Sunday, 21 October, 2018


Pakistan, Iran to strengthen ties: Maleeha

Iran invites Pak China to join Chabahar project Pakistan, Iran to strengthen ties: Maleeha
Bennie Garza | 14 March, 2018, 11:44

Meanwhile, Zarif has invited Pakistan to participate in the Chabahar Port project that connects India to Afghanistan, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, a leading Pakistani daily reported on Tuesday. The port opened a new strategic transit route between India, Iran and Afghanistan that bypassed Pakistan.

'Iran is a very important neighbor of Pakistan, and Pakistan and Iran have always enjoyed very good relations; and we are trying now to strengthen that relationship through [not only] trade [and] economic relationship but also at the political leadership level, ' Maleeha Lodhi told the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

A statement issued by Pakistan's foreign office following a meeting between Zarif and his counterpart Khawaja Asif on Monday said both sides had "reiterated support for the peaceful struggle of the peoples of Palestine and Kashmir for their right to self-determination".

Zarif also added that the Chahbahar should be liked with with the Gwadar Port as he sought to allay concerns here over Indian involvement in the Iranian port.

Relations between Pakistan and India have historically been tense, and the tensions aggravated under the BJP government. Iran's handing of the port's operational control to India was disappointing for Pakistan and taking part in Chabahar may engender problems moving forward.

Irans Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who is on a three-day visit to Islamabad, said the Chabahar port project was not meant to "encircle Pakistan. strangulate anybody". To underline this, he pointed to Pakistan's relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran's single major foreign policy irritant in its neighbourhood.

Earlier on Saturday, Islamabad had accused India of harassing its diplomats and their families in the country and threatened to pull out the families if the intimidation did not stop.

However, sources in New Delhi said India has repeatedly requested Pakistan to mutually ensure that High Commissions are allowed to do their job in an atmosphere free of harassment and intimidation, that staff be allowed to work and that construction projects get completed on time.

In this context, India's not likely to be pleased with the Iranian foreign minister's comments.

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