0516 GMT December 05, 2021
Speaking to Iran Daily in a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of Pakistan’s Defense Day, Pakistani Ambassador to Tehran Noor Muhammad Jadmani congratulated Iranian people and government on the nuclear agreement that he believes has laid a concrete foundation for expansion of Tehran-Islamabad ties, particularly in the economic sector.
Western sanctions caused the annual Iran-Pakistan trade nosedive to $210 million from previous $1.2 million, regretted the envoy, blaming the sharp plunge on lack of banking channels.
Pakistan is an energy-deficient country, he said, adding his country has already started constructing the pipeline from the end point, not the border point. Even in the absence of the prospect of a nuclear accord and removal of the embargoes, Islamabad had been [and still are] committed to its completion.
“By the time the sanctions are fully lifted, we will have the pipeline in place,” vowed the ambassador.
The Iranian side is also strongly committed to the project, he said.
Commenting on the delegations exchanged between the two sides in the past few weeks, Jadmani added, “We had quite a few visits. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has recently visited Pakistan twice, the last of which was paid almost two weeks ago. Mutual cooperation in this regard is going on well. A number of Pakistani economic delegations have also recently traveled to Iran.”
Pakistan is holding talks with the Iranian ministries of industries; economy; and agriculture to expand cooperation, he added.
Islamabad intends to grasp all opportunities to create a win-win situation in ties with Tehran.
Asked about Iran’s earlier pledge to fund IP pipeline, he said, “It was not that kind of an arrangement. At that time, we were looking for all available international funds. We even sought assistance from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank or any other financers who would have come. Iran, at one point, offered assistance but then subsequently due to its international relations and financial situation it could not step forward. Fortunately, there is a Chinese company which has already been awarded a contract to start the IP project.”
Pakistan is eagerly waiting for removal of the sanctions, he said.
Addressing the ceremony prior to the interview, Jadmani said, “This special day reminds us of the indomitable courage of the people and the Armed Forces of Pakistan. Today, we pay tribute to our brave men and women who have laid their lives in the line of duty to preserve our values, way of life, regional peace, security and stability.”
Over the years, the Armed Forces of Pakistan have progressed and maintained high standards of commitment, proficiency and professionalism, he said.
“With a humble beginning at the time of Pakistan’s independence in 1947, they are now formidable enough to safeguard the country’s national interests and counter threats to our national security. Over the last decade our valiant soldiers have been engaged in a counterterrorism campaign. In this fight, the Armed Forces of Pakistan have lost over 3,000 brave sons and daughters, including senior military officers.”
On the international scene, he added, Pakistani men and women have also been serving in peacekeeping missions all over the world since 1960.
In the ceremony, the messages of Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain were also read out.
He concluded pursuant to national policy, the Armed Forces of Pakistan maintain cordial relations with those of friendly countries.