By Adnan Rafique
ISLAMABAD: The Azerbaijan Embassy here on Tuesday commemorated “Memorial Day” to honor the martyrs of the patriotic war who sacrificed their lives for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan in 2020.
Addressing the Commemoration Day ceremony, the Ambassador of Azerbaijan, Khazar Farhadov, said this “Memorial Day” was a sign of deep respect for Azerbaijani soldiers and officers, all the martyrs, who fought heroically in the Patriotic War, waved the Azerbaijani flag in the liberated lands and sacrificed their lives for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
He said that Armenia kept Azerbaijan’s territories under occupation illegally for almost 30 years. During these years, Armenia always committed provocations against Azerbaijan.
He said that on September 27 2020, a counter-offensive was launched two years back in response to Armenia’s yet another large-scale military attack on Azerbaijani Army positions and civilian settlements. The counter-offensive later became known as Operation Iron Fist, leading to the Patriotic War.
At the end of the 44-day Patriotic War, under the leadership of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, President Ilham Aliyev, Khazar said, “our army liberated Azerbaijan’s territories from Armenian occupation, and Armenia was forced to sign an act of capitulation, thus acknowledging Azerbaijan’s historic victory.”
The ambassador said, “I must mention that brotherly Pakistan from the first day of the former Karabakh conflict, as well as the during Patriotic War in 2020 morally and politically supported just position of Azerbaijan and the Government and Azerbaijani people have highly appreciated it.”
Explaining the details of the war, he said the Patriotic War put an end to Armenia’s nearly 30-year-long policy of aggression. Azerbaijan ensured its territorial integrity, and the fundamental rights of nearly one million displaced Azerbaijanis were restored. Azerbaijan alone ensured the implementation of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions of 1993.
Right after the liberation, Azerbaijan started massive reconstruction and restoration works in the liberated areas. In 2021 and 2022, the Azerbaijani Government allocated nearly $3 billion to the large-scale reconstruction and restoration activities in the liberated lands. “I would like to inform you that Fuzuli International Airport which was built just in 8 months is operational now. 2 more international airports namely Zangilan and Lachin are under construction, and they will also be operational very soon,” he added.
Moreover, the first Azerbaijani IDPs have already returned to the liberated Zangilan region’s Aghali village, which was rebuilt based on the “smart village” concept.
Shusha, Azerbaijan’s cultural capital, has already become a venue for international events. “Pakistan Colors” group performed the “Bhangra” dance at the 5th “Kharibulbul” International Folklore Festival, which was held in Shusha in May 2022.
The ambassador stated that Azerbaijan offered Armenia peace immediately after the war. However, Armenia was not interested in peace. The Azerbaijani side proposes delimitation and demarcation, but Armenia delays it. “We have proposed five principles for signing a peace treaty with Armenia. In words, they accepted them, but we do not see it in practice.
These all show again that Armenia is not interested in peace”, he added.
Moreover, in the past few months, Armenia has committed repeated military provocations against Azerbaijan. More than 1,400 new landmines were planted in the Lachin district alone, and these mines were planted in 2021, after the war. This is a flagrant act of terror against Azerbaijan. Since the war ended, more than 240 Azerbaijani citizens have been killed or seriously injured due to landmine explosions.
Armenian armed forces committed large-scale provocations in the Dashkasan, Kalbajar, and Lachin directions of the Azerbaijani-Armenian state border on September 13 again. The Armenian armed forces’ sabotage groups, using the area’s mountainous terrain and the existing ravine gaps, mined the territories and supply roads between the positions of the Azerbaijan Army units in different directions. But of course, the glorious Azerbaijani Army responded and put the enemy back in place, the ambassador concluded.