ISLAMABAD              -             President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev Friday expressed his deep concern over the human rights violations in Indian held Kashmir, saying his country strongly supported Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir.

"Azerbaijan considers Pakistan its close friend and would continue to support it at every forum," President Aliyev said in a telephonic conversation with President Dr Arif Alvi as the latter called him to discuss the current regional situation amid COVID-19 pandemic, a press statement issued here by President House said.

The Azerbaijan's president urged the international community to take notice of the plight of Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K).

President Alvi said coronavirus situation was being used as "another excuse to discriminate against Muslims across India" in the guise of lockdown that restricted access of Kashmiris to medical facilities and other supplies. He said India was trying to change the domicile rules in IOJ&K with the main objective to alter demographic structure of the Valley, which was against the 4th Geneva Convention. 

Noting the motivated campaign to demonize Indian Muslims in the context of the COVID-19, the president emphasized that it should be rejected by the international community. Ilham Aliyev thanked the government of Pakistan for supporting his country’s stance on Nagorno-Karabakh issue. The two presidents discussed matters related to the COVID-l9 pandemic and called for enhancing bilateral cooperation to jointly address the situation.

President Alvi briefed President Aliyev about the latest situation of COVlD-I9 pandemic in Pakistan and the steps being taken by the government for containment of the disease. He thanked Azerbaijan for supporting Pakistan’s efforts in preventing and combating COVlD-I9 outbreak and also for facilitating repatriation of stranded Pakistanis. Underscoring importance of Prime Minister lmran Khan‘s call for global initiative for debt relief for developing countries, President Alvi reiterated the need for close cooperation to mitigate the impact of economic slowdown and devoting more resources to manage the crisis.

Emphasizing close fraternal ties between Pakistan and Azerbaijan, the president reaffirmed Pakistan’s resolve to deepen bilateral cooperation in all fields. President Alvi congratulated President Ilham Aliyev on his timely initiative and successful convening of the Non-Aligned Movement’s Summit-level Contact Group meeting on the theme “United against COVlD-I9” on May 4. The two presidents agreed to remain engaged on all issues of mutual interest.