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April 1, 2018

‘Iran, Pakistan likely to emerge as strong economic partners’


April 1, 2018

Dr Kamal Kharrazi, head of the Strategic Council of Foreign Relations and Iran’s former minister of foreign affairs, said on Friday the people of Iran and of Pakistan had deep-rooted religious and cultural bonds.

With the improvement in diplomatic and political ties, they would come closer and the bilateral trade and economic cooperation would increase to the benefit of both sides, he said while speaking at a roundtable discussion on bilateral, regional and international issues with members of the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA).

Besides a delegation of Iranian scholars and the Iranian consul general in Karachi, senior media persons, writers and intellectuals participated.

Dr Kharrazi noted that there were ups and downs in the relations at the government level, but through the ongoing dialogue on different issues, including trade and investment, the two neighbourly Muslim nations would come closer and emerge as strong supporters on many fronts.

“A free trade agreement (FTA) is under negotiations, and if successful, there will come a big change,” he remarked, adding that Iranians and Pakistanis had great respect and love for each other. He said these two nations could not be separated and there was a big economic potential on both sides. The bilateral trade and economic cooperation could grow a lot, he added.

To a question, he admitted that the bilateral trade volume was low for certain reasons. The absence of a banking channel between the two countries was one of the main hindrances, and Pakistani banks were hesitant to start their operations in Iran due to foreign political pressure, said Dr Kharrazi.

Referring to the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, he said Iran had laid the pipeline up to a few kilometres from its border with Pakistan at a cost of billions of dollars, and it was waiting for Pakistan’s action.

He recalled that Iran and Pakistan had been extending support and assistance to each other in difficult times.

Dr Kharrazi said that he had visited Pakistan’s main cities forty years ago (in December 1978) to share the message of Iran’s revolutionary leader, Imam Khomeini.

Iran’s former minister for foreign affairs strongly rejected that his country had made interventions in other countries and said Iran worked only for unity among the Muslim.

Iran also supported the Iraqi government against Daish, he said but made it clear that his country would not hesitate to support any country who opposed Israel.


Five criminals held, drugs and weapons seized in raids

By our correspondent

The paramilitary force announced the arrests of five more men on Saturday over charges of involvement in various crimes, as well as the seizure of weapons.

In an intelligence-based raid on an under- construction house in Surjani Town’s Yaroo Goth, Sindh Rangers’ personnel seized a huge cache of weapons, which allegedly belonged to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-London (MQM-L).

The Rangers has been spearheading a successful targeted operation against heinous crimes in Karachi since September 2013.

The spokesman for the force said in a statement the seized weapons were two submachine guns, an MP5, a 30-bore mouser, four 30-bore pistols, a 12-bore repeater rifle and a 12-bore shotgun. Three SMG magazines and around 1000 bullets of different calibres were also found in the raid, he added.

The spokesman said the weapons would have been used in committing target killings and creating uncertainty in the city.

Paramilitary soldiers conducted a raid in the Docks area and arrested Mohammad Naveed alias Machi. He was wanted in connection with a 2017 robbery at Kameela Bakery situated in the Gizri area and several other robbery cases.

In raids carried out in Tipu Sultan and Gizri areas, four men, identified as Mohammad Javed alias Mota alias Mama, Mohammad Amir alias Mota, Sultan Ahmed and Mohammad Danish – were caught. They had been allegedly operating a drug den in their areas.

Weapons and narcotics were said to have been seized from the possession of the four, who were later handed over to police for further legal proceedings.

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