ISLAMABAD    -     Federal Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Dr Fahmida Mirza and Azerbaijan Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Azad Rahimov signed an MOU in the field of sports between Pakistan IPC and Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs of Azerbaijan.

The MoU signing ceremony was held in Baku on Monday and the MoU will facilitate direct cooperation, exchange of sports teams and create opportunities to hold joint sports events between two brotherly countries.  Speaking on the occasion, Dr Fahmida said: “Pakistan greatly values its relations of cooperation with the Republic of Azerbaijan. I would like to thank the Ministry of Youth and Sports for arranging this event to cement the cooperation between Pakistan and Azerbaijan for promoting sports.

“The ‘Sports Diplomacy’ has become an integral part of efforts to build friendly relations among the nations. Sports Diplomacy uses the universal passion for sports to bring people together. Both of our countries had seen a long history of regional conflicts. Employing Sports Diplomacy tools can help us challenge prejudices, heal divisions and champion tolerance,” she added.  Dr Mirza acknowledged that Azerbaijan successfully hosted the Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku in 2017 and collaboration with Azerbaijan would be learning experience for Pakistan to host mega events. She underscored the global contribution of Pakistan in cricket, hockey, squash, snooker and kabaddi.

The IPC minister also extended cooperation in the field of traditional sports as both countries have a vibrant culture in this type of games. She also shared an idea of holding a conference on the topic of sports diplomacy and explores its role in fostering peace and cultural exchanges.

The Azerbaijan Minister reciprocated the same enthusiasm and showed desire to further cooperation in areas such as sports academia, exchange of expertise in sports infrastructure development schemes, exchange of sports experts and training of referees, coaches and technical officials.