SIALKOT

Iranian Consul General in Pakistan Mohammad Hossain Bani Asadi has said that the fate of Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project will be decided during an important meeting between the Iranian President and Pakistani Prime Minister scheduled to be held during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's proposed visit to Iran.

He stated this while replying to a question raised by SCCI SVP Mian Muhammad Anwar in Q & A Session during an important meeting of Sialkot exporters held at Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) here on Tuesday.

SCCI President Dr Sarfraz Bashir, SVP Mian Muhammad Anwar and Vice President Khawar Sapal were also present on the occasion.

The Iranian envoy said that nothing could be said about the present status of Pak-Iran Gas Project, either it was alive of dead project now. He said that under the agreement signed by both Pakistan and Iran, the Iran had established as many as 950-km long gas pipeline in Iran by spending billions of Dollars. He said that unfortunately, Pakistan did nothing as its share in the project under the agreement due to some unknown reasons in this regard.

He said that a stipulated period of next three years would be required to complete this project if the Pakistan re-takes it today. He said that an important meeting of Pak-Iran Joint Economic Commission would be held at Tehran-Iran in April 2014, where both of the brotherly Islamic countries would discuss and solve all the trade related problems.

Hossain Bani Asadi said that Iran was keen to enhance mutual trade relations with Pakistan, besides, pledging to remove all the hurdles for promotion and strengthening mutual trade ties between Pakistan and Iran.

Addressing a meeting of SCCI, he pledged to motivate the Iranian businessmen to buy Sialkot-made export products including sports goods and surgical instruments directly from Sialkot-Pakistan instead of purchasing these export products from the other countries on high prices.

The Iranian Consul General announced business visas to Sialkot businessmen within no time on the recommendations of the SCCI.

He said that there were bright opportunities to start joint ventures in different trade fields including energy, gas, electricity, textile, livestock, agriculture, sports goods and surgical instruments with Sialkot exporters.

He also offered Sialkot exporters to hold single city industrial exhibition of Sialkot-made products in different industrial cities of Iran. He also assured easy and smooth access of the Sialkot exporters to Iranian markets.

Earlier, addressing the meeting, SCCI President Dr Sarfraz Bashir said that both Pakistan and Iran were eager to expand bilateral cooperation in diverse fields to benefit from each other's expertise. He said that Pakistan and Iran had not been able to build their relationship on an economic footing. The trade figures are not encouraging. He stressed the need to take some immediate and drastic steps to increase bilateral trade. SCCI President added that Sialkot-made products have definite demand in the Iranian market. He sought active cooperation of Iranian Envoy for better market access, saying both countries should import directly from each other rather than buying from indirect sources.

Meanwhile, Iranian Consul General Hossain Bani Asadi visited Iqbal Manzil (the birthplace of Allama Iqbal, the Poet of the East) in Sialkot amid tight security. He showed keen interest in the personal things of Allama Iqbal and in his and his family's rare pictures displayed there.

The Iranian Envoy paid rich tribute to Allama Iqbal and said the teachings of Allama Iqbal were like a beacon of light to maintain tolerance, peace and stability in the society. He said that Allama Muhammad Iqbal was one of the great men of Islam who dreamt for Pakistan, where brotherhood, social and economic justice would prevail. Mohammad Hossain Bani Asadi said that the nation owed freedom and independence to the vision of the great visionary Allama Muhammad Iqbal and the best way to pay tributes to Iqbal was to understand his message and imbibe his teachings.