Home Latest News Islamabad Committed to Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline Project: FO

Islamabad Committed to Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline Project: FO

Spokesperson says U.S. Congressional hearing on elections had ‘several misunderstandings’ about Pakistan’s election laws

by Staff Report

File photo of Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch

Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch on Thursday asserted that it is in Pakistan’s interest to complete the Pak-Iran gas pipeline project, adding any progress on this matter would be the country’s own decision.

A day earlier, during a U.S. Congressional hearing, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu had claimed Washington was working to prevent the pipeline from proceeding and was “working toward” that goal. He also noted that Islamabad had yet to seek any sanctions relief for the project.

Noting Pakistan was constructing the project in its own territory, Baloch maintained that any decision on whether or not to proceed with it would be solely its own, adding the government was committed to its construction.

To a question on Lu claiming the U.S. was “closely monitoring” probes into alleged rigging during the 2024 general elections, the spokesperson said there were “several misunderstandings regarding Pakistani election laws” during the hearing. She also responded to a question about a proposal forwarded by a U.S. legislator to “swap” Dr. Shakeel Afridi—incarcerated for helping the CIA locate Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden in Pakistan—with Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. “He [Afridi] has been punished by a Pakistani court. Any exchange of prisoners is not discussed in the media,” she said.

On the recent terror attack in Gwadar that was thwarted by security forces, Baloch said militant groups such as the Balochistan Liberation Army posed a threat to the entire region.

Pak-Afghan ties

Referring to Pakistan’s recent tensions with Afghanistan following the martyrdom of seven personnel of the armed forces last week and the Pakistan Army’s retaliatory airstrikes, Baloch noted that Islamabad’s March 18 operation had targeted terrorist bases in Afghanistan based on intelligence information.

“Pakistan did not do this action against Afghan people and army,” she said, adding Islamabad and Kabul had initiated talks after the attack. She said Pakistan had conveyed a letter of protest to Afghan authorities over terrorism emanating from its soil. The foreign minister also expressed his concern to his Afghan counterpart over the phone, she added.

“Pakistan has on several occasions provided details of terrorist hideouts to Afghanistan. The hideouts of terrorist organization TTP are in Afghanistan,” she said, maintaining the Pak-Afghan border was “stable and peaceful” and Islamabad had repeatedly asked Kabul to devise a joint strategy to combat terrorism. Pakistan, she emphasized, prioritizes dialogue on issues of bilateral concern, and it did not “occupy” Afghanistan as it respects its territorial sovereignty. “Pakistan wants better relations with Afghanistan. Our goal is to move forward,” she added.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment