to advance our military for only protection of our country as well as ensuring safety and stability. 

We have always been fully supported by Pakistan in many issues, including Garabagh conflict, whether during the April battles or during the August events, or at the other times. However, is official Islamabad satisfied with Baku’s position towards Kashmir conflict? Do you consider Baku is able to support its ally in all these matters? 

Azerbaijan is an important member of the OEC contact group on Kashmir along with other four countries. It is significant to note that Azerbaijan has always come up with the press releases on that issue whenever that was required in the context of OEC. 

In many disputes, you always need a global community to come forward and Azerbaijan has been a vocal for voicing in favour of Pakistan speaking against the prejudice. Therefore we appreciated Azerbaijan’s stance on the issue of Kashmir. 

Why Pakistan is not in the International North-South Transport Corridor despite the fact that Azerbaijan has stressed Pakistan’s importance for this project since 2005? Turkey and Iran are also making diplomatic efforts to include Pakistan in the project, noting that “Gwadar” is essential for the sustainability of the project. Is Pakistan interested in joining this project?  

Pakistan is very keen to join the project as we have been making many efforts for this. However, it is not up to us to be in the project alone, but it is also up to Iran, Russia and Azerbaijan to initiate. On the other hand, the problems of countries, such as sanctions on Iran and tensions in its international relations cause delay in fast development of project. Given this all, we do not know how far it would go until we finish the project, but we are still interested to participate in the project and also want Jawhar to join the project as well, which will be very beneficial for all countries. 

Besides, at the meetings with Azerbaijani authority, I mentioned the Gwadar port, which is capable of handling 3 to 400 mln tons of cargo. It means for Azerbaijan and Russia to have another potential of transport corridor for their goods to go through this way right up to China in just a couple of days.    

Pakistan and Azerbaijan are developing economies and can benefit from each other in different fields. Although there has been improvement in trade in the last 3 year, but what all steps you will suggest enhancing our economic relations to the new heights. 

As is known, Azerbaijan has a lot of expertise and experience in the energy field and in this regard, Pakistan is open for investment in this field too. The good news is that there are already talks going on the establishment of LNG terminals by SOCAR. 

Alternatively, Pakistan has much industrialised zone and offers another option for Azerbaijanis to come and talk at the government level for investment in Pakistan’s economic areas, especially the corridor near to border of China. 

I would like to add that Pakistan is ready to develop relations in education, tourism, pharmacy trade and in many other fields of business with Azerbaijan.     

Let me inform that this morning I had another meeting with the Deputy Foreign Minister Ramiz Hasanov to discuss many beneficial projects, including establishing air link that might provide cheaper cargo and travel for people visiting each other from Pakistan and Azerbaijan. 

In addition, Pakistan very often hold many exhibitions in Azerbaijan. Last year we had three exhibitions here on products of Pakistan. Also in March, we had a triangular exhibition including Turkey, Azerbaijan and Pakistan, after which we had also another one held by the pharmaceutical federation of Pakistan in November. 

Pakistan is a staunch partner of Azerbaijan and we work on many projects for the sustainable development of economic relations with this country.

Interviewed by Elnur Enveroglu 
Editor-in-Chief of Eurasia Diary
 

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