ISLAMABAD: Both Pakistan and Azerbaijan share several similarities in how they struggled for their independence. Moreover, the latter takes pride in its friendship with the former.
This was stated by Azerbaijan’s Ambassador Ali Raza Alizadeh while addressing a painting competition held at Preston University in Islamabad on Monday as it marked Black January — the day when Soviet troops stormed into Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku to quell its bid for independence. The paintings in the competition were also made on a similar theme.
Alizadeh said that when Russian forces entered Baku on January 20, 1990, hundreds of people, including pregnant women, were killed. The people of Nagorno-Karabakh strongly protested on the streets against the Soviet Union while troops from Armenia laid claim to the disputed territory. After a struggle, the envoy said that Azerbaijan became one of the few states which secured its independence from Soviet occupation.
He added that Azerbaijan was proud of its martyrs and that they celebrate the day each year to express solidarity with the slain soldiers of the nation.
Noting that Azerbaijan’s ties with Pakistan have strengthened over time, Alizadeh said that there were several similarities between Pakistan and Azerbaijan while their struggle for independence also saw a similar course.
Preston University’s Chancellor Dr Abdul Basit said that Pakistan has not established diplomatic relations with Armenia due to the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. He added that relations between Pakistan and Azerbaijan are permanent and will continue.
Dr Basit said that both countries share a closely-linked culture.
Earlier, a minute’s silence was observed to commemorate the martyrs of Azerbaijan’s freedom struggle.
Alizadeh also opened an exhibition of paintings created by students with the central theme of "January 20 - Bloody and Glorious Page of Azerbaijan's History". The exhibition had been organised by the Azerbaijan embassy and Preston University.
Starting from December 10, 2019, more than 25 paintings had been submitted by students for the contest. The paintings were reviewed by a specially-established commission and the winners of the contest were determined.
The paintings submitted by students and amateur artists representing several Pakistani universities covered themes such as: "From Martyrdom to Independence", "Martyrs are always alive and never forgotten", "Friendship between Azerbaijan and Pakistan is eternal", “Historical monuments and modern architecture of Azerbaijan", and "January 20: A great step forward towards the independence of Azerbaijan".
The winners and other participants of the competition were awarded by the ambassador. The exhibition will continue at the varsity for three days.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 21st, 2020.