Pundit hails huge potential of Azerbaijan-Türkiye-Pakistan trilateral alliance
    Interview with Major General Raza Muhammad

    INTERVIEWS  23 May 2023 - 15:05

    Caliber.Az interviews retired Pakistani army general Raza Muhammad, president of the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI).

    Ambassador, Major General Raza Muhammad has held various prestigious command and staff positions and served as Additional Secretary in Pakistan's Ministry of Defence Production. After his retirement, he was appointed Pakistan's ambassador to Mauritius, Madagascar, Seychelles, and Comoros. Raza Muhammad was the executive director of the Army Charitable Trust and adviser to the president of the National Defence University, Islamabad (NDU).

    He served in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and completed a staff service course in Germany. He has taught at leading military institutions such as Pakistan Military Academy (Kakul), Quetta Command and Staff College, and NDU. He has been teaching in the Department of Modern Studies at NDU since 2018. Muhammad regularly attends national and international conferences and seminars as a speaker on CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor), Kashmir, Afghanistan, security, counter-terrorism, etc.

    - How do you assess the current stage of Azerbaijan-Pakistan relations? Are we just friends, partners, or allies?

    The Islamic Republic of Pakistan was one of the first countries that recognise the independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan on December 12, 1991. The diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on June 9, 1992. Pakistan-Azerbaijan friendship has a lot of potential that must be realised. During the last 25 years, the exports of Pakistan to Azerbaijan have increased at an annualized rate of 10.8%, from $932,000 in 1996 to $12.1 million in 2021. The firm stance of Pakistan over Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and condemnation of Armenia’s aggression show Pakistan’s commitment to having deeper bilateral ties with Azerbaijan. We consider Azerbaijan as an important country with huge trade and economic potential. The historical cultural and religious ties were evident when the people of Pakistan showed their solidarity with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict.

    - What does the Pakistani community know about the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute?

    The continued support of Pakistan for Azerbaijan’s stance also reverberates within the Pakistani population. Pakistan used all measures to apprise the general public regarding the dispute after which, the majority of the population became well-versed with the conflict. The Pakistani state used various digital media strategies to sensitize not only the international community but also its own population, so as to generate a greater and wider response over the world in support of Azerbaijan against Armenian aggression.

    - What is the probability of forming the Trilateral alliance between Azerbaijan, Türkiye, and Pakistan?

    The potential for a trilateral alliance between the three countries is huge. There is great probability for the alliance which can be attributed to the growing common interests of Baku, Ankara, and Islamabad. The three countries have supported each other in times of adversity. The joint communique by Azerbaijan and Türkiye over the Kashmir Conflict supporting Pakistan’s stance is a display of significant brotherly ties. People-to-people ties have remained strong between the three states, along with the recent military exercises entitled “Three Brothers” which also manifest the growing defence cooperation.

    - How does the Russia-Ukraine war affect Pakistan? What is Islamabad’s position in this matter?

    -  It has affected the whole world including Pakistan. The disruption of supply chains and the rise in global oil and food prices have economically affected Pakistan. Pakistan imported wheat from Ukraine, which amounted to almost 30% of its total consumption. Pakistan typically follows a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, particularly in matters of conflict between sovereign nations. Pakistan has historically emphasized the importance of peaceful resolutions to conflicts through dialogue and negotiations. It often advocates for the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the right of nations to determine their own fate. This war has exacerbated the US-China Rivalry that is taking the world to a newer Bloc Politics. Pakistan will avoid becoming part of a particular camp.

    - Regarding the issue around the ex-PM Imran Khan, why did the militants protest against him?

    I may be able to answer this question if you provide me some specifics.

    - Will the confrontation around Imran Khan lead to civilian war in Pakistan?

    I have to disagree with that. The political leadership remains an integral part of the democratic processes of the country. Pakistan has a history of protests and people demanding their rights irrespective of whether they are right or wrong, but not the slightest chance is there for any civil war in the country.

    - It’s known that Imran Khan wanted to cooperate with Türkiye, Russia, and China. Might Washington be against this idea?

    Pakistan remains adherent to the policy of friendship with all. Pakistan has already contracted for Russian oil, relation with China has got a new fillip and Türkiye Cumhuriyeti remains our brotherly friendly country. The US pressure, if any will hopefully not be taken by any Pakistani government.

    - What can be the consequences of rivalry between China and the US?

    Well, much has been debated about this topic. The return of cold war politics and camp politics has made it difficult for countries to navigate the troubled waters. Pakistan remains steadfast in its stance that it will not be part of camp politics. In its quest for China containment US is forging new alliances and rejuvenation the existing ones. In its INO-Pacific Strategy India has been termed a strategic partner in Asia. It is being prepared as a US policy bulwark, which has created asymmetry in the region and made India an arrogant state that perpetrates unprecedented extreme human rights violations and religious persecution in IIOJK as well as mainland India. 


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