Pakistan to stand by Iran in case of US aggression: Kasuri

Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri has said Pakistan strictly opposes any expected US attack on Iran, and will stand by Iran if this extreme step is taken by Washington.

Iranian foreign minister’s statement during his recent visit to Pakistan provides testimony to our policy towards Tehran. Pakistan aspires to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue according to the principles of the IAEA, he added.

Kasuri told newsmen here on Saturday neglecting defence would be a suicide in the present scenario and Pakistan would acquire latest technology and defence equipment at all costs to maintain a balance of power in the region.

The deferred purchase of F-16s has started. This was put on hold only for coping with the situation arising out of the Oct 8 earthquake, he said.

He said Pakistan has categorically told the United States that only the latest version of F-16s would be accepted and has also imposed the condition of transferring their technology to Pakistan.

India has made agreements with Russia, the US and other countries to pile up weapons and this situation has forced Pakistan to consider every option for its survival, he said.

Kasuri said Pakistan is examining the situation carefully and we have taken many steps to counter any situation. The entry into the Asean and improving relationship with the EU are some of these steps, he said.

On the Kashmir issue, Kasuri said Pakistan has shown flexibility and the international community has lauded this step. Due to our efforts, Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus service, visits of Kashmiri leaders from both sides and opening of five points at LoC for the relief of quake victims were made possible, he said.

But all this is unilateral and Pakistan has made it clear to India that this was maximum we can do and Pakistan cannot go beyond this. India will have to soften its stand on Kashmir because this issue could be solved only through reciprocal process, he said.

On the recent OIC summit, Kasuri said inclusion of the Kashmir issue in the Makkah Declaration is the distinctive success of Pakistan and every Islamic country has backed Pakistan on this issue.

He said Pakistan also submitted proposals in the conference to make OIC a viable organisation for resolving all the issues confronting Muslim countries.

All the proposals related to Kashmir, Palestine, taking steps to improve the economic condition of poor Muslim countries and promotion of science and technology have been included in the proposed draft of ten-year action plan approved by the OIC, Kasuri said.

This action plan will come under discussion in the OIC summit to be held in Azerbaijan.

He asked the oppositions to make only positive criticism and not create hurdles in the way of organisations and NGOs doing rehabilitation work.

Responding to a question on Israel, he said Pakistan would not restore diplomatic contacts with Israel till it recognises Palestine as an independent state.

Talking about the purchase of two planes for the president and prime minister, Kasuri said the old planes have been grounded on technical grounds. Both the personalities had to travel on hired planes of PIA which is highly expensive.

About the procedure adopted by the government for the distribution of aid among the quake victims, including their rehabilitation, Kasuri said a transparent method has been devised for this purpose and a website has been established for donors to get updates of all kinds about their donations and their use.