Bilateral ties to remain unaffected, Iran assured

ISLAMABAD: The army assured Iran on Wednesday that bilateral ties would remain unaffected.

The assurance was extended to Iranian Ambassador Mehdi Honardoost by Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa during a meeting at the General Headquarters.

Extraordinary importance is being attached to the meeting by diplomatic circles here because it was the second between the two in around six weeks, a rare happening in Pakistan-Iran relations given the mutual mistrust.

“Pakistan greatly values historic Pak-Iran relationship and the same shall continue based on mutual trust and respect for each other’s interests,” Gen Bajwa told Amb Honardoost.

The assurance was extended to Iranian ambassador by Gen Bajwa during a meeting at GHQ

The context of the meeting may help understand the agenda though both sides were tight-lipped about the issues discussed at the meeting. The Iran embassy had last week protested what it saw as a “vilification campaign” involving a confessional statement of Lyari gangster Uzair Baloch.

Uzair is accused of sharing sensitive information with Iranian intelligence. The 13-page self-written confessional statement of Uzair about his involvement with Iranian intelligence services emerged hours after late-night tweets last week by Inter-Services Public Relations chief Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor. Uzair is set to be tried for espionage by a military tribunal.

The Iranian embassy had warned that the campaign was aimed at damaging public opinion about Iran and would be taken as “contrary to the spirit of friendship and brotherhood between the two nations”.

Last year Iran was blamed for the stay of Kulbhushan Jadhav, an operative of Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing, in Chahbahar before his capture in Pakistan.

Moreover, Iran has been uneasy about Pakistan’s participation in a Saudi-led military alliance. It expressed reservations about retired Gen Raheel Sharif being named as top commander of the alliance, which is now taking shape.

The latest meeting between Gen Bajwa and Amb Honardoost took place amid reports that Pakistan was considering the deployment of 5,000 troops in Saudi Arabia.

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