Pakistan dubs trade route linking Chabahar Port as ‘security threat’

Lahore: A former Pakistani defence official has said that the alliance between India, Afghanistan and Iran was a security threat to Pakistan, adding that that he feared that Pakistan is going into isolation.
“In view of the regional and global environment, I see Pakistan falling into an abyss of isolation primarily because of its own mistakes and partly due to the hostile policies of other states,” former defence secretary retired Lieutenant General Asif Yasin Malik said.

According to Dawn, Malik blamed the situation on the ‘dysfunctional Foreign Office’ and the absence of a full time foreign minister.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office also views the Chabahar port positively with Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz saying at a press conference earlier on Thursday that Pakistan did not see Iran’s Chabahar port as a rival and that Pakistan was in fact exploring the possibility of developing links with Gwadar.

At the event earlier, retired Lt-Gen Nadeem Lodhi said the existence of such a ‘formidable bloc’ in the neighbourhood had ‘ominous and far reaching implications’ for Pakistan.

He feared the three-nation bloc will affect Pakistan’s plans for regional economic integration, restoration of internal peace and maintenance of peaceful borders.

“It will also affect CPEC timelines. We need to break out of this encircling move with help from friends… diplomatic manoeuvres and by forging a strong deterrence,” he said, adding that of the three countries, Iran is most likely to pay heed to Pakistani concerns.

He suggested Pakistan use China’s influence for fixing problems. “Iran must not be further alienated and its interests in CPEC should be developed,” Lodhi said.

He said that the defence and strategic relationship with China should be formalised instead of an unwritten understanding.

Other speakers also deliberated on national security and asked the government to broaden its conception of challenges and risks and to respond to them proactively.

Air University Registrar Ghulam Mujadid said that the eminence of security in national priorities is reflected in the four military takeovers in the country and the ‘ascendancy of military in political, internal and foreign policy decision making’.

“Pakistan needs to correct this strategic myopia. A survivalist mindset about national security dominates the political discourse and continues to be the central pillar in Pakistan’s strategic calculations,” he said. (ANI)