ISLAMABAD - National Security Adviser Nasser Khan Janjua on Tuesday said that Pakistan and Iran can connect Asia with other regions and the world.

Talking to an Iranian delegation led by Head of Strategic Council on Foreign Relations Kamal Kharrazi here at his office, NSA said that Iran is a fraternal neighbouring country with the blessing of common faith, history and culture.

He said that our geography and our geo-strategic location are our biggest asset and our essence of progression. We have every reason to be together, he added.

Kamal Kharrazi said that we both need to work together and translate our challenges into opportunities.

He expressed strong desire of Tehran to connect Iranian communication networks with Pakistan.

He said that in fact Pakistan and Iran are facing common challenges due to prolonged instability in Afghanistan.

Both sides appreciated peace offer made by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. They urged the warring sides to make use of the offer to seek an enduring peace for Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, National Security Adviser Nasser Khan Janjua while addressing a "Gold Medal Awards 2018" ceremony said that Pakistan Army has defeated all the elements that are posing a threat to the country's security.

He paid rich tributes to all those who laid down their lives while safeguarding their motherland from the enemies. The adviser said Pakistan will be the most prosperous country of the region in the future.

He said China Pakistan Economic Corridor project is our half dream and with the inclusion of peaceful Afghanistan and Central Asian states, the dream will be fully materialised.

He said Pakistan always supported peace in Afghanistan.

STRONGER PAK-IRAN TIES NEED

OF THE HOUR: SPEAKERS

Pakistan and Iran were urged to strengthen ties amid the changing geo-political environment of the region that could affect both neighbours.

Speakers at a conference held here on Thursday said Pakistan and Iran should address each other’s concerns to take the relations forward. The conference was organised by the Islamabad Policy Institute, a local think tank, on ‘Pakistan and the Regional Security in West Asia’. The conference was held to examine the emerging security situation in the region.

In his address, former chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani stressed the need for a multilateral approach, involving Pakistan and Iran, for regional peace and security.

He, however, underscored that Islamabad and Tehran would have to be mindful of each other’s concerns. He noted that the border issue, which had been a major irritant in bilateral ties because of cross-border terrorist attacks, had been largely addressed.

Rabbani warned about the emerging Indo-Israel-US nexus and maintained that it would determine the course of events in the near future. He also pointed out the “strategic chain” in American threat perception involving China, Iran, and the militant groups and contended that US policies towards the region flow out of that thinking.

Former Iranian Foreign Minister Dr Seyed Kamal Kharazi, in his keynote speech, said that Iran was not oblivious to Pakistan’s security concerns vis-à-vis India specifically its participation in the Chahbahar Seaport project.

He advised China and Pakistan to accept the Iranian invitation for involvement in development and functioning of Chahbahar project. That, he believed, would address Pakistan’s concerns about Indian presence in Chahbahar.

Gawadar, he suggested, would have to be connected with Chahbahar under Chinese One Belt One Road initiative.

Dr Kharazi also emphasised on stronger security and intelligence cooperation between Iran and Pakistan. He said that this could help tackle terrorism but would also have a positive impact on the stability of the region.

He appreciated Pakistan’s impartiality in Middle Eastern Affairs but criticised the Saudi-led coalition against terrorism describing it as an anti-Iran bloc.

He asked Pakistan to address Iran’s security concerns as well especially on its Eastern borders. He called for strengthening Pak-Iran economic ties and people to people contacts.

Defence analyst Dr Shireen Mazari said Iran would have to make hard choice of whether to support US design for the region by being a partner of India, the US ally in the region, or have cooperative relations with Pakistan, which too is under pressure from US.

Dr Mazari said Pakistan’s parliamentary resolution on Yemen was being disregarded by the government. “A lot of questions are hanging on Pakistan’s role when the threat is coming closer to home,” she said adding Pakistan’s resolve to stay out of Middle Eastern mess was weakening.

Iran’s Ambassador to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost recalled the upward trajectory in Pak-Iran ties over the past few months and hoped that it would gain further momentum in coming days.

Executive Director IPI Prof Sajjad Bokhari, in his opening remarks, said: “Political divergences, differences in geo-strategic worldview, aggressions and acts of terrorism have aggravated the mutual trust crisis among the regional States”. This gulf, he said, can be bridged through dialogue and confidence building measures.

IPI’s Malaika Raza in her comments said the best way to counter the Indo-Israel-US nexus was to form a “nexus of resistance” involving Pakistan, Iran and Turkey.