Pak warns West against attacking Iran over N-row

"When it comes to our relations with Iran, we have only seen a better relationship", said Pak Foreign Minister Khar.

Updated: Feb 21, 2012, 22:23 PM IST

London: Pakistan has cautioned the West
against attacking Iran over its nuclear ambitions, saying it
should learn the lessons from the Iraq war.

"The West should learn the lessons of the lead-up to the
Iraq war while attempting to confront Iran over its nuclear
ambitions," Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar
warned.

35-year old Khar, who is on a four-day official visit to
Britain, said Iran had not taken a belligerent stance towards
its eastern neighbours, even as it had raised tensions across
the Gulf and against Israel and the West.

"When it comes to our relations with Iran, we have only
seen a better relationship," she was quoted as saying by The
Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Iran maintained that it was solely interested in civilian
nuclear capabilities and wanted negotiation not confrontation,
she said.

On Pakistan`s bitter dispute with NATO over cross-border
attacks on its armed forces from Afghanistan, Khar said
America would have to accept and accommodate itself to
whatever rules Pakistan`s parliament sets out for bilateral
ties later this year.

A top panel of Pakistan`s parliament is reviewing US-Pak
ties after the November NATO cross-border attack resulted in a
major diplomatic row between them.

On the reconciliation process in Afghanistan, she
underlined there are "sometimes unreal expectations" in terms
of what Pakistan can do.

Despite pushing for direct talks between America and
Afghanistan`s Taliban for years, Pakistan has reacted angrily
to suggestions that it can force factions it harbours to the
negotiating table.

"Clearly there are sometimes unreal expectations in terms
of what Pakistan has or can do and what Pakistan cannot," she
said.

"We have to make clear to "President Hamid Karzai that
whatever he and his government do it is up to us to assist
him. The objective is peace and stability in Afghanistan. We
would love to be on the sidelines, so we could concentrate on
our own issues, our own challenges," she said.

On Pakistan`s ties with the UK, the report said relations
with Britain were strong enough to withstand the impact of the
"very consequential" attack by NATO forces at the Salala
checkpoint, just over a mile from the Afghan border.

The foreign minister said the dispute with NATO over
cross-border attacks in November last year, will not derail
co-operation with the British security services in the run-up
to the Olympic Games.

According to the report in the British daily, the UK
views Islamic extremists trained in Pakistan as the likeliest
source of a "lone wolf" attack on the 2012 London Olympics and
has sought intelligence assistance from Islamabad to try to
prevent any atrocity.

"We have very intensive co-operation and it is becoming
more and more strong. We are getting the right results. In the
minds of the average Pakistani our relationship with the UK is
seen in a positive light - that is not true for all our
Western partners," Foreign Minister Khar said.

Indeed Khar said she called British Foreign Secretary
William Hague for advice and support after the cross-border
NATO attack that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

"With William Hague I have that type of relationship I
can pick up the phone and discuss any international or
regional issue, get his views," she said, adding "I called to
share with him the detail of the incident, also get his
opinion and let him know how hard it was for Pakistan to deal
with this."

As a youthful, modern face of Pakistan, Khar said it was
her mission to challenge perceptions of the country`s foreign
policy that "were carved in stone".

She said the message was a demonstration that Pakistan`s
view of the world had changed more fundamentally than
outsiders believed.

"I think what I say is more important than what my age is
and what my gender is," she pointed out.

According to the report in the UK daily, British
intelligence services rely on Pakistan to track and intercept
radicals moving between Pakistan training camps and Britain.

The security services maintain close operational ties to
Pakistan`s Inter-Services Intelligence and provide training to
the country`s police officers.

PTI