ISLAMABAD – Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif yesterday discussed matters relating to regional security and Pakistan-Iran relations with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, said an Inter-services Public Relations (ISPR) statement.
The army chief also informed the Iranian president about the RAW involvement in Pakistan’s internal affairs particularly in Balochistan, the statement said.
The army chief while highlighting the challenges being faced by Pakistan, discussed the alleged involvement of RAW in Pakistani affairs, especially in Balochistan, said the statement.
Matters relating to border security and regional connectivity also came under discussion.
According to the handout, President Rouhani “paid rich tributes to the professionalism of the Pakistan Army and its phenomenal achievements in operation Zarb-e-Azb”, which had entered its final phase.
The COAS has taken up the issue of RAW’s involvement in Pakistan with President Rouhani two days after security forces announced the arrest of a RAW agent in Balochistan’s Chaman area.
But later at a press conference President Rouhani denied having discussed the issue of RAW involvement in the internal affairs of Pakistan with Pakistani leadership.
Asked about General Raheel Sharif’s comments, President Rouhani denied that he had ‘any discussion on this issue’.
“We had talks about how we can expand Iran-Pakistan relations.
Also we have good relations with India.
So there is no problem.
The problems of this region cannot be solved militarily, and must be solved through talks, like the Iranian nuclear problem was,” Rouhani said in reply to a question.
“I have heard that 20 times.
Whenever we get close to Pakistan, such rumours come up.
We have brotherly relations with Pakistan.
We also have a good relationship with India.
We believe in positive relations between Pakistan and Iran, therefore, we did not discuss any such rumors during our meeting,” Rouhani said,
After the categorical Iranian denial, the ISPR quickly issued another statement carrying text of the COAS conversation with the Iranian president during a meeting earlier in the day.
According to DG ISPR, the COAS said, “There is one concern that RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) is involved in Pakistan, especially in Balochistan and sometimes also use the soil of our brother country, Iran.
“I request, they should be told to stop these activities and allow Pakistan to achieve stability,” the COAS added.
Meanwhile, in a television programme, ISPR DG Lt-Gen Asim Bajwa said the COAS discussed the issue of RAW’s involvement in Pakistan’s internal affairs, especially in Balochistan, with the Iranian president.
Bajwa said, “Matters of regional security, Pakistan-Iran relations, border security and connectivity were discussed during the meeting.
He said the COAS asked President Rouhani, who was on his first visit to Pakistan as president, to give a message to India for avoiding RAW’s involvement in Pakistan and let the country achieve stability.
The ISPR DG said that recently Pakistan arrested an Indian intelligence officer from Balochistan for his involvement in “subversive activities” in the country which was a solid proof of Indian involvement.
RAW sometimes also used the land of Iran, for such activities, he added.
Asim Bajwa said the COAS also highlighted challenges being faced by Pakistan.