THE warmth demonstrated by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev during their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Sixth Summit of Conference for Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) at Astana was yet another demonstration of their commitment to take their relationship to new heights for the mutual good of their people.
The two sides agreed to hold fast-track discussions on energy collaboration between the two countries through robust engagement and foster ties in diverse fields.
The two countries, considered as strategic allies, once again resolved to further enhance cooperation in the areas of trade, investment, education, information technology, security, agriculture, connectivity and energy.
More important is the understanding between the two leaders to fast-track energy cooperation in view of the efforts being made by the new Government in Pakistan to ensure energy security.
Pakistan is facing a severe energy shortage and the Government is exploring all possible avenues to augment the gas and electricity supply situation, which is vital for its economic agenda.
In fact, the two countries have already been discussing the prospects of mutual cooperation in the oil and gas sector, especially in the trade of oil products, the supply of liquefied natural gas, as well as the development of gas infrastructure besides potential opportunities for cooperation with Pakistan companies.
Pakistan can benefit a lot from the experience and resources of Azerbaijan in the energy sector but it all depends on our ability to take the ongoing talks to fruition at the earliest in view of the given situation.
It is rightly pointed out that there are excellent political ties between the two countries but the two sides are slow in giving practical shape to the understanding and goodwill that exists at the leadership level.
The willingness shown by the President of Azerbaijan to extend fullest possible cooperation to Pakistan in mitigating the effects of the devastating floods is in line with the overall policy of the Azeri leader to strengthen relations with Pakistan.
Islamabad too has tried its level best to support the legitimate causes of Azerbaijan including its just stand on Nagorno-Karabakh issue.
It is hoped that apart from intensifying cooperation in the energy field, the two countries would also move fast on plans and projects so far agreed in other areas and explore further opportunities to transform the existing ties into a strong economic partnership.