The Leader who dedicated his life to the Nation
There is no doubt that the Azerbaijan’s contemporary history is completely linked with the name of its National Leader Heydar Aliyev – a political leader who dedicated his whole life to his Nation in most dreadful times.
Mr. Heydar Aliyev was born on 10 May 1923 in Nakhchivan city of Azerbaijan. Having started his professional carrier from Internal Affairs Division he later got shifted to the state security bodies where raised up to the chairman level in1967.
In July, 1969 Mr. Aliyev became the head of the Azerbaijan SSR and in December 1982 a First Vice Prime Minister of the USSR. He resigned from this post in October 1987, as a sign of protest against the policy pursued by Communist Party.
On 20 January, 1990 Soviet troops stormed Baku killing unarmed civilians who raised their voices against injustice made by Central Government against them. On the next day Mr. Aliyev reached Azerbaijan Representation in Moscow and in his statement demanded to punish the organizers and perpetrators of the crime committed against the people of Azerbaijan. Protesting the hypocritical policy of leadership of the USSR on Nagorno-Karabakh problem, in July 1991 Mr. Aliyev terminated his membership in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
After return in July, 1990 to Azerbaijan, Mr. Aliyev was elected a member of Azerbaijan SSR Parliament and lead the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic’s Assembly. On 15 June 1993, the day Mr. Heydar Aliyev assumed leadership at the persistent requests of the people at a time when the political, economic and social crisis of Azerbaijan’s independence brought it the brink of civil war. Mr. Heydar Aliyev was twice, on 03 October, 1993 and October 11, 1998, elected a President of Azerbaijan with overwhelming majority.
Perhaps the first years of Heydar Aliyev’s presidential tenure were most crucial. He became a President of the country with almost no army, collapsed economy, internal and foreign rivals, with a neighboring Armenia occupying the districts of the unguarded country one after another.
In a short span of time Mr. Aliyev formed a National Army which was able not only to halt aggression but also liberate a significant part of the occupied lands. Despite of unlimited support from outside, Armenia, having faced great losses, have had to sign a ceasefire agreement on 1994.
One of the main achievements of Mr. Heydar Aliyev that paved a way to the economic revival of the country was his oil strategy. It was based on making politically stable Azerbaijan with further attraction of the Western capital to the exploration of the huge on- and off-shore hydrocarbon reserves of the country and transportation them to the World markets via diversified routs.
On September 20, 1994, the oil contract, later called a “Contract of Century”, was signed with the Western oil companies in Baku. Neither coup attempt nor outside and inside pressures could break a will of the Azerbaijani leader. This contract instilled a confidence to those who were full of doubts about the future of the newly born Republic.
As a part of the strategy it was decided to transport the hydrocarbons through different routs. Thus the Baku-Novorossiysk (Russia), Baku-Supsa ( Georgia) oil pipelines were commissioned. On 18 November 1999, despite of all doubts on its feasibility, an agreement for construction of Baku-Tbilisi-Jeyhan oil pipeline was reached. Thus, Mr. Aliyev undertook the next important step for ensuring a long-term political and economic interests of Azerbaijan.
And finally, on 29 September, 2001, agreement on construction of Baku-Tbilisi- Erzurum gas pipe-line was inked making Azerbaijan one of the important players on gas market.
The visionary Azerbaijani leader took active steps for making country a regional transport hub. An ambitious interstate programme TRACECA aimed at supporting the political development in Black Sea, Caucasus and Central Asia by means of development of the international transport.
The successful integration into the global economy, economic liberalization in the country, Azerbaijan’s growing credit rating, a high level of economic competitiveness, the annually increasing state budget and foreign exchange reserves are strong indications of a stable economy built by Mr.Aliyev since 1993. Development of the non-oil sector is also a result of President Aliyev’s vision. By handing over the land to private ownership, Mr. Aliyev ensured the country’s food security.
As a result of Mr. Aliyev’s activity, Azerbaijan, capitalizing on its geo-strategic, economic and cultural potential, started to play the role of a reliable bridge between the East and the West and become one of the most dynamic economies in the world.
Over a short period of time, President Aliyev managed to turn Azerbaijan, from the country with declined economy, into a country that has embarked on the path of economic and cultural development.
Leader of Azerbaijan introduced a balanced foreign policy, based on the interests of the country. Azerbaijan got integrated into the political structures of the East and West both. His successful foreign policy contributed to the growing international authority of the country, which is now perceived as a reliable partner, and to its promotion as a reformist and ambitious state.
The establishment of Pakistan – Azerbaijan relations is also linked with the name of Mr. Heydar Aliyev. His meetings with the then President of Pakistan Mr. F.A.X. Legari and the Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in1995 and 1996 accordingly, the set of documents signed during the visits, formed a legislative base of our ties. Since that very day our relations dynamically develop in political, diplomatic, economic, strategic spheres to the benefit of both Nations.
Construction of a modern, democratic, law-governed state, development of civil society, return to the national and spiritual values, and development of science, education and culture in Azerbaijan are forever linked with the name of late president of Azerbaijan. The adoption of the Constitution and the principle of powers separation, the alignment of the legal framework and national laws with international standards as well as formation of government agencies are integral parts of the program implemented under the leadership of Mr. Heydar Aliyev.
The role of Mr. Aliyev’s personality is also undeniable in the application of Azerbaijani language as the state one.
That was also during the presidential tenure of Mr. Heydar Aliyev when Islamic values, which were not much welcomed during the Soviet era, started developing. Construction of new mosques, reconstruction of shrines, setting Islamic education institutions goes to his credit .
President Aliyev passed away in on 12 December, 2003. People of Azerbaijan highly value the legacy of their National Leader. 15 June, the day when Mr. Heydar Aliyev returned to Baku is celebrated as a National Salvation Day. Heydar Aliyev Foundation lead by First Lady of Azerbaijan, Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and ISESCO Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva with the main goal to implement large-scale projects and programs in line with the late President’s ideas of Azerbaijan’s progress was established on 10 May, 2004. In the framework of Foundation’s activity abroad, the number of projects in education, health, humanitarians fields in all provinces of Pakistan were implemented.