Iran wants to be part of CPEC: Rouhani

| Stresses need for defence, economic cooperation with Pakistan | Says Pak security, development is theirs | Suggests Tehran can install a power plant on Pakistan border | PM hands over dossiers of Indian atrocities to Ban Ki-moon

NEW YORK - Expressing complete convergence of bilateral, regional and international issues, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani yesterday lauded the vision of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for translating China-Pakistan Economic Corridor into reality and expressed his country’s resolve to be part of this mega economic activity.

He made these remarks during his meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly’s 71st Session. Rouhani also extended an invitation to Prime Minister Sharif for visiting Iran, which the latter accepted happily.

The two leaders expressed unanimity that CPEC was vital to the progress of the region. They were of the view that Gwadar and Chabahar were complimentary to each other, shunning all negative propaganda unleashed by vested interests. They were confident that commissioning of CPEC would boost regional trade manifold.

The Iranian leader expressed great enthusiasm during the meeting and went on to say: “Pakistan’s security is security of Iran. We consider Pakistan’s economic development as ours”.

Exploring areas in which Pakistan and Iran could closely cooperate, President Rouhani asserted the two brotherly countries could work together in the field of defence and added the future of Iran and Pakistan was similar and bright.

The Iranian leader suggested Iran can install a power plant on the border with Pakistan to supply electricity. “We consider Pakistan’s economic development as our development. There is a history of defence cooperation between the two countries and it is needed today,” the Iranian president averred.”

In addition, President Rouhani said: “There is also immense need for cooperation between Iran and Pakistan in the field of science and technology; we need to benefit from each other’s strong points in science and technology.”

It may be pointed out that opportunities for bilateral cooperation in the field of energy, especially oil, gas and electricity were also discussed. The two sides noted that progress on Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and electricity import from Iran would help overcome Pakistan’s energy shortage in the coming years.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, reciprocating the sentiments expressed by the Iranian leader, said he would nominate two focal persons who would finalise energy projects with Iran.

The prime minister was assisted among others by Sartaj Adviser on Foreign Affairs Aziz, Special Assistant to PM on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry. The two leaders had last met during President Rouhani’s visit to Islamabad this year.

The prime minister apprised the Iranian leader of Indian brutalities in Kashmir, particularly in the past two months. “The people of Jammu and Kashmir have been victims of heinous acts of state-sponsored terrorism at the hands of Indian occupation forces,” he affirmed.

The prime minister shared the latest Kashmir situation which continues to remain tense in the wake of the uprising that surfaced in response to Indian barbaric acts in the Valley and stressed the need for building unity and cohesion within the Muslim world, particularly at the time of such a great deal of turmoil.

Later, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and handed over dossiers of Indian state crimes against the innocent Kashmiri people struggling for the liberation of their occupied territory.

The dossiers included the pictures of the innocent and defenceless Kashmiris victimised through brutal use of force. The UN Secretary General expressed his shock while seeing the pictures of the victims of pellet guns being used by Indian occupying forces.

The prime minister briefed Ban Ki-moon about gross human rights violations being committed by India that have resulted in over 100 deaths and injuries to thousands during the last 74 days.

Nawaz Sharif, it may be recalled, has sent letters to the leadership of P-5 member states as well as the UN Secretary General to draw attention of the international community to the Kashmir situation and call upon India to immediately end violence in the Valley.

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