Friday, October 2, 2020

No truth to reports of Pakistan Army fighting alongside Azerbaijani troops against Armenia: FO

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Pakistan on Friday rejected "speculative and baseless" media reports claiming the Pakistan Army was fighting alongside Azerbaijani forces against Armenia in the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region.

"Such reports are irresponsible," Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudri said in a statement.

Armenian and Azerbaijani forces are currently engaged in the heaviest fighting in years over Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian province that broke away from Azerbaijan in the 1990s during the collapse of the Soviet Union. The long-simmering conflict erupted on Sunday with both sides blaming each other for the outbreak of violence.

A report published by TimesNowIndia and a few other media outlets this week claimed Prime Minister Imran Khan sent troops to the disputed territory to fight alongside the Turkish military and Azerbaijan army in Agdam.

The report quoted a telephone conversation between two locals in the area who mentioned the presence of Pakistanis in the territory.

"On Agdam’s side, they have gathered Pakistani soldiers and have taken them towards Agdam," the locals were heard telling each other, according to these media reports.

Reiterating Islamabad's position on the issue, the FO spokesman said Pakistan was deeply concerned over the deteriorating security situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

"The intensive shelling by Armenian forces on Azerbaijan's civilian populations is reprehensible and most unfortunate. This could compromise the peace and security of the entire region. Armenia must stop its military action to avoid further escalation."

Pakistan supports Azerbaijan’s position on Nagorno-Karabakh, which is in line with the several unanimously adopted United Nations Security Council resolutions, Chaudri said.

On Wednesday, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev had thanked Pakistan, Turkey and Afghanistan for their support in the fighting against Armenian forces.

Aliyev said Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey had all demonstrated support but added that Azerbaijan’s army did not need external help.

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