Chabahar port and Gwadar

Agha Masood

Recently the president of the Islamic republic of Iran has inaugurated one billion dollar project of Chabahar port located in the province of Irani Baluchistan. Pakistan was represented by the Federal Minister Maritime affairs Mr. Hasil Bizengo. The decision of Pakistani government to send the minister at inauguration ceremony was timely and appropriate. Earlier the Inrani Government had requested the Pakistani government to send a delegation at the inaugural ceremony of Chabahar port, which Pakistani government willingly obliged. The President of the Islamic republic of Iran in his welcome address had said the chabhar port is no threat to Gwadar port, rather it will act as complimentary port, He also dispelled the impression that india will use the chabahar port facilities against Pakistan, in no way india can do this while enjoying the facilities to expand its trade to Afghanistan and elsewhere. It may be mentioned here india has provided 258 million dollars for this project, not a big amount but has assured the Iranian leadership that more money will be poured in the chabhar project. Pakistan now should not worry about Indian participation in the chabahar project as the government of Iran is very cautious about her relations with Pakistan as in the past Iran had to face lot criticism about the Spy Gulbhoshen Yadv who promoted terrorism in Baluchistan killing hundreds of innocent people. The spy is now under arrest in Pakistan facing death penalty.
Pakistan now should enhance her efforts to strengthen her economic and political relations with Iran and increase trade to further consolidate economic relations. Currently the trade between the two countries in around three billion dollars which could be increased to 5 billion us dollars. There is immense need to further increase cultural relations between the two countries as also mutual visits by the media person. Hundreds of Pakistani visit Iran every year to pay respect to holy sites located in Iran. Meanwhile Pakistan should take final decision about Gas pipe line project which will help meet the need of energy needs of Pakistan. Iran has built pipe line for the gas from her side while Pakistan has not done so, Therefore Pakistan should not delay this vital project and fulfill the pledge it had made with Iran that it will not further delay it and in case the project is delayed Pakistan will pay the penalty, So far Pakistan Iran gas pipe line is lying in abeyance because of Pakistan is fearing US backlash of USA who is opposed to this project. But now the political scenario has changed in the region, US cannot dictate Pakistan to pursue her independent economic or trade policy. If India can participate in Chabahar project despite her deep relations with US why not Pakistan? I think Pakistan should think in terms of her sovereign interest and not follow the instructions of foreign powers. Iran and Pakistan have some differences on political issues and these differences I think are not complex which can be solved through mutual dialogue between the leaders of the two countries. However it should borne in the mind that Iran and Pakistan are immediate neighbors and should use all energy and efforts to further consolidate their existing relations. In the past Iran has always helped Pakistan and even today Iran wants Pakistan to grow economically and play its part to foster good trade relations in the region. Most Pakistani political parties want to maintain good neighborly relations with iran and appreciate her foreign policy in the region as well globally. Same is true with Pakistani public who believe that iran is a true friend of Pakistan.

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