Pakistan not to back any military action against Iran

Pakistan not to back any military action against Iran

ISLAMABAD - Senior political figures and leading Pakistani thinker said that Pakistan would not become part of any military misadventure against Iran.

They emphasized on the government to strengthen relations with Iran by addressing issues of mutual concern and building trade ties.

They said that Iran and Pakistan should cooperate for greater Asia region. They also stressed upon the need for the implementation of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project for Pakistan’s national interest.

They were speaking at a seminar on ‘Pakistan – Iran Relation: Challenges and Prospects’ organized by Islamabad Policy Institute (IPI). The discussion was held in the context of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent trip to Tehran.

Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost was also present on the occasion.

Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi, in his key note speech, recalled how Prime Minister Khan and the Iranian leadership overcame their communication gap during the premier’s visit to Iran through some candid talk. “It was a very positive visit. Ice has been broken and foundation has been laid for better ties. We now have to build on it,” he said in his assessment of Mr Khan’s maiden trip to Iran.

While pointing out that several countries have continued trading with Iran despite sanctions, the federal minister said, 'We too need to keep our interest supreme and explore ways for completing gas pipeline.'

He noted that absence of banking channels had been a major hindrance in development of ties, therefore a barter mechanism was under discussion for promoting bilateral trade.

Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator Mushahid Hussain, while presiding over the session, said the two neighboring countries enjoyed convergences in geography and culture with Allama Iqbal being the cementing factor; and compatibility of interest.

'There is no incompatibility of interest on core issues,' he underscored.

However, he observed, there were concerns, mostly in security domain, which were being addressed through an ongoing and sustained security dialogue.

Mushahid said Pakistan would never support a military adventure in the region and would not allow its territory to be used against Iran. He opined that scrapping of the Iran nuclear deal was detrimental for global and regional peace.

He thanked Supreme Leader of Iran's Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei for supporting the Kashmir cause.

Pakistan Peoples Party leader Farhatullah Babar hailed PM Khan's candid remarks on terrorism during Iran visit saying relations can be improved only by beginning with a clean slate.

'There should be truth telling on both sides and the issue of ungoverned spaces on either sides of the border need to be tackled immediately,' he said and regretted that in the past this important relationship was mishandled.

Convener of Pak-Iran Friendship Group in Senate Lt Gen (R) Abdul Qayyum said there should be efforts for developing direct air link between Islamabad and Tehran and bilateral trade even if through barter to avoid sanctions.

Gen Qayyum said Pakistan would never support aggression against Iran or its diplomatic isolation and economic strangulation.

Director General Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) Aizaz Chaudhry said that it was incomprehensible that Pakistan and Iran have not fully exploited the potential of their economic cooperation and trade.

He believed that border security issues should have been resolved long ago. These issues, he suggested, can be effectively addressed through security and intelligence coordination.

“There is no option for the two countries, but to improve their bilateral cooperation and coordination,” he emphasized.

Former Foreign Minister and President Pakistan Council on China Inamul Haque called for exploring ways through which bilateral trade can be enhanced with Iran despite the US sanctions and regularizing illegal trade. He also asked for seeing why fencing was required on borders with Iran and Afghanistan.

Executive Director Islamabad Policy Institute Professor Sajjad Bokhari said that Iran and Pakistan always enjoy strong brotherly ties.

He added that border between Iran and Pakistan is the border of peace and both countries have always shown readiness to discuss border issues at the very highest level.

He added that improved border security can help for better understanding on different issues.