Islamabad: Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Pakistan Mr. Ali Alizada said that the day of January 20, 1990 became the Day of Proud in our history which united the people of Azerbaijan into a community of citizens of an independent nation and strengthened their resolve to achieve the ultimate goal of independence. It became a page of heroism in the history of the struggle for the independence and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, and finally we secured independence in October 18, 1991.
Giving historical details Azerbaijan envoy said that Black January tragedy goes deep down in the Azerbaijan history and we are greatly indebted to those brave people who laid down their lives to win independence for us.
Mr. Ali Alizada said that the Commemoration Day of the Martyrs of Azerbaijan that falls on date January 20 remained in the memory of the people of Azerbaijan as a day of sorrow, but at the same time mostly day of pride. Since 1988 the national movement for liberty grew and in 1990, the independence movement acquired an active role in Azerbaijan and hundred thousands of people leaving everything behind joined a cause that promised them a secure future and this day-January 20, went down in history of Azerbaijan as the struggle for the freedom and territorial integrity, for independence of Azerbaijan, as a heroism page.
Highlighting the role of the Father and Founder of Free Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev in freedom fighting which eventually helped them gain independence from the former Soviet Union, Azerbaijan envoy said that we regained independence but unfortunately we are still suffering from Armenian terrorism and extremism. 20% of our territories are still under occupation. Every month the brave soldiers of Azerbaijan Army, innocents, civilians, women, children lose their lives as a result of Armenian provocation and terrorism in the line of control.
Mr. Ali Alizada expressed these views while addressing a seminar titled “From Martyrdom to Independence”, organized by the Embassy of Azerbaijan to Pakistan in collaboration with the IQRA University, Islamabad. Apart from Azerbaijan Ambassador, Mr. Ali Alizada, Senator Talha Mahmood, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat & Establishment Division and Pakistan-Azerbaijan Friendship Group in senate, Obaid Khan, Chancellor of IQRA University, Dr. Muhammad Islam, Vice President of IQRA University and Syed Abrar Hussain former Ambassador of Pakistan to Afghanistan, Kuwait and Nepal also spoke on the occasion.
Speakers on the occasion recognized the sacrifices rendered by the people of Azerbaijan to get independence. A large number of diplomatic community dominated by central Asian nations were also present on the occasion. Syed Abrar Hussain, in his address praised the progress secured by Azerbaijan under the esteemed leadership of founder father of Azerbaijan late Heydar Aliyev and current President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. Dr. Muhammad Islam, Vice President of IQRA University thanked the embassy of Azerbaijan and Ambassador Ali Alizada for choosing IQRA University to celebrate their independence memories. Obaid Khan, Chancellor of IQRA University suggested on the occasion to establish a contact and cooperation between IQRA University and education institutions of Azerbaijan.
Senator Talha Mahmood, Chairman of Pakistan-Azerbaijan Friendship Group in the Senate on the occasion said that the Azerbaijan achieved independence after a historic struggle and huge sacrifices rendered by their people. He said Pakistan greatly values its relations with Azerbaijan and wishes to further enhance these relations especially in the fields of culture, tourism and education. He was of the opinion that the Central Asian region is blessed with resources of oil, Gas and minerals, and there are multiple areas where Pakistan and Azerbaijan can cooperate with each other.
Azerbaijan envoy added that this year marks 28 years of restoration of independence of Azerbaijan and this event marks also our deep appreciation for the martyrs who now live on in the brightest pages of our history. He said that in 1987 the Soviet Union’s sowing seeds of ethnic discrimination reached its peak. During 1988-89 the Azerbaijanis who were living in Armenia were forced to leave Armenia and in the course annexation of part of our lands to Armenia, finally, giving Daghlig Garabagh, the integral part of Azerbaijan to Armenia as a gift exhausted our people’s patience.
As a result of all these injustices the struggle for national liberation started, with demonstrations and rallies in protest to the Armenian separatism in Daghlig Garabagh. This policy of Soviet Union’s leadership and territorial claims made by Armenia against Azerbaijan escalated socio -political situation in the region. People started to demand the resignation of the leadership of Soviet Azerbaijan, as well as to stop Armenian atrocities against Azerbaijanies.
On September 23, 1989, The Supreme Soviet of the Azerbaijan SSR adopted the Constitutional Law “On Sovereignty of the Azerbaijan SSR,” 5th provision of which provided, inter alia, that sovereignty of the Azerbaijan SSR shall cover the whole its territory, including Azerbaijan’s integral parts – Nakhchivan and Daghlig Garabagh, and that the borders of the Azerbaijan SSR with other Union Republics might be altered only by mutual agreement of republics concerned.
This was a clear manifestation of independence from the Soviet point of view and the main reason and aim of invasion of Baku and committing January tragedy by the Soviet Army in1990 was to stop the dissolution of the Communist regime, crush any opposition in Azerbaijan’s bid for independence, and preserving status quo and facilitation of annexation of part of our lands to Armenia. According to the materials of the Investigation Commission there were mostly many persons of Armenian nationality among reservists and troops.
At that time, Soviet mass media did not even mention that tragedy, and crime passed over in silence. Azerbaijan was kept in the information blockade and most of the politicians were afraid from anger of soviet leadership and only by the statement of Heydar Aliyev condemning the bloody crime committed in Baku the international community could get real information about this tragedy, bloody and ominous incident that took place.
At the end paying rich tributes to martyrs, Azerbaijan envoy said that the heroism and sacrifices of the martyrs steadfastly remain as signs of honor and pride for the people of Azerbaijan and Pakistan who will always stand in recognition, respect, and gratitude for the faithful martyrs.
The writer is an editor of monthly Diplomatic News Magazine, he can be reached at email@example.com