Pak Senator urges govt to expand ties with Iran

IRNA – Pakistan’s Senator and former interior minister emphasizing importance of Iran-Pakistan border cooperation has called upon the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan to promote bilateral relations with Iran in all areas.

Rehman Malik in an exclusive interview with the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) said that the government of Pakistan should keep good relationship with Iran.

He said that Iran and Pakistan are two neighboring countries which have been enjoying lovely relationship. “When I was interior minister, we were in such a good terms that we used to visit Iran a lot,” he recalled.

“I also had an opportunity to meet the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei who is very simple and a man of wisdom,” he noted.

Rehman Malik added, ‘The government of Pakistan should keep good relationship with Iran and I am glad that the visit of the Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif went very well and I hope that Pakistan government would play a prominent role not only to keep good relationship between Iran and Pakistan but also we should try to reduce tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia also.’

“We should behave like one Ummah instead of having polarization within us,” noted the Parliamentarian.

To a question about Iran’s nuclear deal with the Western powers and the US’s decision to withdraw from it, he said once the deal was done after so much handwork, withdrawing from it is not a wise decision. “Normally international agreements are not revoked the way the JCPOA was revoked by the US,” Malik stated.

Replying to a question that Iran and Pakistan being two major Islamic countries have been under constant pressure by the Western powers, the lawmaker said that Pakistan has been very unlucky that despite giving full support to the West and the USm the country is still suffering and terrorism because of American war in Afghan has spread to Pakistan.

“Justice has not been done to us despite we have lost 70,000 civilians and I think that the commitment made by the West to us should have been fulfilled,” said the politician.

Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior answering a question on Iran-Pakistan border security and stopping terrorists from exploiting the border to carry out their activities said when he was the interior minister he inspected the joint border by himself and was surprised to see that there was no fence on the border.

“We have to regulate the border and make sure there is no entry without a passport,” said the former interior minister. He said that both Iran and Pakistan should think together and work out a doable way to control the border.

“We are fencing the Afghan border so why this could not be done on Pak-Iran border,” added the Senator. He said that earlier we had enhanced patrolling from both the sides to secure the border so we should continue in the same manner and help each other.

To a question about Pakistan’s possible a role in normalizing Iran-Saudi ties the lawmaker said Pakistan treats every country equally, yes Saudi crown prince visited Pakistan and we welcome that but I cannot ignore that Iranian foreign minister also came to Pakistan and he was accorded respect and honor in Pakistan. “We should become a bridge between Iran and Saudi Arabia,” he believed.

He added irritants between Iran and Saudi Arabia should be identified and Pakistan can do best in the scenario. The politician said that better Iran-Saudi ties would benefit the whole of Muslim Ummah. He warned that West is exploiting the differences between the Muslim countries.

The Senator said that all Muslim countries should sit together and talk about their future generations and development of the countries.

To a question on the presence of Daesh in Afghanistan, Rehman Malik said it is a real threat for the region adding that regional countries must cooperate with each other to encounter the threat of Daesh.

To another question he said that we expect that Iran being our friendly country can play a mediatory role to reduce tensions between Pakistan and India. “We want peace and there should be mediation,” he said. He said that tensions should be de-escalated.

Parliamentarian went on to say that ‘we are very happy that Iran is trying to play its role to defuse Pak-India tensions and foreign minister of Iran is very active in this regards.’

He warned that any war in the area would engulf the whole world but it should not happen and we should resolve all our issues through dialogue. Malik viewed that Pakistan and India should sit together and fight against poverty and diseases.

Former minister said the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project is done specifically for this region but the US has been opposing that.

He said that Chabahar is very close to Gwadar and if Iran and Pakistan sit together for cooperation on CPEC it would be very good for both the countries. He said that Iran and Pakistan can also launch ferry service to enhance their bilateral ties.