Feb 20, 2021, 2:05 PM
Journalist ID: 2053
News Code: 84236092
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New regional bloc with Tehran-Islamabad’s participation, imminent: Pakistan MP

Islamabad, Feb 20, IRNA -- The head of Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly stressing need to strengthen Iran-Pakistan ties says a new powerful bloc with Tehran-Islamabad’s participation is imminent.

Malik Muhammad Ehsan Ullah Tiwana in an exclusive interview with an IRNA on Saturday said Pakistan is making decisions keeping view its national interests adding that some countries may try to put pressure on us with loans or grants, but this method will not work.

The 56-year-old politician who currently chairs the parliament's foreign affairs committee says we want to form a powerful new regional bloc with the Islamic Republic of Iran, China, Russia, Malaysia and Turkey.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government is extremely committed to develop relations with its neighbors, especially the Islamic Republic of Iran, a policy which is also backed by military leadership,” he noted.

**Iran-Pakistan parliamentary friendship group becomes more active

The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Pakistani Parliament stressed the role of parliaments in assisting the governments in formulating effective policies to develop relations with neighbors.

He added the Pakistani Parliament is a strong supporter of strengthening relations with the friendly and brotherly country of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He said Iran-Pakistan parliamentary friendship group has become more active.

Tiwana went on to say unfortunately, the Corona pandemic has affected the exchange of parliamentary delegations of the two countries, but we are determined to activate this practice in near future.

"Strengthening relations with Iran is the only acceptable solution for us, and even the Imran Khan government has faced some external pressure, even to oust those officials who are working for friendship between Iran and Pakistan, but such moves could not impact the determination of Islamabad,” he pointed out.

He said relations with Iran during the government of Imran Khan have made significant progress. “The two countries share common positions on many regional and international issues. We have a similar view on the issue of Kashmir and Palestine,” he noted.

The lawmaker expressing his views said Pakistan has always supported Iran's position at regional and international forums and is trying to resolve the existing misunderstandings of some countries with Tehran.

Malik Muhammad Ehsan Ullah Tiwana stated Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan made important trips to Tehran and then Riyadh for mediation. He reminded the Saudi rulers of the importance of the Islamic Republic of Iran's valuable position in the region and called for resolving regional problems.

**Securing common interests depends on Iran-Pakistan economic cooperation

Referring to the activation of the second official border with Iran, the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee said facilitating trade with Iran is on the agenda of the Islamabad government.

He described the US unilateral sanctions as a serious obstacle to trade, financial exchange or banking cooperation between Iran and Pakistan, adding the volume of our joint trade is not at an acceptable level and we must take effective steps to achieve this goal.

He said Pakistan-China Joint Economic Corridor (CPAC) project is a capacity for Iran and Pakistan to exploit each other's markets.

Malik Ehsan Ullah stressed the Pakistani parliament supports the increase of exchanges of parliamentary delegations and public relations with Iran because this will help develop trade and economic relations between the two countries.

"We are determined to legalize trade with Iran, especially in the border areas," he said. He noted trafficking is a phenomenon against the interests of Iran and Pakistan and will have negative consequences, including the challenge of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

He added the elements involved in trafficking are definitely opposed to the development of legal trade on the Iranian-Pakistani border, so the legalization of economic cooperation is in the interest of both countries.

**The need to lift anti-Iran sanctions / Biden should not follow Trump's footsteps

The parliamentarian said during Obama administration, we saw a slight reduction in tensions between Tehran and Washington when the nuclear deal was signed but this path did not continue and the former US president took an aggressive approach against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

He said the current US President Joe Biden has a different approach as compared to Donald Trump, but what is needed is the immediate lifting of sanctions on Iran.

He added: The Islamic Republic of Iran suffered a lot due to US sanctions, but never succumbed to coercion or external pressure.

“For this reason, today we see the support of many countries in the world to the positions of Tehran and that the Iranian side has been committed to fulfill its promises,” said Ehsan Ullah Tiwana.

The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee said that he could not forget the history of Trump's adventures and tense actions towards Iran, but Biden can restore the lost credibility of the United States by adopting a multilateral approach, diplomacy and lifting unilateral sanctions.

“On the other hand, dealing with Tehran is in Washington's interest, and this requires the wisdom of the US government,” he viewed.

**End of the Yemeni war requires action, not American words

Senior member of the Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan's ruling party, lamented the tense situation in the Middle East and the unrest in Islamic countries such as Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Libya adding that we need practical steps to resolve all these issues.

"Americans are always interested in their own interests, so there is a long way to go to end the unrest in the Middle East or the end of the Yemeni war. In fact, the powers behind the Yemeni war are the only major decision-makers to end or continue this war,” said the lawmaker.

Ehsanullah Tiwana stated unfortunately, differences between Islamic countries, or rather members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, have also made the situation extremely fragile.

“The Zionist lobby in the United States and the attempts of some Arab states to normalize relations with Tel Aviv have also affected the whole situation,” stated the politician.

**Coordinated Tehran-Islamabad steps inevitable to bring peace in Afghanistan

The head of the Foreign Affairs committee said the coordination of Iran and Pakistan for bringing peace in Afghanistan is of paramount importance.

He noted the current situation in Afghanistan and the escalation of violence is only in the interest of the Taliban.

He added the lifting of sanctions on Iran will not only pave the way for regional peace, but will also contribute significantly to the peace in Afghanistan. “Sustainable peace and stability will enhance Afghanistan's position and enhance regional ties,” said the lawmaker.

Malik Ehsan Ullah Tiwana stressed peace in Afghanistan requires coordinated steps by Tehran and Islamabad.

In the end, he added Iran and Pakistan are two influential countries in the region and the Islamic world that can have cooperation beyond the current level.  

“In addition to promote Islamic unity and confront common enemies, the two countries must increase communication between each other's communities, the interaction of the younger generation, as well as cooperation between Iranian and Pakistani educational institutions,” he added.


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