ISLAMABAD - Disregarding risks of US sanctions, Pakistan Thursday said it would pursue the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project that is enormously important for the country.
“Yes, there are some issues, but Pakistan is determined to have this project to meet the national energy needs,” Foreign Office Spokesman Muazzam A Khan said in response to queries during a weekly press briefing.
Mr Khan was asked for his comments on a Wall Street Journal report that Pakistan risks imposition of stringent US and UN sanctions if proposed Iran-Pakistan pipeline deal goes through.
“We are least bothered about the US position. Our position about the proposed project is very clear that it was in the best national interest of the country,” the spokesman said. He conceded that Pakistan has an understanding or arrangement with the US and Nato that all of their supplies will pass through Pakistan.
On drone attacks, he said Pakistan’s stance is very clear. “We consider them illegal and counterproductive and a violation of our sovereignty. It has been a constant topic of discussions with the Americans at all levels. We hope that we would be able to resolve this issue bilaterally,” he added.
Answering another question, he said that Afghanistan has assured Pakistan that it would hand over senior Pakistani Taliban commander Maulvi Faqir Muhamamd, who was arrested in Afghan province of Nangarhar.
He said Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar had talked to her Afghan counterpart Zulmay Rasool and demanded Afghan government hand over Maulvi Faqir and other terrorists wanted for their involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan.
He also hoped that all those engaged in anti-Pakistan activities while being in Afghanistan would be captured and handed over to Pakistan.
When his attention was drawn towards trilateral meeting of India, US and Afghanistan held in New Delhi on Tuesday, he said that Pakistan was totally committed to a peaceful Afghanistan.
“Any initiative that would help achieve this objective, we support it. Let me state it very clearly that any initiative taken in this regard should be solely focused on this very objective, i.e. peace, stability and prosperity of Afghanistan.,” he added.
To another question, he said that Foreign Office has written a letter to the government of UAE on the instructions of the Supreme Court for extradition of former Ogra chief Tauqir Sadiq who is wanted for his involvement in a huge corruption scandal.