Ambassador: Kashmir events - not a territorial issue, but a humanitarian problem - INTERVIEW
- 04 February 2020
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Pakistan to Azerbaijan Said Khan Mohmand’ interview to APA
– Very recently the Embassy issued a statement on what appeared in some local media that Pakistan intends to open an embassy in Armenia. What do you think about why this kind of information appears in media in spite of the clear position of your country?
–The whole report was entirely misleading. As far as we know it was totally meant to undermine very strong relations that exist between the two countries. It also creates some misunderstandings among the mind of the Azerbaijani people. I am sure they are people who do not look at the thing they do not like very close relations between two countries, two nations, and the leadership level. This was all misleading and trying to create misunderstanding in the mind of Azerbaijani people I want to make clear that we stand by what we have only through all these years supported Azerbaijan for the issue of Nagorno Karabakh the issue of non-recognition of Armenia we stand by it we have issued press release on this we should do it. But yes, there was somebody some people one or two individuals I would say who have this kind of I do not know from where they do get.
– What is expected in terms of expanding Azerbaijani-Pakistani military cooperation?
– We have developed excellent trade relations with Azerbaijan, and they are gradually deepening. Defense cooperation is an important component of our bilateral relations apart on we have very good relations in trade, commerce and these are all areas which we have grown up we have focused on them and they were growing in the last three and four years and apart from that, we have an energy cooperation agreement. So, yes military cooperation is an important part and indeed, dynamic one, we both are helping each other, actually, in military cooperation. We did supply Azerbaijan with Super Mashhad 20 aircraft for the training. I cannot say anything exactly, but Pakistan will continue to support Azerbaijan’s legitimate defense needs.
– You mentioned cooperation in the field of trade. Do you consider the current trade turnover and the number of mutual visits of tourists between our countries satisfactory?
– I can tell you for sure, there has been incremental growth in trade relations, in economic relations between two countries. We have seen a large number of Pakistanis who have opened businesses here they have investments here we also look for long term investment by Azerbaijani businessmen in Pakistan there are certain areas where their investment can take place. In the last 3-4 years, the number of people visiting, especially tourists and of course businessmen has tremendously grown. They grew from 3800 in 2016 to 460000 in last year. And according to statistics, it is 1.5 percent of Pakistani people. So, these are areas where we can both cooperate with tourism, agriculture, energy which is an important part in which Azerbaijan has tremendous experience and expertise in this field. And I hope this year we can go further and take it to the next level.
I definitely think Azerbaijani people want to visit Pakistan. Because tremendous goodwill exists between the two countries. As we see more and more tourists are coming here people will know more by interacting among themselves. They will know more about Pakistan from this not just for tourism but for business as well. And this will open up avenues for people to get to Pakistan. And as far as I know most of the people visiting Pakistan for business purposes but we hope in the passage of the time it will increase. I think most of the Azerbaijani tourists focused on visiting neighboring countries. But I meet people her they definitely love Pakistan they have high esteem and I think with the passage of time it will happen.
– On February 5, Pakistan marks Day of Solidarity with Kashmir. In the middle of last year, the Kashmir issue again became relevant in the world. How do you assess the position of international organizations in resolving this conflict?
– The organization of Islamic Corporation was meant to look into this kind of conflicts and their solutions. Muslims are suffering from these conflicts especially three conflicts all related to Muslims that they are suffering. Kashmir, the Palestine question and Nagorno Garabagh which should be addressed. I am happy to note Azerbaijan as a member of the OIC Committee on Jammu and Kashmir has lent full support towards Pakistan for self-determination of Kashmir and should be a referendum in this regard. So, not just OIC but other international organizations Human Rights Watch International Transparency in essence and in fact, the EU also supported Pakistan stands and EU Parliament spoke against what is happenings in Kashmir 8 million people state is a lockdown hospitals schools are closed people suffer in 6 months. So yes international organizations including OIC need to be more vocal in this regard, especially Islamic countries.
Two very challenges both countries are facing the issues of Nagorno Garabagh and for us the issue of Kashmir. You know what happened after the 5th of August. So, PM briefed on the human rights violations that took place in Kashmir, the lockdown there has been in 6 months. The way the government is being run in India, the Hindu government wants Hindu raj in that country, Muslims in this country are being excluded probably you have heard of national registration citizenship bill by which Hindu 1.5 bln people excluded. Now we have the citizenship amendment act since 12th December last year and the whole country is protesting against this bill which has discriminatory nature and amendment excludes Muslims of India and you know there are 200 0000000 Muslims in India and through this act, only the Muslims are being excluded from being a citizen of India. This act states that whoever entered India for 2014 they are from the three countries Bangladesh Pakistan and Afghanistan before 2014 they will be considered as citizens of India but this would only include non-Muslims which means Hindus Sighs Parsi Christian anybody who came to India before 2014 except Muslims. They would be given citizenship of India so these are some other facts that the two leaders discussed and I hope in the coming this year they have more meetings and discuss these issues which are very important to us. Whatever happenings in India is also destabilizing peace efforts in Afghanistan it has put the Afghan peace process back border is also causing incivility which is bad for peace in the whole region. Basically, as you know India has about 900 000 soldiers there in Kashmir. Still, human rights violations going on. It is no longer a territorial issue but the humanitarian issue, human rights issue. Global leader’s world organizations have taken a lot of that.
– In recent escalation in the region, Pakistan offered its role as mediator between Iran and the US and the Foreign Minister of Pakistan visited both Iran and the US. What can you say about the results of these visits? How does your country contribute to stability and peace in the region?
– Tensions between US Iran and Saudi Arabia are not good for the region which is already engaged tension because of India Pakistan and the situation in Afghanistan, we do not want any more crisis, actually. As part of efforts the Foreign minister to lessen the tension between two brotherly countries in the region Iran and Saudi Arabia which are Muslim countries. Not only the foreign minister but the PM has last year visited Iran and Saudi Arabia after he met Mr. Trump and try to cool tempers down. As part of our own efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region, I think Pakistan as always continue to play its role as a country in the region which has got very good relations with Iran Saudi Arabia and the US. Pakistan's role in this as not a mediator it is just a facilitator to bring the two countries together to talks.