Zarif opens Iran-Pakistan business forum in Karachi

Iran backs Kashmir cause while telling Pakistan to join Chabahar project

"Our relations with India, just like Pakistan's relations with Saudi Arabia, are not against Islamabad as we understand Pakistan's relations with Saudi Arabia are not against Iran".

Iranian Foreign Minister Dr Javad Zarif on Tuesday reiterated his offer for meeting Pakistan's electricity demand calling his country a "reliable source" for its neighbour to get energy resources.

'Iran is a very important neighbor of Pakistan, and Pakistan and Iran have always enjoyed very good relations; and we are trying now to strengthen that relationship through [not only] trade [and] economic relationship but also at the political leadership level, ' Maleeha Lodhi told the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). "We have also offered Pakistan and China to participate in Chahbahar", Zarif, who is on a three-day visit to Pakistan, said while delivering a lecture at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) on Monday, according to the daily. The move may be seen as Zarif's bid to allay concerns here over the Indian involvement in the Iranian port, Dawn online reported.

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Earlier, while addressing the forum, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah invited Iranian businessmen for investment in the province, mainly in Thar coal projects, wind and solar energy sector and infrastructure.

Sources in India also said that on February 16, the Indian High Commissioner met the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan to lodge a strong protest against multiple acts of hooliganism against Indian properties and personnel. The considerations go beyond economic gain because of the triad of relations between Pakistan and Iran, Iran and India, and India and Pakistan. The first phase of the Chabahar port in south-east Iran, which India is developing, was inaugurated in December previous year.

Zarif's vision for better Pakistan-Iran ties envisaged realisation of the long-delayed Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, establishment of banking ties and signing a free trade agreement. The port opened a new strategic transit route between India, Iran and Afghanistan that bypassed Pakistan.