BAKU: The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, while receiving the visiting Pakistan Parliamentary delegation, strongly supported Pakistan’s position on Kashmir and urged the need for strengthening OIC. The Pakistan delegation, headed by Senator Mushahid Hussain, Chairman, and Foreign Relations Committee of Senate had warm and productive meeting with the Azerbaijan President here in Baku. The President also thanked Pakistan for its support for Azerbaijan on the issue of Nagorno Karabakh with Armenia. Ilham Aliyev also extended full cooperation to Pakistan in the field of energy as Azerbaijan is a major exporter of oil and gas.
In response to an invitation from Senator Mushahid Hussain, the President, who is also head of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party, agreed to send a delegation to the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), which will be held in Islamabad on October 24-26, 2008. Senator Hussain also thanked the President for their help to victims of Pakistan’s earthquake in 2005 by building a school in Azad Kashmir, which has been donated by the Hyder Aliyev Foundation, headed by the first lady of Azerbaijan.
The delegation also met the Prime Minister of Azerbaijan, Artur Rasizade, who stated that bilateral economic ties should be strengthened and this would be done at the forthcoming meeting of the Joint Ministerial Commission in Baku in 2008. In the meeting with Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, Senator Mushahid Hussain provided a detailed briefing on Pakistan’s foreign policy with reference to Afghanistan and India. He stated that Pakistan was being blamed unfairly for mistakes made by the Western forces in Afghanistan, who are looking for a escape goat.
He stated that Pakistan was not responsible for growth of narcotics or bad governance or corruption or collapse of law and order in Afghanistan. These are problems which are being ignored because of the mistakes made by the Western forces by ignoring Afghanistan since they decided to invade Iraq. Senator Hussain urged the need to give a “healing touch” to Afghanistan and not alienate the Afghan population through indiscriminate use of force. He also referred to the burden of Afghan refugees that Pakistan was carrying on its own.
Gifts were also exchanged on the occasion. The delegation comprises Senator Mushahid Hussain, Chairman, Foreign Relations Committee, Senators Wasim Sajjad, Nisar Memon, Maulana Samiul Haq, Talha Mahmood, Latif Khan Khosa, Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, Naeem Hussain Chattha and Iftikhar Ullah Babar, Additional Secretary Senate as Secretary of the delegation.-SANA