Pak, Iran tested partners

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Salahuddin Haider

Karachi—In an illuminating discourse the Iranian ambassador to Pakistan Hunar Dost made it abundantly clear Thursday that that the two countries were “tested friends and partners”, and impressions persisting in some quarters here about his country’s objection to Islamabad’s ties with Saudi Arabia, was “entirely misplaced”
“Not at all”, he told a luncheon meeting of the Karachi Council on Foreign Relations, that such suspicions were deliberately created, but there was no “truth in that”. His was an honest assessment of the situation, bold and courageous, and helped clear many a misconception that has often led to clouded vision about Teheran’s intentions.
Agreeing that smuggling and illicit trade has often been a handicap for the two countries, he revealed that experts of the two countries will meet “within two weeks” to help overcome the problem. Iranian border guards had repeatedly apprehended illegal traffickers trying to sneak through its territory to Europe and other States.
He said the two countries, bonded by fraternal ties, shared same destinies, same culture, historically linked through a language, which was sweetest in the world, spoken or written, with smallest of vocabulary, but widest of meaning. Persian is indeed a rich language, which had common heritage for Pakistanis and Iranians.
He rejected with disdain American sanctions, still continuing in one form or the other, and unhesitatingly stated that Iran being a major State in the region, would never be cowed down with any kind of pressures. It pursued an independent foreign policy, cared about the Islamic world, and treated Pakistan as “brother”—a philosophy unambiguously emphasized by the Iranian President Hasan Rouhani during his visit to Pakistan last month. His words were clear, for he made it plain to the world that “ Pakistan’s security is Iran’s security” and vice versa.
Ties with America, Hunar Dost said were “not good”, suffering clearly from lack of optimism. Iranians had faced sanction courageously, but never bowed down to pressures. America, he said, had failed to comprehend the real face of Iran. Simultaneously, he said, many European companies had been exploring investment potentials in Iran.
Removing the impression about Iran’s tilt towards India, he said some 200 Irani students were still studying in Pakistan. Bilateral relationship should not be at the cost of any country. Iran’s relations with India, was not against Pakistan.
Trade, he agreed needed to boost between the two countries, which also demanded improving banking system. He added that Iran had one of the largest oil and gas reserves in the world. Iran had completed its share of gas pipeline to Pakistan, and was even ready to build parts of this project in Pakistan at a cost of 5 million us dollars.
However, he felt happy that both countries had agreed to raise their trade volume to 5 billion US dollars in next five years. Hasan Rouhani’s visit to Pakistan, second by an Irani head of State after 14 years, was indeed significant, and should help strengthen the historical ties between the two countries.
“The horizon of our relationship is clear and shining” he concluded a speech that left lasting impression on those present. The meetings of KCFR, an organization, founded in 2013, has grown in stature over the years, working for peace and harmony in the world through think tanks. Its secretary general Ahsan Mukhtar Zuberi, reviewed the Council’s activities, recalling with genuine pride that his organization, was picked among the four NGOs to sign a memorandum of understanding with an Iranian counterpart in the presence of President Hasan Rouhani, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. For this he was grateful to Iranian ambassador also for cooperation.
He recalled that Iran was the first country to recognize Pakistan, and likewise President Ziaul Haq was the first to recognize the Islamic revolution in 1979 of Imam Khomeini.
The chairman of the Council ambassador Shahid Amin highlighted the strong bond Iran-Pakistan relationship and also surveyed the global situation, while Admiral ® Shahid Kareemullah, former chief of Naval Staff proposed a vote of thanks.

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