In a sharp reaction, Islamabad on Saturday dismissed what it said were “baseless and unwarranted” remarks by Armenia’s premier about the alleged role of Pakistan’s army in the ongoing Upper Karabakh clashes.
In an interview with a Russian outlet on Oct. 15, Armenian premier Nikol Pashinyan referred to “unsubstantiated reports alleging involvement of Pakistani special forces alongside Azerbaijani army in the ongoing conflict,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“We categorically reject these baseless and unwarranted comments by the Armenian Prime Minister,” read the statement.
“It is regrettable that [the] leadership of Armenia, to cover up its illegal actions against Azerbaijan, is resorting to irresponsible propaganda, which it must stop.”
Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has also clarified that Azerbaijani forces are strong enough to defend their homeland and do not need the help of foreign forces, the statement added.
“For our part, we wish to make clear that Pakistan has consistently extended diplomatic, moral, and political support to Azerbaijan,” the ministry said.
Islamabad reiterated that it will continue to stand by the “brotherly nation of Azerbaijan and support its right of self-defense against any aggression.”
“We believe that long-term peace and normalization of relations between the two parties would depend on the complete and comprehensive implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions and withdrawal of Armenian forces from Azerbaijani territories,” the statement concluded.
Clashes erupted between the two countries on Sept. 27 and Armenia has since continued its attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces, even violating a humanitarian cease-fire that came into force last week.
Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.
Some 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory has remained under illegal Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.
The OSCE Minsk Group – co-chaired by France, Russia, and the US – was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail. A cease-fire, however, was agreed to in 1994.
Multiple UN resolutions, as well as international organizations, demand the withdrawal of the occupying forces.
World powers, including Russia, France, and the US, have called for a cessation of hostilities. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku’s right to self-defense and demanded the withdrawal of Armenia’s occupying forces.