Visionary leader of Azerbaijan, Daily Times

Pakistani English language newspaper “Daily Times” has published an article dedicated to President Ilham Aliyev’s activity. The author, in particular, writes: “Twenty years ago it was hard to believe that Azerbaijan would become what it is today. Since the country gained its independence after collapse of the Soviet Union, it has faced a lot of adversity such as Armenian aggression, occupation of 20 % of the territories, floods of one million refugees and IDPs, ravished economy and infrastructure.
Today, Azerbaijan is rising under the leadership of its President Ilham Aliyev – highly educated and knowledgeable about the modern world, politics and economics. Mr I Aliyev brought transformation in Azerbaijan during the last nine years. He started his political career in 1995 after his election as member of the National Assembly and was promoted later to the head of the Azerbaijani delegation to the Council of Europe.
On October 15, 2003, Mr Ilham Aliyev won presidential elections with overwhelming majority and was re-elected in 2008 with 87 % of the polls. The Azerbaijani Nation is witnessing rapid and dynamic development that is comparable with developed countries. A country with less than 10 million population has become a leading power in Transcaucasia.
In 1994, Azerbaijan signed a “Contract of Century” for exploration of hydrocarbon offshore reserves of the Caspian Sea.
Mr I Aliyev as a vice president of State Oil Company (1994-2003) was a key figure during the negotiations between the Azerbaijani Government and Western oil companies. This contract has not only paved the way to the renaissance of the nation but also cemented sovereignty of the country. There were many other oil and gas deals signed afterwards which have further contributed to the development of state. Azerbaijan`s natural resources are being transported through diversified network system like Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum and other pipelines. Implementation of these energy projects emphasises the role of Azerbaijan as a reliable energy source and transportation route.
The Baku-Tbilisi–Gars railway corridor linking Azerbaijan and Turkey via Georgia to be completed soon, will facilitate transportation of goods and passengers from Central Asia and Azerbaijan onwards to Europe. This project will ultimately make country a main transport hub of the region. All these projects are not only giving substantial economic dividends to Azerbaijan but also increasing political weight of the country. Over the last decade, Azerbaijan has transformed into a leading regional investor, financing multi-billion projects in different countries of the world.
A transparent Oil Fund has been established to collect and manage revenues from energy-related activities and to control a use of these revenues for economic diversification. It is therefore that the non-oil sector of Azerbaijan has grown by 10 % in 2012 only. The economic growth of Azerbaijan goes accompanied by enormous construction boom, development of the industry, infrastructure, agriculture, tourism and culture.
Azerbaijan hosted Eurovision contest 2012 and mesmerised thousands of guests from all over the world with beauty of its capital.
As a president of the National Olympic Committee, Mr Ilham Aliyev, pays great attention to the development of sports in the country. Azerbaijani wrestlers, boxers, heavy weight lifters, volleyball, handball and chess players make wonders in World and Europe cups. Azerbaijan team returned from London 2012 Olympic Games with 11 medals. This year Baku held women World Cup U-17 and in 2015 will be hosting the First European Olympic Games.
The president introduced new vision that gives overemphasis on education as a solid tool to lift the nation. The government spends a lot for development of national universities and scientific research institutes and fully finances hundreds of youngsters` education in top world universities. A charismatic personality, Mr Aliyev is doing his utmost to resolve the core issue of his country-Armenian-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by peaceful means. But, Armenia is still not willing to liberate the occupied lands, neglecting four resolutions of UNSC on unconditional vocation of occupied lands.
A leader with broad vision, Mr Ilham Aliyev, carries on a balanced foreign policy based on the interests of his country. Located on the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Azerbaijan is integrated in the political structures of both continents. Being a member of the CE and the OSCE, Azerbaijan plays an active role in the OIC and the ECO and in 2011 got a membership in Non-Aligned Movement and a seat of a non-permanent member of UN SC allocated for Eastern Europe.
This is doubtless a great success of the country and culmination of President Ilham Aliyev`s foreign policy. Mr Aliyev has done a lot for further promotion of Islamic values in his country – constructed hundreds of new mosques, shrines, established Islamic University and other religious institutions and etc. He takes a keen interest in promoting the bilateral relations between Pakistan and Azerbaijan. Today the two nations enjoy close and cordial relations characterised by shared perception on major global and regional issues. Both countries closely cooperate in international fora, support each other on their core issues. The two countries signed a umber of agreements to provide a framework for bilateral cooperation in all spheres including economy, trade, finance, information, culture and military fields.


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