US violates human rights by imposing sanctions: Pakistani Minister
-- Pakistan's Minister for Defense Production termed the US anti-Iran sanctions a clear violation of human rights, and said the governments should rise above political policies and cater to humanity rather than going into egoistic political decisions.
Zobaida Jalal, who belongs to Balochistan province in an exclusive interview with IRNA on Sunday, said she is determined to strengthen relations between Iran and Pakistan, especially in the fields of border management, defense, and economic cooperation.
The 61-year-old Pakistani politician was born in Kuwait but grew up in Balochistan and completed her education there. She was a teacher and civil activist before entering into politics.
She belongs to Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and successfully contested the elections. Following the PTI government coalition with BAP, she was inducted into the federal cabinet of Imran Imran Khan as Minister for Defense Production. Previously she had served as Minister of Education for five years under Parvez Musharraf.
**Iranians are a model of resistance and self-reliance
The Minister who inaugurated the second official border between Iran and Pakistan on December 20th with Iran's Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami, during the interview said Iranians are strong and resilient people.
She said despite harsh sanctions and long wars they are progressing in all areas. ”They are resilient people and have become a symbol of self-reliance. The development has never stopped in Iran in spite of these sanctions,” noted the minister.
**US sanctions are selfish
Zobaida Jalal said when humanity comes the first and foremost responsibility of any government is to provide health facilities to its citizens.
She went on to say the US sanctions defy the essence of human rights "so I think when pandemics or natural calamities come the governments should rise above political policies and first cater to humanity rather than going into egoistic political decisions".
The minister expressing her view about the scope of Iran-Pakistan cooperation in the field of defense production said the two countries have traditionally cooperated in the field of human resource development and other educational programs.
“As you know that traditionally we have had human resource development such as training programs, as we have staff college in Quetta, but there is a huge scope of cooperation between the two countries in the area so in a future time will come when we could further strengthen these kinds of human resource development,” said Jalal.
**Opening of the second official border, a new beginning to strengthen ties with Iran
The Minister for Defense Production who last week inaugurated the Rimdan-Gabd crossing as the second official border between the two countries said the opening of the second official border is a new beginning to strengthen ties with Iran.
“Relationship between the two countries has always been there but this is a new start I would say for strengthening the relationship between people to people and relationship as neighbors on issues of trade and economic activities,” said Zobaida Jalal.
She said: It is something that is exciting for both countries and specifically when you look at Balohcistan, cross-border it is the same nation, same people, so after my visit to Rimdan-Gabd on the inaugural of the second official border with Iran, the excitement in the people is really encouraging and the future of Iran-Pakistan ties is very bright.
**Official crossings between Iran and Pakistan gradually increasing
The minister expressing her views said the government of Iran and Pakistan are making efforts to open more official crossings to help the people of Balochistan province of Pakistan.
“When you look at the south Balochistan it is not developed and if you see the geography of that area of Balochistan there are nine districts on the Iranian border which are the most underserved areas of the province,” noted the minister.
She went on to say the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan is for the poorest of the poor of this country and for those citizens of Pakistan who have been otherwise overlooked in the prosperity and progress of the country.
“For us as the Balochs of these districts Iran is a lifeline as historically and traditionally all of our foodstuff comes from there. Quetta the capital of Balohistan is too far away from these areas and even if anything reaches us it would be three-four time higher in price as compared to what is available to other cities of Pakistan,” said Jalal.
She said after the Covid-19 lockdowns and border closures the people of these districts had gone through very tough time, so the decision was taken to open more border points with Iran for more people to people contacts and more legal trade.
“Fencing on one side of the border is also going on so you need specific gates which we normally call ‘rahdari’ from where people to people interaction can take place,” said the minister.
She said the Baloch tribes are living on both sides of the border and they have special permits to cross the border but after converting these ‘rahdaris’ into official international border gateways other Pakistani and Iranian citizens can also cross the border in a proper way.
“In this regards, Pishin-Mand cross-border gateway would be opened and we have also identified four other crossing points along the Iranian border so gradually these will also be opened Inshallah,” said Zobaida Jalal.
Earlier during an exclusive interview with IRNA, on the sidelines of the opening of Rimdan-Gabd border on December 20 said the establishment of four official borders in the border area of Balochistan province with Sistan and Baluchestan province of Iran has been approved by the Pakistani government.
Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA