Pak warns against aggression on Iran

Islamabad: Any aggression against Iran over its nuclear programme will have "disastrous consequences" for the whole region, Pakistan`s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has warned. Pakistan will not support any military intervention in the region, Khar said. "This region cannot afford further aggressions," she told journalists during an interaction at Multan in Punjab province yesterday.

Khar reiterated that Pakistan would go ahead with a gas pipeline project with Iran despite pressure from the US to abandon the venture. She said the project offered a quick solution to Pakistan`s burgeoning energy crisis. At the same time, Islamabad will also pursue the Turkmenistan-Pakistan-Afghanistan-India pipeline project, she said.

Khar`s remarks came in the wake of President Barack Obama`s comments that the US will use force against Iran, if necessary, to stop it from acquiring a nuclear bomb. Several American leaders, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have called on Pakistan not to go ahead with the pipeline project with Iran as it could be hit by sanctions.

Referring to relations with India, Khar said Pakistan is committed to resolving all outstanding issues, including Kashmir. "No issue has been put on the backburner," she said.

Khar said her recent visit to Afghanistan helped remove many misunderstandings. President Hamid Karzai has been assured that Pakistan will help the Afghan government in "reaching out to the Taliban" for peace talks, she said. She rejected allegations that Pakistan was linked to the instability in Afghanistan.

"They (NATO) must realise that we cannot afford to destabilise our own country… It`s not in Pakistan`s interest to create problems for the foreign forces fighting terrorism in Afghanistan," she said. A decision on reopening NATO supply routes, closed since a cross-border air strike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last year, will be made by parliament, she said. "Parliament will approve new terms of engagement with the US," she said.