MULTAN/ISLAMABAD - Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi hoped on Sunday that the curbs being imposed on Iran would not affect Pak-Iran gas pipeline agreement. Rejecting concerns over the gas line project, the Foreign Minister, while addressing a news conference here at Multan Airport, said that the agreement was the need of Pakistan in view of loadshedding and energy crisis. But delivering any final statement on this issue will be premature. We want this agreement to sustain. We have to look after our interest but at the same time we dont want to violate international laws, he added. He said US special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke was also asked the question on the same issue but he kept mum as the American team was not clear whether or not this agreement came under UN sanctions. Meanwhile, US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke has asked Pakistan to wait for the upcoming US legislation for the imposition of new and stricter sanctions over the energy companies of Iran, just hours after his remarks that US has nothing to do with Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline deal. On Saturday, during a press briefing jointly addressed by Holbrook and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the US Envoy uttered that his country had no objections to recently signed Pakistan-Iran Gas Pipeline project. However, a day later, Holbrook took a U-turn from his earlier statement and warned that Pakistan gas pipeline deal with Iran could be banned by the US in the days to come. We cautioned the Pakistanis to try to see what the (Congressional) legislation is before deciding how to proceed because it would be a disaster if ... we had a situation develop where an agreement was reached which then triggered something under the law, said Holbrooke on Sunday. However, Pakistans Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit while setting aside Holbrooks twisting remarks said that the gas deal would not be affected and Pakistan would go ahead with the deal to meet its energy needs. Basit told this correspondent that the oil and gas sectors were not a part of UN sanction over Iran. However, he said that the sanctions imposed on Iran were imposed by the Security Council, and that Pakistan would respect the sanctions. Following the recent statement, foreign policy expert opined on Sunday that it seemed as if Pakistan had not talked to US about gas deal with Iran formally. The statement given by Holbrook was a clear indication that the US was not happy with that deal and did not want Pakistan to pursue it, said some foreign policy experts when contacted. On the other hand, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi answering another question in Multan, said no discussion was held on installation of reactors by China during his meeting with Holbrooke. He suggested to the journalists to go through a 'short but comprehensive statement issued by Chinese Foreign Office on this issue. According to Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, American government has permitted import of Pakistani mangoes to US. He anticipated that Multan would become hub of mango export in coming years as mango pulp plant had been installed in industrial estate while an international airport was also being constructed. Answering yet another question on Benazir murder case, he said it was a matter of utmost national importance and no one could neglect it. But we dont want to commit witch hunting. We want to do justice. We need efforts at national level besides international assistance to resolve this case, he added. He said that the investigation was underway and still many persons were to be questioned. To a query on Kerry-Lugar Bill, he said the payment of installments from US had begun under five-year programme and the focus areas for spending this aid were energy, health, education, women empowerment and social sector. We have identified projects and ideas besides deciding as to how much and in which sector funds will be spent every year, he added. He stated that a review meeting was convened in Islamabad during which the heads of all departments were given opportunity to engage with American delegation. Weve planned to hold 11 sectoral engagements out of which seven are held while the rest of four will be completed till July 9. Well compile the outcome of this engagement in form a dossier and send it to US foreign secretary Hillary Clinton, he said. He said Ms Clinton was due in Pakistan in July and the final decision on to-be-executed projects would be made with her consultation. According to him, the Indian foreign secretary is coming to Pakistan on June 24 to hold meeting with her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir. The motive behind this exercise is to chalk out initial sketch of upcoming July 15 meeting between Pakistani and Indian Foreign ministers, he added. He further disclosed to the mediamen that Indian interior minister Chidambram plans to visit Pakistan on June 25 during which he would call on his counterpart besides holding meeting with him (Shah Mahmood). He said that both the sides wanted to raise some issues. Pakistan neednt get defensive. Weve terrorism issue to rise with India. Well present our viewpoint strongly. Well also talk on water issue, he said. He asked the nation not to pin hopes with upcoming meetings with Indian officials and adopt a realistic approach. He said trust deficit existed on both the sides-Pakistan and India. He said the upcoming meetings would play important role in bridging the existing gap. He said normalcy in relations with India was in favour of Pakistan. If we get relief on eastern front, well be able to focus on western border, he added. He said the situation vis-a-vis western border affected national economy and it forced the government to impose a cut on public service and development fund and spend it on security issues. Answering a question on Kyrgyzstan crisis, he said the foreign office took immediate steps on the direction of president and prime minister and evacuated all the students from there in 24 hours. He thanked Kyrgyz government and Pakistan Air Force for their cooperation in evacuation of students. He said the future of evacuated students was safe and steps would be taken for them after consulting their parents. Referring to a report compiled by a professor of London School of Economics on ISI-Taliban links, he described it rubbish. He said the British and American governments, US State department and Gen Petraeus had also rejected this report. Agencies add: Pakistan should be wary of committing to an Iran-Pakistan natural gas pipeline because anticipated US sanctions on Iran could hit Pakistani companies, the US special representative to the region said on Sunday. Talking to reporters on Sunday, the US special representative flip-flopped on his earlier statement, warning Pakistan against signing the gas pipeline deal with Iran. Pakistan has an obvious, major energy problem and we are sympathetic to that, but in regards to a specific project, legislation is being prepared that may apply to the project, he said, referring to the pipeline. We caution the Pakistanis not to over-commit themselves until we know the legislation. Pakistan is plagued by chronic electricity shortages that have led to mass demonstrations and battered the government. US Senator Joseph Lieberman said last week he expects Congress to finish shortly legislation tightening US sanctions on Iran that will include provisions affecting the supply of refined petroleum products to Tehran, and add to sanctions on its financial sector. Lieberman, an independent, is a member of a House-Senate committee of negotiators working on final details of the bill and said it could pass by July 4. The $7.6 billion natural gas pipeline deal, signed in March, doesnt directly deal with refined petroleum products and was hailed in both Iran and Pakistan as highly beneficial. The US has so far been muted in its criticism of the deal, balancing its need to support Pakistan, a vital but unstable ally in the global war against al-Qaeda, with its desire to isolate Iran. But the legislation could be comprehensive enough to have major implications for Pakistani companies, Holbrooke said. We caution Pakistan to wait and see what the legislation is. Iran and Pakistan last week formally signed an export deal, which commits Iran to selling natural gas to its eastern neighbour from 2014. Iran has already constructed 907 kilometres of the pipeline between Asalooyeh, in southern Iran, and Iranshahr, which will carry natural gas from Irans giant South Pars field. The pipeline was originally planned to connect Iran, Pakistan and India, but the latter pulled out of the project last year. Pakistan plans to use the gas purchased from Iran for its power sector. This was Holbrookes tenth trip to Pakistan since President Barack Obama appointed him special representative to the region. His visit followed a series of working groups this week that are part of the US-Pakistan strategic dialogue, which both countries say will lay the groundwork for a new relationship. Afghanistan was on the agenda in meetings with the Pakistani leadership, Holbrooke said, including talks on a Pakistani role in talks between the Afghan Taliban and the Kabul government. But the United States would not support Pakistan pushing the Haqqani network, one of the strongest factions of the Afghan insurgency and mostly based in Pakistans North Waziristan, into talks with Kabul as Washington sees the group as intransigent, brutal and too tightly allied with al-Qaeda. The United States has said any groups wishing to lay down their weapons must renounce al-Qaeda and agree to participate peacefully in the Afghan political process. Its just hard to see that happening, Holbrooke said of the Haqqani network. Holbrooke acknowledged that Pakistan was trying to fight the Haqqani network in North Waziristan. The Pakistanis are trying to deal with this problem, they are well aware of it and even in the area in North Waziristan there is some activity going on, but there is a lot more that could be done if the resources were available. Regardless of what happens in Afghanistan, he said, the United States would remain engaged with Pakistan. Pakistan matters in and of itself. Whatever happens in Afghanistan, the US cannot turn away from Pakistan again, he said. We are not going to repeat the mistakes that occurred - at least not on our watch - of the last 20 years.