POLITICS & POLICY

 

PROFILE SOHAIL AZIZ
COLUMN FOR THE RECORD
POLITICS & POLICY 1- ECONOMIC WARFARE AND VISION FOR PAKISTAN ECO
2- PRESIDENT KHATAMI'S HISTORIC VISIT
SOCIETY 1- SEAT BELT LIMITS MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
2- SADDAR TRAFFIC PLAN

 

PRESIDENT KHATAMI'S HISTORIC VISIT

 

Iran was the first country which recognized Pakistan on partition of the Sub-continent

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From SHAMIM A. RIZVI, 
Islamabad

Dec 28 - Jan 05, 2003
 
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The Iranian Minister who accompanied President Khatami's 3 days historic visit to Pakistan echoed the feelings of his Pakistan counterparts when he said that Iranian President visit will prove a turning points in the relations between the two neighbouring Muslim countries having age old ties, besides trade and commerce, in the filed of culture, art, architecture, faith and language.

As was expected President - Khatami visit proved to be of special significance as it paved the road for normalization of old brotherly relations which remained under some strains in the recent past. This visit of an Iranian dignitary, after a lapse of over 10 years, marked a growing understanding between the two countries on issues of common concern and a return to deep brotherly relations which tied the people of two countries since ages.

Iran was the first country which recognized Pakistan on partition of the Sub-continent. The extent of relationship has been such that during the Pakistan - India war of 1965 and 1971 - Iran provided all out help to Pakistan. Pakistan too has reciprocated in the hour of need of its Iranian brothers. However strains in the relationship appeared in the past decade after the withdrawal of Soviet forces form Afghanistan and advert Taliban rule. Vested interests and Indian propaganda tried to drive a wedge between the two countries. In this backdrop the observers were attaching great importance to the visit of Iranian President with a delegation of over 100 important personalities of his country.

The visit proved to be most timely to have extensive discussion and exchange of view not only on trade and economic issues but the common political and regional Concerns specially in the emerging scenario. Pakistan and Iran discussed an 8 points agenda including the gas pipe line to India rebuilding of Afghanistan regional peace, possible Iranian help in solving Kashmir problem, smuggling of petroleum products in Pakistan and expansion in trade and business relations. Pakistan and Iran singed four agreements and a memorandum of understanding relating to trade and improved economic relations, Plant quarantine, Science and technology and holding of 13th Session of Pak-Iran Joint Economic Commission. The memorandum emphasized the need for further improvement and expansion in economic ties and trade relation. It was unanimously held that there was a room for such improvement considering the deep friendship between the two countries and a great potential for expanding in the fields of economic and trade. It stressed that areas of oil and gas, electricity, joint ventures, setting up of free trade zone, diversity in trade, agriculture and livestock, software technology, auto parts etc. should be explored for further cooperation. Besides the issues of setting of communication network and involvement of private sector in the promotion of trade and commerce, the meeting also reviewed of ECO to promote economic cooperation of bilateral and regional level.

Addressing a joint press conference with Prime Minister, Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, the Iranian leader said that besides economic relations and trade, their talks focused on regional issues, defence, India Pakistan relations and Afghanistan. The Iranian President declared, "We will do every thing possible to remove tension between India and Pakistan. Iran was the first country which contacted President and Prime Minister Vajpayee last year urging to lower their difference and prevailing tension. There is nothing, which cannot be resolved through talks and that is why we say that India and Pakistan should engage themselves in talks to resolve the Kashmir Issue" he said hoping that Pakistan and India would very soon be able to find a solution to their problems, specially the Kashmir issue, on the basis of justice and reasoning. The Kashmiris are being subjected to unbearable atrocities and hardship which must come to an end, he added.

Iranian President revealed that some courtiers were pressurizing Pakistan to abandon its nuclear programme. Without naming the countries, he advises such countries " to press Israel that had hundred of nuclear warheads which are a serious threat to peace and security of the world". Pakistan and Iran, after resolving their difference, are now jointly trying to ensure peace and security in Afghanistan. Our countries can also play a significant role to unite the Ummah", the Iranian leader observed.