Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of Pakistan embarked on a two-day official visit to Azerbaijan aiming to bolster bilateral ties in the realms of energy, banking, financial services, and information technology. The First Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan, Yagub Eyyubov, Deputy Foreign Minister Elnur Mammadov, Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to Pakistan Khazar Farhadov, and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan Bilal Hayee, greeted him upon his arrival at the Baku airport.
The trip marks Prime Minister Shehbaz’s first official visit to Azerbaijan since assuming office, following an invitation from President Ilham Aliyev.
The itinerary for June 15 includes a visit to the mausoleum of Heydar Aliyev, Azerbaijan’s national hero, and memorials for the country’s fallen soldiers.
A meeting with President Ilham Aliyev is scheduled for later in the day, where both leaders will interact with the press. Accompanying PM Shehbaz are Khawaja Mohammad Asif, Defence Minister; Syed Naveed Qamar, Commerce Minister; Marriyum Aurangzeb, Information and Broadcasting Minister; Dr. Musadik Malik, Minister of State for Petroleum; and Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the PM.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the Pakistani premier will also meet with an Azerbaijani ministerial delegation to discuss collaborative efforts in trade and energy sectors.
Before his departure, PM Shehbaz shared on Twitter that his visit was in line with the government’s policy of solidifying bilateral relations and forging mutually beneficial partnerships. Apart from expediting the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), the prime minister intends to engage in key discussions with the Azerbaijani leadership to explore collaborative possibilities in sectors including energy, banking, financial services, and IT.
“Transforming our strong bilateral political ties into a robust trade and investment relationship remains a key objective. Central Asia plays a crucial role in our energy security policy, and we are committed to enhancing cooperation with Central Asian Republics [CARs] to secure Pakistan’s energy future,” the Prime Minister stated in his tweet.
Separately, while addressing an event in Islamabad, PM Shehbaz referred to the May 9 incidents as a “national disgrace”. He declared that such actions were unimaginable for patriotic citizens, describing the perpetrators as adversaries of the country.
In a swipe at PTI chief Imran Khan, he pointed out that, contrary to the former PM’s narrative of a Russian deal leading to his government’s dismissal, his administration had successfully brought a shipment of Russian crude oil to Pakistan, securing it at $15 per barrel below the global price.