Pakistan, Iran to strengthen ties: Maleeha


Iranian Foreign Minister Moammad Javad Zarif addressed the opening of Iran-Pakistan joint business forum on Tuesday in Pakistani port city of Karachi. Iran would not allow anybody to hurt Pakistan from its territory, much like Pakistan would not allow its soil to be used against Iran, he said, while delivering a lecture at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) yesterday, according to Dawn newspaper. "I hope that they (Saudis) have the same feeling and be ready to bridge the differences", Zarif said in a press conference in Islamabad, Pakistan. Iran's offer may also be seen as a move to placate Pakistan's deep misgivings over India's long-standing involvement in the Chabahar Port project.

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".

Earlier, while addressing the forum, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah invited Iranian businessmen for investment in the province, mainly in Thar coal projects, wind and solar energy sector and infrastructure. In a new low for ties, India-Pakistan relations are now caught in a vicious cycle of reprisals which was initiated because of, as Indian authorities say, a raid on a residential complex for Indian diplomats by ISI in Islamabad.

The Chabahar Port has given India access to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

He also repeated Iran's commitment that it would not allow India to carry out any activities against Pakistan.

He compared Iran's relations with India to Pakistan's ties with Saudi Arabia.

Zarif said Gwadar and Chahbahar were important projects for developing deprived areas of eastern and southeastern Iran and southwestern Pakistan. "We are taking measures to do that and there is an open invitation to Pakistan to participate in that", he said. After years of trying to make the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline a reality, Iran and India had given up on Pakistan.

Chabahar is said to be becoming a success story in the India-Iran relationship. In November 2017, India delievered the first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan through the Chabahar Port.