Iran envoy calls for broadening the scope of ties with Pakistan

Islamabad, Dec 11, IRNA – The ambassador of Iran to Pakistan has called for broadening the scope of ties between the two countries, pointing out Iran’s potential to become a major seller of electricity to Pakistan, as well as that in shipping and aviation.

Mehdi Honardoost in an interview with local media also expressed his approval at the direction in which ties between Pakistan and his country are moving following the meeting between Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa and President Hassan Rouhani.

He, however, emphasized that “time is gold and the movement and action should be faster”.

He said improved border management was the top priority in all talks between the two countries. “This was one of the most important items on the agenda during the visit of Gen Bajwa to Iran,” said Honardoost.

“As you know, some terrorist groups bypass the border [check posts]. Exactly seven months ago, they attacked some Iranian guards who were on the route of the drug traffickers, killed them all and kidnapped one and brought him back to Pakistani territory,” he said.

'My government did not believe that the Pakistani authorities were in any way complicit in such activities', he said, attributing them largely to criminal groups who took advantage of the long and difficult to patrol border.

About the Iran-Pakistan natural gas pipeline, Honardoost said that Pakistan needed to fulfill its obligations under the agreement and complete its portion falling in Pakistani territory.

“We have spent $2 billion to build our portion of the pipeline,” he said.

“This is not the right time to discuss the price. First complete the obligations under the agreement by building the pipeline, then we can talk about the price,” he said.

The ambassador confirmed that no fresh commitments were given by the Pakistani side in the talks in Tehran regarding the pipeline, and reiterated that the ball was now in Pakistan’s court.

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