PM Khan to visit Iran on April 21

Prime Minister Imran Khan will go to Iran on a two-day on April 21, said Pakistan foreign office on Monday. (Reuters)
Updated 15 April 2019
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PM Khan to visit Iran on April 21

  • This will be Khan’s first trip to Iran since assuming office last year
  • Will meet Supreme Leader Khamenei and President Rouhani in Tehran

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan foreign office said on Monday Prime Minister Imran Khan would begin his two-day visit to Iran on April 21 on the invitation of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Ties between the two countries suffered a serious blow in February after Iran said a Pakistani had carried out a suicide bombing that killed 27 members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards near the border with Pakistan.
Iran has repeatedly blamed Pakistan for sheltering militants connected with attacks in the border area, although February’s remarks were the first time Tehran has said Pakistani citizens were directly involved in the attack. Pakistan denies all charges.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan will pay an official visit to Iran on 21-22 April 2019 on the invitation of President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, His Excellency Hassan Rouhani,” the Pakistani foreign office said in a statement. “This will be the first visit of the Prime Minister to Iran.”
The visit will include a brief stopover in Mashhad before Khan goes onwards to Tehran for bilateral talks with Iranian leaders, including Supreme Leader Seyed Ali Khamenei and President Rouhani. Khan will be accompanied by a high-level delegation including the ministers of finance, human rights, maritime affairs, commerce and others.
“The Prime Minister will also meet members of the Iranian and Pakistani business community in Iran,” the foreign office said.
Last week, Pakistan sent two C-130 planes with relief goods to Iran after heavy floods killed at least 70 people and displaced hundreds of others.


Pakistani politicians, analysts appreciate Saudi Crown Prince’s stance on regional peace

Updated 17 June 2019
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Pakistani politicians, analysts appreciate Saudi Crown Prince’s stance on regional peace

  • The Crown Prince’s recent statement reflects his wisdom and restraint, says Senator Sehar Kamran
  • International community must act to defuse situation in the Middle East, maintains senior analyst Zahid Hussain

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s major political parties and analysts on Monday appreciated Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s statement that the Kingdom did not want a war in the Middle East.
In an interview last week, the Crown Prince also called for a decisive international position against Iran.
“At this very critical moment, the demonstration of restraint by the Saudi Crown Prince is very much appreciated. This shows his wisdom and rationale,” Senator Sehar Kamran of the Pakistan Peoples Party told Arab News, adding: “I believe the entire world will applaud the statement. We must give peace a chance and support efforts for political solution to all outstanding issues.”
“The international community can play an important role in reminding Iran of the consequences [of war] and help initiate a dialogues process to prevent further escalation of tensions in the region,” she continued.
Kamran said the recent attack on a Saudi oil tanker was a serious issue and must be strongly condemned.
“Every nation has the right to protect its sovereignty and national assets,” she noted. “Iran must act as a responsible state. A transparent investigation of the attack by the United Nations and collective wisdom on the issue will be the best option.”
Echoing her sentiment, Romina Khurshid Alam of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party also welcomed the Crown Prince’s statement.

“Our party leadership has always advocated for peace in the region and supports Pakistan’s role as a mediator to resolve all outstanding issues,” she said.
Omar Sarfraz Cheema, the central information secretary of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, told Arab News that “the PTI strongly condemns attacks on Saudi facilities by Houthis.”
He recalled that the Pakistani leadership had expressed its desire to play a mediator’s role for peace and stability in the Middle East.
Last week, Cheema told Arab News that Prime Minister Imran Khan had already urged the Houthis to engage in “meaningful dialogue” with Saudi Arabia to resolve the conflict. “This is a divisive issue for the whole Muslim world and should be resolved through negotiations,” he added.
“Peace is essential for the development of countries in the Middle East,” former Pakistani ambassador Rizwan-ul-Haq told Arab News. “Any country which upsets the tranquility and peace of the region must be invited to explain its position to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and asked to change its stance in a unanimous and decisive way.”
“We should sit together with transgressors and find a diplomatic solution before resorting to extreme measures,” he added.
Veteran Pakistani political commentator Zahid Hussain said that “the attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf and oil facilities in the Kingdom have created a serious security situation in the Middle East and there is an urgent need for the international community to act and defuse the situation.”
“The Crown Prince is right that war is not an option,” he added.