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Ali display picThey were friends when I was a school boy, I had read a lot in my text books about their sincere friendship; Pakistan and Iran; two brotherly countries. Iran was the first ever country which internationally recognized the sovereign status of Pakistan. And when I grew up I came to know that throughout the Cold War, Iran had been strongly supporting Pakistan in its conflicts with India. In return, Pakistan supported Iran militarily during the Iran–Iraq War in the 1980s. The two countries are economic partners in many projects and both are the founding members of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). Every year thousands of Pakistanis go to Iran for Ziarat of Imam Raza’s shrine at Mashhad and other sacred places. Iran is the only country whose cultural centers, Khana-e-Farhang, are working in almost all major cities of Pakistan. But in spite of these entire facts and figures one cannot negate the presence of an unseen wall of strangeness between the two countries. Somewhere in the last May I was in Iran on a ten days official visit. One day while traveling to my hotel in Tehran I asked my Irani driver about this unseen wall of strangeness; he simply replied, ‘Pakistan supports and favours the Taliban, Iranian people don’t like it—-the Taliban factor has created an air of distrust and disbelief between the two countries.’ Here the question arises; does Pakistan really support the Taliban? And if really the root-cause of growing distances between Pakistan and Iran is the Taliban factor, what about Iran’s strengthening relationship with India; everyone knows that India is providing all kind of support to those groups of Taliban which claim the responsibility of various terrorist activities in Pakistan. If supporting Taliban factor were the only cause of Iran’s displeasure, there must have been a very vivid air of stress and tension between Iran and India. But at present the situation there is altogether different. Even a blind man can feel an overwhelming presence rather interference of India in the Iranian society. Indian professors, Indian diplomats, Indian products, Indian religious scholars, Indian newspapers, Indian channels; in short one finds a lot of India in Iran. Is it the failure of Pakistan on diplomatic front or success of Indian policy makers rather conspirators.

Before going into further details, one thing must be kept in mind that now battles are not fought in battle-fields; the war-fields have been shifted to the screens of TV channels and to the pages of newspapers and magazines. Today the target is not to cross the boundaries and capture the territories; the target is to conquer the brains, to enslave the thoughts, to depress the passions.  The task of arresting the brains, governing the thoughts and crushing the passions becomes easier if the target nation is lacking determination and fortitude somehow or the other. Moreover a lot could be done simply by spreading misunderstandings and misconceptions. For the last many years, Pakistan and Iran have been facing the same war of nerves. The world around has been trying its best to make these two nations realize that they are heading towards a darker future. As far as Pakistan is concerned, the international media has tried its utmost to label Pakistanis as a terrorist and extremist nation. Pakistan is linked up with patronization of different terrorist organizations. From Al-Qaeda to Daesh, the origin of every militant organization is tried to be excavated from Pakistan. No one is willing to except the bitter reality that Pakistan itself is the ever-worst victim to terrorism. Thousands of our innocent citizens and countless of our soldiers have sacrificed their lives in the war against terrorism but still we are considered terrorists not the victim to terrorism. Our closest neighbor India had been on the front in this blame game against Pakistan. The problem with our Iranian friends is that they blindly believed in this concocted story against Pakistan. They are insistent upon their opinion that the Talban are favored and supported by Pakistan. And this opinion of our Iranian friend is the root-cause of their getting away from Pakistan. Our Iranian friends need to understand that Pakistan has its own geo-political problems; if Pakistan has soft corner for the Talban, it does not mean that Pakistan is their supporter. A peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan is in the larger interest of Pakistan and it is also a daylight fact that there could be no peace and prosperity in Afghanistan if the Taliban are not dealt with equality and impartiality. We cannot oust them from the affairs of Afghanistan. India is taking full benefit of Iran’s misconception with reference to the Talban. More and more misunderstandings are being spread so that Pakistan and Iran could never come close to each other. Our Iranian friends must keep afresh in their memories that India has never been a trust-worthy friend of its neighbours; if it were a sincere friend of Iran, it must not have dragged Iran in the Kulbhushan Yadev episode by showing his presence in Chahar Bagh.

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