Islamabad denies charges, Imran Khan says Pakistan stands with Azerbaijan

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Prime Minister Imran Khan has stated that Pakistan stands with Azerbaijan in its quest to resolve Nagorno-Karabakh issue as per United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. In a tweet on Sunday, the Prime Minister also paid tribute to Azeri forces valiantly defending their territorial integrity. He also extended felicitation to the President and fraternal people of Azerbaijan on their Independence Day.

Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan

Imran Khan has also extended warmest felicitations to President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and its fraternal people on their Independence Day. In a tweet, the premier paid tribute to Azeri forces, who are valiantly defending their territorial integrity. Pakistan stands with Azerbaijan in its quest to resolve Nagorno-Karabakh issue as per United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, he expressed in his tweet.

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Earlier this month, the FO spokesperson had rejected “speculative and baseless” media reports claiming the Pakistan Army was fighting alongside Azerbaijani forces against Armenia. His statement had come after a report published by TimesNowIndia and a few other media outlets claimed that Prime Minister Imran Khan had sent troops to the disputed territory to fight alongside the Turkish military and Azerbaijan army in Agdam.

PM Imran Khan

Meanwhile, Pakistan has welcomed the humanitarian truce agreed between Azerbaijan and Armenia to prevent a further humanitarian crisis. The Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry in a statement said this is a positive development for peace and stability. He expressed the hope that humanitarian conditions agreed upon will be honoured completely. The Spokesperson said Pakistan believes that sustainable peace between the two parties depends on implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions and withdrawal of Armenian forces from Azerbaijani territories.

Decades-long conflict

The decades-long Nagorno-Karabakh conflict re-erupted on September 27 and has so far killed more than 700 people, including nearly 80 civilians. The mountainous western region of Azerbaijan has remained under separatist Armenian control since a 1994 ceasefire ended a brutal war that killed 30,000. Armenia, which backs Nagorno-Karabakh but does not recognise its independence, has admitted that Azerbaijani forces have made important gains along the front in the past week.

On Saturday, a missile strike levelled a row of homes in Azerbaijan’s second city of Ganja, killing 12 and injuring more than 40 people in their sleep in a sharp escalation of the conflict.

The early hours attack, which saw a second missile strike another part of Ganja and a third reach the nearby strategic city of Mingecevir, came hours after Azerbaijani forces shelled the ethnic Armenian separatist region’s capital Stepanakert. The seeming tit-for-tat attacks further undermine international efforts to calm a resurgence of fighting between Christian Armenians and Muslim Azerbaijanis before it draws in regional powers Russia and Turkey.

The defense ministry of the Nagorno-Karabakh region said on Friday it had recorded another 29 casualties among its military, pushing the military death toll to 633 since fighting with Azeri forces erupted on Sept. 27. The fighting has surged to its worst level since the 1990s, when some 30,000 people were killed.

Also on Friday, there were growing signs that a Russian-brokered cease-fire agreed upon last week to allow sides to swap detainees and bodies of those killed had all but broken down. Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but populated and governed by ethnic Armenians.