Pakistani president to visit Iran on March 11

Pakistani president to visit Iran on March 11

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari will visit Iran's port of Chabahar next Monday to attend the inaugural ceremony of Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, an informed Pakistani source said.


Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Ahmad Khan said at the weekly news briefing in Islamabad Thursday that several heads of states have also been invited to attend the inaugural ceremony, IRNA reported.

He said Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources is working out details.

He rejected the impression that Pakistan was in a fix over the project due to foreign pressures and said the project being in our national interests we are committed to go ahead with it.

The spokesman said Pakistan is aware of concerns of the United States and some other countries about the project, but hoped that they would understand Pakistan's economic compulsions in this regard.

Responding to a question, he said discussions are also going on with Iran about setting up of an oil refinery at Gwadar in Pakistan's Balochistan.

The spokesman also confirmed that Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf would pay a personal visit to Adjmer Sharif shrine in India on Saturday. He said no talks are yet scheduled on the occasion with the Indian leadership.

Asked to comment on Indian Prime Minister's allegations that Pakistan was not doing enough against terrorism, he said Pakistan condemns terrorism and extremism in all its forms and manifestations. He said that it is a common threat and requires a common strategy and cooperation amongst all countries of the region.

As for Mumbai attacks, he said Pakistan has repeatedly told India to provide proof that could stand scrutiny in the court of law as mere statements are not enough.

The spokesman said Pakistan wants resolution of all issues with India through dialogue, including the recent incident on the Line of Control. He said Pakistan has even gone to the extent of offering investigations under the mechanism of UN system.

About grant of MFN status to India, he said Pakistan Government is committed to its decision in this regard, but the two countries have to complete the required processes first.

When his attention was drawn towards reports that India wants Pakistan to seek NOC for construction of water reservoirs in Azad Kashmir or Gilgit-Baltistan, the spokesman said Pakistan doesn't need any NOC from India. This position has also been supported by the latest verdict of the international court of arbitration in Kishan Ganga dispute.

He, however, added that under provisions of Indus Basin Treaty, India is under obligation to inform Pakistan beforehand if it wanted to build any structure on three Western rivers meant for Pakistan.

Responding to a question, he said there was an understanding with the United States for initiation of case against Raymond Davis for killing two Pakistanis in Lahore, but so far no such development was in his knowledge.

Asked to sum up five year foreign policy of the present Government, the spokesman said the focus has been on improving relations with regional countries, including India and Afghanistan. He said it is also pertinent that the Government involved the Parliament in the formulation of the country's foreign policy

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