Ali Alizada A Distinguished Diplomat

Pakistan and Azerbaijan are two brotherly nations and have always shared close relationship which is characterized by the same culture, history, similar perception of global as well as regional issues and also have cooperated at different international platforms. The deep-rooted history has made both states share a cordial relationship. In October 1991, Azerbaijan got independence from the Soviet Union and Pakistan was among the counties that recognized it. The diplomatic ties between the two states began in a year after independence. In March 1993, Pakistan’s embassy in Baku was opened and the later reciprocated in the same manner in August 1997. In 2017, both states celebrated the Silver Jubilee of their diplomatic ties. The range of their cooperation is vast and it includes different spheres like  economic, military, security, political and cultural sphere. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee of Pakistan recognized the ‘Khojaly Tragedy of 1992’ as genocide in 2012 and it was a Pakistan’s gesture to extend its assistance to Azerbaijan. The later didn’t hold it back to show its support for Pakistan as it is a member of an OIC Contact Group on Kashmir and it has supported Pakistan’s stance on the Kashmir conflict. Pakistan also appreciated the formation of OIC Contact Group on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh. Both states have also coordinated on their work and role in the OIC and also on other global platforms to address their issues and mutual interests. Both have also supported each other in any campaign on global platforms. There have been exchanges at a higher level and later it became a constant feature between the two states. Former PM Shaukat Aziz visited Baku in May 2005 to attend the 9th session of ECO. Later in October 2012, President Asif Ali Zardari attended the 12th ECO summit in Baku. The visit by the former President Mamnoon Hussain to Azerbaijan in March 2015 opened a new chapter of bilateral cooperation for the two states.

Since the establishment of their diplomatic ties, it was for the first time that a Joint Declaration on  strategic Partnership was signed among the two nations. Also, both countries agreed for joint ventures in different spheres but defence, energy, infrastructure, agriculture, Information technology, textile and medicine remained dominant. Pakistan also offered 50 scholarships in the field of IT to the students of Azerbaijan. This speaks volumes about the cordial bond which exists between the two states.

There has been an upward trajectory in the defence cooperation and the high-level exchanges between the two militaries are proof of that. The cooperation also aims to avail professional military courses. Pakistan Army had been training much Azeri defence personnel and there is a great potential for both states to initiate joint ventures and exercises in this domain. The last year visit by President Alvi has even brought the two states closer where he mentioned in an interview that this bilateral relationship has utmost significance for Pakistan. He also acknowledged the efforts by the government of Azerbaijan for showing support on the Kashmir conflict. Armenia was not recognized by Pakistan because of its cordial relationship with Azerbaijan. Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s speech at the OIC contact group in September 2019 revolved around putting pressure on Armenia for the liberation of areas under siege and they should halt the aggression against Azerbaijan.

Pakistan has also backed Armenia for the removal of Armenian forces from Nagorno-Karabakh for the liberation of the land of Azerbaijan. Pakistan has always got support from Azerbaijan on its territorial conflict with India. The support is significant because of Azer-baijan’s membership in the OIC contact group on Kashmir. This is another major reason for Pakistan to not establish and develop any diplomatic ties with Armenia as it will unbalance the relationship former shares with Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan’s Ambassador in Pakistan, Ali Alazada, has proved many times that he considers Pakistan to be his second home. His statements are evidence that this nation is his family and what else one wants. Ali Alazada has been serving as the Ambassador of Azerbaijan to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan since 2016.

Ali Alizada was born in Nakhchivan city, the Republic of Azerbaijan in 1978. He got his Bachelor’s degree in Faculty of Translation from Azerbaijan State University of Languages in 1988 and got his Masters degree in the Faculty of State and Municipal Administration from the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2008. He has served as a Leading consultant on protocol affairs in the consular section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, a leading consultant on protocol affairs, an acting chief consultant on consular and legal affairs, and acting chief consultant on visa-passport affairs in the same department from 2002 to 2005. His Excellency has also served as an acting Head of Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2005 and later became the Head of Department till 2010. Furthermore, Ali Alizada has also served as a Consul General of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the city of Tabriz of the Islamic Republic of Iran till 2016 and then he got posted in Islamabad, Pakistan. The Ambassador has also been honoured with some awards as Jubilee Medal of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2009, Honorary Employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2014, The Order “For Merit to the Homeland” of the 3rd degree of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Jubilee Medal of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2019. This shows how qualified and experienced his Excellency is. The ambassador has been working with extreme dedication and compassion which is the depiction of his love with the work and also with both states.

Ali Alizada is closely bounded with the state of affairs of Pakistan and he has made his name among the natives because of his graciousness and polite nature. He has been showing his acquaintance to the state by supporting Pakistan’s narrative time and again on different platforms. He has been keen on raising the economic activity between the two states. A meeting which was attended by President Alvi, and the President of the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Maqsood Anwar Pervaiz and Ali Alizada where the later mentioned that the industrial community in Azerbaijan is keen to invest in different sectors in Pakistan. He mentioned that there should be an exchange of delegations for business and also to increase the opportunities for cooperation among the two states. He has been making relentless efforts to strengthen the economic and cultural ties with the trade between the exchanging states.

When the CPEC will become operational, it will help in growing the regional connectivity and also assist the two countries in cooperation in different sectors like software development, IT, tourism and  griculture for generating revenues. Recently, Pakistan has strengthened its strategic partnership with Turkey and Azerbaijan. The nexus of this strategic partnership is believed to have a strong impact on the resolution of the Karabakh conflict.

As far as the cooperation in the defence sector is concerned, both states have signed a defence  agreement in May 2003 which ultimately made Azerbaijan become a part of multinational exercise AMAN-2013 which was conducted by Pakistan. Also, the representatives of armed forces from both sides met for the discussion of bilateral military cooperation in October 2018. The last year’s visit by the Defense Minister of Azerbaijan Colonel General Zakir Hasanov visited Pakistan and the main aim was to extend the cooperation between the two countries in different sectors including military-technical, educational and many others. This Central Asian state has also shown interest in buying the JF-17 fighter jets from Pakistan and already has the possession of SU-25, MiG-21, MiG29 and 10 Super Mushak training aircraft.

In the recent developments, Pakistan reaffirmed its support to Azerbaijan on its ongoing territorial clash with Armenia. Pakistan is also a part of the territorial conflict with India since 1947 and the latest developments in the region have made Kashmir a nuclear flashpoint of South Asia. The parties involved in the conflict are the nuclear powers of the region which makes them more reluctant to go into a full-fledged war on Kashmir. Pakistan played its part by prioritizing and stepping up a campaign to highlight the matter on the global platforms and to make the world condemn Indian policies. The worldwide media coverage of the Indian atrocities in Kashmir internationalized the conflict. In these hard times, Pakistan needed its friends to publicly support their campaign on the Kashmir conflict. In this context, Azerbaijan always stood strong to strengthen Pakistan’s stance on Indian Occupied Kashmir. As the President of Azerbaijan after his meeting with the PM of Pakistan said that both states stand side by side on not only Kashmir but on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. The Ambassador Ali Alizada condemned the Indian activities in Kashmir and said that his country supports Pakistan’s position on Kashmir. This support is going to strengthen and expand the avenues of cooperation for both states.

Azerbaijan is quickly becoming a good tourism state and a delight for Pakistan. Pakistan has also given a ‘free entry status’ to Azerbaijan and all this happened by the efforts of His Excellency. The two states share the same culture and history and if the tourism escalates among the two then the rich heritage will be of great interest for the tourists. To bolster tourism, the important measures like infrastructure development, good tourism services, promotion and presentation are of much significance. The opening of direct flights is crucial and working on this area is quite hard. As of future, it seems like that this 27-year-old diplomatic bond is going to flourish in the upcoming years.

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