Illegal Elections in Nagorno-Karabakh: A Critical Review

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Dr Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan

Somehow, with the hidden help of its allies, Armenia succeeded to capture 20 percent territories of Azerbaijan and brutally killed/assassinated 30,000 of its people and one million were forced to leave their houses in the occupied lands. According to the government data, around 4,000 citizens of Azerbaijan, including 265 women and 67 children are still in captivity of Armenia in the wake of war.

Although elections are one of the important “trinity” of modern democratic system but illegal elections only “provoke” social disharmony, political derailing, economic insecurity and human isolation in the world. Modern civilization witnessed “numerous” incidents where people of occupied territories remained “detached” with the so called parliamentary and presidential elections and the Republic of Azerbaijan is not any exception because its population belonging  to Nagorno-Karabakh region, illegally occupied by Armenia totally rejected the most recently held election’s  “viability”, “validity” and “relevance”. Resultantly, civilized world has now termed it “ashamed” democracy and discarded the recently held elections by the Armenian government.

On its part, the foreign ministry of Azerbaijan issued an immediate statement to denounce the  so-called “elections” and labeled it as illegal which did not have any valid lawful basis and obviously violated the Constitution of Azerbaijan, the charter of the United Nations (UN), and the resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council (UNSC).

“Elections in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan may be held only within the framework of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan and with the participation of the entire population belonging to the said region with free will and complete withdrawal of the Armenian occupying forces from the occupied territories, the return of the displaced Azerbaijanis to their native lands, as well as the restoration of dialogue and cooperation between the Armenian and Azerbaijani communities of the region.

Ironically, no presidential candidates secured the desired percentage and according to Russian media outlet Kommersant will go to runoff “polls” on April 14. However, a political party led by Arutunyan has won the fictitious and engineered elections to the self-designed parliament in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

The illegal regime established by the Republic of Armenia in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan is the result of aggression, ethnic cleansing and racial discrimination; it is under the leadership and control of Armenia,” foreign ministry said.

The governments of the various countries, including United Kingdom (UK), Georgia and Moldova, along with internationals organizations such as the OIC, NATO, GUAM, OSCE Minsk Group and the European Union, as well as the officials of NATO issued statements to denounce the illegal “elections” in the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan as the violation of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and undermining of political negotiations.

Fascist Armenia launched a military campaign against Azerbaijan in 1991 which lasted until a ceasefire agreement in 1994. Three-year war ensured Armenia’s illegal occupation of Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts Lachin, Kalbajar, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Qubadli, and Zangilan. Somehow, with the hidden help of its allies, Armenia succeeded to capture 20 percent territories of Azerbaijan and brutally killed/assassinated 30,000 of its people and one million were forced to leave their houses in the occupied lands. According to the government data, around 4,000 citizens of Azerbaijan, including 265 women and 67 children are still in captivity of Armenia in the wake of war.

In 1993, the UN Security Council adopted resolutions 822 (1993), 853 (1993), 874 (1993) and 884 (1993), condemning the occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan and reaffirming respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and the inviolability of its internationally-recognized borders, it said.

Furthermore, the Security Council also confirmed that the Nagorno-Karabakh region is an “integral part” of Azerbaijan, and demanded the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian occupying forces from all the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.

Armenia notorious for its “state terrorism” “planned ethnic cleansing” and “dirty schemes”. Its caries a “atrocious past” and upholds a “heartless present” due to which people of Azerbaijan living in the illegally occupied territories of Azerbaijan are still “debarred” from the right of self-determination, free choice, participation of entire community, under the prevision of constitution of Azerbaijan after complete withdrawal of occupiers i.e. Armenia from occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and its seven adjacent areas.

Modern democracy is based on “free will” of the people and “complete transparency” of the government’s organs, having free and fair “electoral process” but in case of most recently presidential and parliamentary elections in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia it is a “blatant infringement” of basic human rights of the Azerbaijanis who have been subjected to ethnic cleansing and expelled from their native lands.

The UN, OSCE, other international organizations and the world community have repeatedly condemned the illegal “elections” in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, highlighting the blessedness of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized borders. Pakistan’s parliament and Senate has also strongly condemned illegal occupation of Azerbaijan’s territories by Armenia and demanded its withdrawal immediately.

According to official record the majority of people living in Nagorno-Karabakh are Armenian Christians, but the area legally belongs to Muslim-majority Azerbaijan for centuries. Therefore, holding elections in an occupied territory is not only illegal but also threatens the peace efforts of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group.

Denial of basic human rights, suppression of democratic rights, constant execution of brutal programs and last but not least, state sponsored terrorism will achieve nothing in Nagorno-Karabakh region but worldwide “condemnation”, further “political isolation”, “economic marginalization” and hardship.

Modern international engagements and regional dialogues are derived from the golden principles of international law whereas; most recently elections in Nagorno-Karabakh are against the true spirits of international law. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has already instructed Armenia to withdraw its troops from Azerbaijan territories through its four 1993 resolutions because withdrawal of troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan is a precondition for peace.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) slammed so-called presidential and parliamentary elections held in Nagorno-Karabakh.  It viewed the holding of elections in the occupied region of the Republic of Azerbaijan on March 31, 2020 as in contravention to the relevant UN Security Council resolutions concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The OIC also highlighted the importance of resolutions and decisions of the OIC and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to encourage a “peaceful solution to the conflict on the basis of sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan”.

Armenia unvarying regional annexation and hegemonic designs are potential threats to regional security of South Caucuses and even EU. Unfinished agenda of UN resolutions and UNSC, and constant peaceful persuasions of all the regional as well as global organizations for nonviolent resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh have been intentionally ignoring by the Armenia which has now created “stalemate” in the ongoing negotiation process between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Armenia stands for genocide and does not for democratic generosity wherein, people are given equal rights to vote or business equity. Armenia stands for ethnic cleansing and does not for community development. Last but not least, Armenia is famous for racial discrimination and does not stand for rigorous development.

Furthermore, polluting the concepts of modern democracy by holding “fake”, “fictitious” and “flagrant” elections in occupied territories of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia is nothing but “self-depiction”, “illusion” and disclaimer of bitter realities. Illegal occupation, refutation of international law, denunciation of international resolutions and means of cold-blooded tactics by the Armenia is no service to democracy, development and dialogue but it may geared up regional conflict in the days to come.