Chabahar, Gwadar ports complementary to each other: FO
The Foreign Office Thursday downplayed the Iran, India and Afghanistan”s endeavour to apparently use Iranian Port Chabahar for bilateral trade, saying Pakistan does not regard it as an alliance against the country and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). “We do not regard it as any kind of alliance against us. Our trade with Afghanistan, Iran and China continues as before,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said, while responding to the media queries in his maiden press briefing after formally assuming the office.
When asked to comment on the first shipment of Indian wheat to Afghanistan via Chabahar Port, he said, “Transport of wheat and other commodities to Afghanistan is nothing new, as Pakistan has been traditionally providing goods to Afghanistan.” He stated that it is Pakistan”s consistent position that Afghanistan as a landlocked country has a right of transit access through any neighbouring country according to its needs.
On Chabahar Port, he reiterated, what the Iranian said earlier stated, that “Chabahar and Gwadar Ports are complementary [to each other] in nature.” On Sunday last, India sent first shipment of wheat to Afghanistan via Iranian Chabahar Port, calling it a “landmark moment.” Earlier on October 25, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said in New Delhi that his country will not be a part of the CPEC unless the Afghan trucks are given direct access to Pakistan”s Wagah and Attari border for trade with India.
To another query about US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson”s remarks that the US has given Pakistan another chance to fight terrorists” safe havens, Dr Faisal said Pakistan has contributed with both blood and treasure in the fight against terrorism and made significant gains through its effective counterterrorism operations.
“We reject baseless allegations of safe havens. We have repeatedly conveyed to the US leadership that it should refrain from making unfounded assertions,” he said, adding Secretary Tillerson has also appreciated the need for intelligence cooperation between the two countries.
When asked about the reported exchange of terrorists” lists between the US and Pakistan, he said he was not aware of any specific list of prisoners or terrorists between the two countries, adding all issues of mutual interest including counterterrorism and regional situation had come under discussion during the recent interactions with the US.
Commenting on the US government”s offer to help in resolving Kashmir dispute, he said Pakistan had welcomed the statements by the US officials since Pakistan had also been making consistent efforts to reach out to India with a view to lowering the temperatures.
“It [India] has resisted third country mediation, which indicates India”s defiance to the peaceful means for dispute resolution, as envisaged in the UN Charter,” he said, adding the Jammu and Kashmir dispute can only be resolved through implementation of relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, which to date, have remained unimplemented.
He said the people of IoK had been struggling for the just right to self-determination, as envisaged in the UNSC Resolutions, for the past 70 years. He stated that the Jammu and Kashmir dispute had three parties namely Pakistan, India, and Kashmir. “All three parties must hold a dialogue under the ambit of UNSC Resolutions to resolve the dispute in an amicable manner,” he added.
Reacting to Afghan ambassador”s remarks, he said QCG was an initiative facilitating talks between Afghan Taliban under shared responsibility, adding the forum agreed that members would continue to work together for efforts for peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. “In fact the QCG emphasized the need for Afghanistan to bring out its own national reconciliation plan for taking the Afghan reconciliation process forward. Spirit of QCG has not been to blame one another,” he added.
On TTP chief Mullah Fazlullah, he said Pakistan had raised concern on his ease of mobility within Afghanistan, and the fact that he had used Afghan soil to perpetrate terrorism within Pakistan, with Afghanistan, the US and at all relevant forums. He stated there were examples of terrorist attacks in various parts of Pakistan including Lahore, Sehwan Sharif, Parachinar and Quetta and “we have serious concern over it.”
Regarding abduction of Afghan deputy governor in Peshawar, he said the Afghan deputy governor was on a private visit and no prior intimation was given to Pakistan. “We were approached by the Afghan embassy regarding the incident. All efforts are underway to trace his whereabouts,” he added.
On Iran”s construction of concrete wall along its fence within its border, he said the construction of any facility on the borders had to conform to the bilateral agreements between the two sides. “There are clear guidelines under these bilateral agreements, which should be adhered to. Pakistan is closely engaged with Iran on this issue,” he added.
Source: Business Recorder