Senate of Pakistan

Minutes of the Meeting

December 3, 2012

Minutes of the Senate Defence Committee’s Meeting with a Delegation from Islamic Republic of Iran

December 3rd, 2012

Parliament House, Committee Room No 1

Pakistan-Iran Relations

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Defence and Defence Production

Guest Speaker:
H.E. Mr Alaeddin Boroujerdi , Chairman Standing Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Shura).

Attending Members of Senate Committee on Defence and Defence Production:
(i) Senator Farhat-Ullah Babar
(ii) Senator Moulana Muhammad Khan Sherani

Attending Members of Senate:
(i)    Senator Najma Hameed
(ii)    Senator Kalsoom Parveen
(iii)    Senator Sardar Ali Khan
(iv)    Senator Saeeda Iqbal

The session was preceded by a recitation from the Holy Quran

1. Senator Mushahid Hussain, opened the proceedings with a note of welcome for the honourable delegation stating that Pakistan and Iran have strong political, religious, diplomatic and defence relations. Remembering July 1986 he said that Iranian President was given a huge welcome on his arrival in Pakistan and many Pakistanis were deeply influenced by his profound speech on Allama Iqbal. He asserted that, though India backed out under strong US pressure, Pakistan is committed to building the energy pipeline with Iran since it is a pipeline of peace and prosperity for the region.  Senator Mushahid Hussain told the visiting Iranian delegation that Pakistan rejects any double standards on the nuclear issue and strongly feels that the standoff with Iran should be resolved peacefully, without threat or use of force. He asserted that Pakistan and Iran along with other countries must support an Afghan led peace process in Afghanistan.  Touching upon the problems that the Muslim world is facing today, Chairman Mushahid stressed on the need for a centre for Muslim brotherhood dialogue to resolve issues.

2. Chairman Boroujerdi thanked Chairman Mushahid for his remarks and introduced the Iranian delegation which included Mr. Ali Reza Haghighian, Mr. Esmaeli and Mr. Ali Reza Ayyari. He emphasized that there should be more parliamentary level talks and meetings between the two countries. He noted that the two countries have always stood by each other in difficult times and Iranian nation felt the pain and misery of their Pakistani brothers during recent floods, which is evident from the fact that Ayatullah Khamenai urged the people of Iran to extend utmost support to Pakistan. Mr Boroujerdi stated that Iran was committed to the energy pipeline with Pakistan and also offered to help support the construction of pipeline in Pakistan as well, since, he said, the pipeline from Iranian side was almost complete.

He asserted that Iran is blessed with tremendous oil and gas deposits and would like its neighbours to benefit from these and work for a prosperous region together. He testified that Iran has completed all the phases of development of Uranium and these are purely to enhance knowledge and not to make any arsenal out of them, elaborating further, that the Iranian atomic programme is open to all including the inspection team of IAEA. Islamic Renaissance is moving forward smoothly which would be for the benefit of all, Mr. Boroujerdi emphasized. Referring to the drone spy plane on their country sent by the United States last December‚ he said we brought down this spy plane safely and we made its technology useful for us and very soon it would be available for operation. He lamented that some countries are playing the game of United States in the Middle East thus disrupting the balance of power in the region. Mr Boroujerdi stated that Iran is supplying arms and ammunition to Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad stating the support is purely based on principles and not religious denominations.  He urged for cooperation between the Ulema of the two countries to forge united efforts as all Muslims are one, also suggesting that both countries should exchange their views at the level of parliamentary committees where they can discuss regional issues in a candid atmosphere.

3. This was followed by input from the members of the Defence Committee. Senator Farhat ullah Babar welcomed the honorable guests and appreciated Chairman Boroujerdi’s speech. He said that Pakistan and Iran share many commonalities and Allama Iqbal is one of them. Mr. Babar expressed solidarity with Iran on all issues including the Nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project.

Maulana Mohammad Shiraani termed this visit as a good beginning towards enhanced cooperation between Pakistan and Iran. He said that Iran had been a centre for learning in the past and we must strive to achieve that status again. He endorsed the idea of increased collaboration in business and trade adding that the defence forces and institutions of the two neighbours should also increase their correspondence in terms of discussing security issues for the mutual benefit of both countries.
Senator Kalsoom Parveen raised two important issues with regard to Balochistan. One that Iran has created a permanent border with Balochistan which has made free movement of people very difficult. She also brought to Chairman’s attention the agreement of 11000 megawatt and another of 1000 megawatt of electricity supply from Baluchistan to Makran saying there still exist some doubts about the status of this project.

4. Chairman Boroujerdi thanked all senators for their appreciation and comments. Agreeing with Maulana Shirani’s suggestion to augment defence collaboration, he suggested that Pakistani parliamentarians should visit Iran soon, as Iranian government and people are adamant to build their relations with Pakistan.
Responding to Ms Kalsoom’s queries Mr Boroujerdi said it has already been suggested that legal points should be checked on border areas to facilitate travel so people shouldn’t face any difficulty in going back and forth. With regard to electricity issue, he testified that it is the problem of infrastructure in Pakistan and if Pakistan is able to create a transmission, there should be no problem in supplying electricity to Baloch areas.

5. Chairman Mushahid Hussain Sayed in his concluding remarks said it was apparent that Pakistan and Iran have no conflict of interest and are committed to further strengthening their relations. He asserted that Pakistan-Iran affiliation must be forged ahead through stronger economic, diplomatic and security ties. The meeting was followed by lunch at the Parliament Cafeteria.

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