Baku, March 14, AZERTAC
President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain has highlighted the results of his official visits to Azerbaijan as he was interviewed by AZERTAC. The following is the full text of the interview:
-Mr President, how do you evaluate the results of your visit to Azerbaijan?
- I think it has been a very good visit in terms of the growth in relations between our two countries. And we had very useful discussions with President Ilham Aliyev and the Prime Minister, the ministers, Speaker of the Parliament, all sorts of peoples from all spheres of life. I think we had very useful discussions, and the outcomes of this visit will contribute to the growth in the relations between our people, between our governments, especially in the fields of economy, trade, industry. I believe we will see this growth in the near future Inshallah.
- Trade between our countries is not satisfactory. Economic relations fall behind the political ties. What should be done to increase the bilateral trade?
-Actually the level of trade is only 8 million dollars per year and the basic reason, in my opinion, is the lack of visits of people from one country to another and the connectivity between our two countries. I felt this connectivity problem and told the Prime Minister of Turkey to ask the Turkish Airlines to start one flight from Ankara or Istanbul to Baku and then to Islamabad and Karachi in Pakistan and the same in the opposite direction. The Prime Minister of Turkey was very kind as he immediately asked the Turkish Airlines to start that flight. So in this way the connectivity will improve and there are many relevant projects. So I am sure that with this connectivity and with the exchange of delegations - as you know a delegation of 25 to 30 business people accompanies me - their discussions with the counterparts in Azerbaijan - will contribute to the improvement of trade between Pakistan and Azerbaijan.
- Azerbaijan invests in other countries. What about the conditions for investors in Pakistan?
- The laws for investors in Pakistan are very extraordinary, I must say. Our laws allow any investor coming to Pakistan to invest 100 percent of equity of his own and he can repatriate 100 percent of his profit to his own country. There is no restriction on keeping those profits in Pakistan. So we have discussed the issue with the people from different sectors in Azerbaijan and with the ministers, with the President, and I am sure the President is very kind enough to ask ministers to encourage the people from Azerbaijan who want to invest in different fields to go to Pakistan and find out the possibilities of where they can invest. I have pointed out especially energy and infrastructure.
- Mr. President, from the first days of Azerbaijan`s independence, Pakistan has supported our sovereignty and territorial integrity. What is your view about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
- You rightly said that Pakistan is the first country, one of the first three, four countries who recognized Azerbaijan as a nation, as an independent country. I think that from the very beginning we have had very cordial relations with the government and the people of Azerbaijan. We have always supported Azerbaijan`s stand, which, we think, is the right stand on Nagorno-Karabakh. We have always been committed to supporting Azerbaijan on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. And we are very pleased and very grateful to Azerbaijani people that the government always supports Pakistan`s stand on Jammu and Kashmir. The Azerbaijani government has always supported the stand of Pakistan that the people of Jammu and Kashmir should get their right to plebiscite, and should determine the fate of their region.
- Are you satisfied with cooperation in international organizations?
- Yes, I think our ideas are more or less the same on many international issues in so many forums, for example, the United Nations, OIC. And in those forums I always see that there is understanding and cooperation between the two countries. They support the same issues, they support the same ideas. I think this is because Pakistan and Azerbaijan have so many things in common. And we always see this in international forums, wherever our two countries are present there is understanding on so many issues.
- The Heydar Aliyev Foundation is carrying out a number of humanitarian projects. What is your vision of cooperation with the Foundation?
- Actually we are grateful to the Heydar Aliyev Foundation because during the earthquake in Pakistan in 2005 and floods in 2011 we got huge help from this foundation under the leadership of first lady Mehriban Aliyeva. And there are some institutions - educational institutions which were constructed by this foundation in Muzaffarabad and Azad Kashmir. So I think the foundation is always ready to help out Pakistani people, especially those who are in the stress or are victims of some calamities. I think this is because of the spirit of the first lady who always supports Pakistan. I believe this will continue in the future too, and maybe we can see many more projects in Pakistan coming up with the help of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Inshallah.
- Mr President you visited Sumgayit Techno Park. Is it possible to use the potential of Sumgayit Techno Park for the benefit of the Pakistani economy?
- As I have met during these days with the leadership of Azerbaijan we came to the conclusion and we are very firm that Pakistan and Azerbaijan should cooperate with each other in different fields. We should get benefit of each other`s expertise. For example, Azerbaijan, I think, is the oldest oil producing country in the world. And with the discovery of gas Azerbaijan’s economic importance grew. So the country has expertise in oil and gas fields. I think we should get benefit of this expertise. When I visited the park today I found out that Azerbaijan is manufacturing state-of-the-art quality wires, high tension wires, cables and, apart from that, pipes, steel and fiber. In fact we have this technology, but what we decided is that we can help each other for the benefit of our people, for the benefit of our industry. We should help each other. And I think this spirit will be a reason for the fantastic progress we are going to have in the future. It is my vision that with the help of each other we are going to created wonders in the future.