Islamabad-Baku flights on the cards

BAKU: Pakistan and Azerbaijan have agreed to start flights between Islamabad and Baku besides furthering bilateral relations in various fields including trade and energy.

This was agreed at a meeting held in Baku between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. 

The prime minister is on a two-day official visit to Baku at the invitation of Aliyev.

Speaking at a joint press conference after the meeting, the two leaders said that they have agreed to introduce flights between Islamabad and Baku. 

“Pakistan welcomes Azerbaijan Airlines to start its operations to Islamabad,” PM Shehbaz said, extending an invitation to the country’s aviation minister to visit Pakistan to also consider Baku-Karachi flights in efforts to promote bilateral tourism.

The PM spoke highly of President Aliyev’s leadership in building the country’s infrastructure and impressive horticulture. Citing the “pleasant surprises” of neatness and beauty of Baku, the prime minister requested the Azerbaijan president to “lend their experts” to Islamabad. 

“Though our ties are so strong for ages, these do not reflect their intensity through trade and investment, exchange of visits and other important areas of cooperation,” the prime minister said, suggesting that the two countries should seek to cooperate in areas of aviation, energy and trade.

According to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office, a deal has been struck between the two countries under which Pakistan will receive one discounted liquified natural gas (LNG) cargo every month from Azerbaijan.

In the energy sector, Pakistan spent $27 billion last year for energy imports which is taking a heavy toll on its fast depleting foreign exchange reserves as the country has to import oil at exorbitant price since the start of Russian-Ukraine war.

The Prime Minister’s Office also said that the Pakistan State Oil and the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic will collaborate at the government-to-government level to work out the plan in the energy sector.

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