Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi claimed that Iran scuttled its Chabahar project with India because Tehran was uncomfortable with New Delhi’s stand on several issues

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on July 23 said Iran threw India out of the Chabahar project due to its wrong policies. rebuts the false and fabricated claims by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, on the basis of facts and figures. It also exposes Islamabad’s visceral hatred against India even as it is wedded to ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam,’(the world is one family), an ethos which was very much in display when it supplied medicines to more than 160 countries, including Pakistan to fight off the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a media statement, Qureshi said India faced “expulsion by Iran in Chabahar project due to its wrong policies.”
Iran has already made it clear that Tehran and New Delhi are very much engaged in the Chabahar project. On July 20, Indian ambassador to Iran, Gaddam Dharmendra and Iranian Deputy Minister of Roads and Chief of the Middle-East country’s Railways, Saeed Rasouli met in Tehran and reviewed ongoing cooperation on the Chabahar-Zahedan railway project. During this meeting Iranian Minister Rasouli categorically stated that vested interests are behind reports that Iran excluded India from the Chabahar-Zahedan railway project.

Besides, the Pakistani Foreign Minister should know that IRCON, India’s public sector undertaking, which was appointed by the government of India to assess the feasibility of the Chabahar-Zahedan railway project has already completed the site inspection and review of the project’s feasibility.

At the 19th India-Iran Joint Commission meet in Tehran in December 2019, detailed discussions were held on all aspects of the project, which also took into account the financial challenges that Iran was facing.

As regarding the Chabahar Port, it should be known that a long-term commitment from 2003 was finally operationalized in 2016 during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Iran. “Since then, despite difficulty posed by sanction situation, there has been significant progress in the port project,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.

Since December 2018, an Indian company has been operating the Chabahar Port. So far, 82 vessels have been handled there, including 52 in the last 12 months. In terms of cargo, the port has altogether handled 12 lakh tonnes of cargo and 8200 containers. “Productive measures are currently underway to increase the uses of the Chabahar Port,” Anurag Srivastava said.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Qureshi said India was spoiling its relations due to a “Hindutva mindset.” He also said that “the so-called impression of a ‘Shining India’ is over now owing to incumbent government policies of hatred and bias.”
Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baquer Qalibaf recently said Iran and India have close and deep cultural ties in the ancient Asian continent, and hence, they should not be allowed any third country to negatively influence their relations. “We should not allow any third party to influence the profound and historical relations of Iran and India,” Qalibaf was quoted by the Iranian news agency IRNA as saying.

The Iranian Parliament Speaker also maintained that the collaboration between Iran and India at the regional, international and non-aligned levels has been effective. Not only that, he said trade relations between the two countries have a cultural and historical background.

Pakistan should know India is today enjoying a close relationship with all members of the United Nations, including Islamic countries of the world. Had religion been the basis of India’s statecraft, the country would not have received the support of 184 countries out of 192 UN members for the non-permanent Security Council seat.

Pakistani Foreign Minister should not forget the humiliation that his country suffered at the recent Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) meet. At the OIC meet held in May-end at the UN, Pakistan was shouted down by Maldives, the UAE and Saudi Arabia when it tried to garner Islamic countries’ support by raising that India was promoting Islamophobia in the country. Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Munir Akram wanted to form a small informal working group to take collective action against India at the world body on the issue of Islamophobia. The UAE rejected this demand, leaving Pakistan’s Permanent Representative stunned.

Foreign Minister Qureshi said that during the forthcoming visit of president-elect of the UN General Assembly, Ambassador Volkan Bozkir, Pakistan would apprise the visiting dignitary of the situation in India’s Jammu and Kashmir where, he said, human rights situation is the worst in the world.
Today, the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is enjoying all-round development. Youth who were earlier lured in by Pakistan-based jihadi groups to join terrorism, have rescinded the path of violence and militancy. This can be easily assessed from the fact the number of terrorist incidents have dropped from 223 during January-May 2019 to 78 in the same period in 2020. But then the number of small arms recovered from terrorists in the first five month of this year stood at 77, while the recovery in the entire 2019 was 71. This shows the government’s attempt to use every means to do away with militancy and its backers in the Union Territory.

In terms of development, the government is aiming at individual level growth in the region. For this focus is laid on creation of employment opportunities and other avenues for youth for their individual progress. Attempts are also being made to push youth towards sporting activity. Several reports suggest that while people living in Jammu and Kashmir are very happy with their life, residents of Pakistan occupied Kashmir feel unhappy and disappointed with the life they lead.

A recent study conducted by Professor Dheeraj Sharma, Director of the Indian Institute of Management, Rohtak and Professor Farah Arif of the Lahore University of Management Sciences, about life of people in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan occupied Kashmir, shows glaring gap in residents’ life they lead in their respective regions. A total 1,425 individuals surveyed across Jammu and Kashmir in India and Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. A whopping four out of five people in Jammu and nearly seven people in Kashmir stated that they were happy with their lives, but nearly three in four people were pleased with the governance of their region, particularly the educational institutions, healthcare facilities, infrastructure development and employment opportunities available to them. On the other hand, every second person in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), and four out of every five persons in Gilgit Baltistan reported that they were not satisfied with their lives.

Therefore, the Pakistan Foreign Minister needs to first look into his country’s position on human rights of people of PoK.