Last October, Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki made a short visit to Pakistan but the issues that were discussed were much greater and wider than the time he spent in Islamabad. Pakistan and Iran are stressing on the importance of deeper and wider bilateral ties in all fields and, most of all, to speed up the work on multi-billion dollar Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project. This project involves the construction of over 2,700-km-long IPI gas pipeline project that could meet the much needed energy for the large industrial sector in Pakistan.

During the eight years of the Musharraf presidency, Pakistan had been hesitant in having closer ties with Iran as it followed a more pro-western policy. Now, under the Zardari presidency, something seems to have changed. Obviously, commercial relations are, per se, a positive thing. However, what is worrying is that in recent months, along with the strengthening of bilateral trade, officials in Pakistan and Iran have started to share, more and more, the same rhetoric. Not only the ineffable Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadiejad speaks about the big Satan - i.e. the United States – and his determination of wiping Israel out of the Middle East map, but also prominent Pakistani political figures are voicing against the presence in the region of the US and their allies.

Last week, the Pakistani daily “the News” espoused the idea of the “conspiracy theory” and wrote about “The trans-global anti-Muslim conglomerate that seeks to advance western Judeo-Christian interests in the region by allying with the Hindu Right, encircling Pakistan and then dismembering it by ethnicity”. Of course, Americans and Jews are an essential ingredient of the rhetoric that seems to be in fashion in Tehran as well as in Islamabad. There are no Jews in Pakistan but this fact doesn’t seem to discourage local political thinkers from seeing a Jewish plot behind any corner. An article of December 12 of the daily paper Roznama Jang could serve as an example: it reported that the Israeli forces stationed in India’s border state of Rajasthan have made all preparations to launch an attack against Pakistan. Roznama Jang quoted its ‘‘own exclusive sources’’ as saying that the Indian Air Force is also ready to attack Pakistan, while the Israeli unit is based in the deserts of Rajasthan state to launch its own attack against Pakistan. The logical question would be: why would a country of more than one billion people like India need troops from a small country such as Israel? The answer is to make the conspiracy theory work.

After the Mumbai attacks, the Iranian newspapers have unanimously affirmed that the US was behind that attack. The Iranian daily Kayhan, which is close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, stated that the U.S. was behind the Mumbai attacks, either alone or in cooperation with England and Israel. The IRGC weekly Sobh-e Sadeq also said that the U.S., England, and Israel carried out the attacks, because of their resemblance to the 9/11 attacks "[also] carried out by them." The weekly said that the attacks were aimed at forcing Pakistan to cancel contracts that it signed with China for building nuclear reactors, to withdraw in the face of the American aggression against Al-Qaeda in the Sahrad region (in eastern Pakistan near the Indian border), and to relinquish its interests in Afghanistan in favour of the U.S. The weekly assessed that the Indian government too was involved in the attacks, out of a desire to force territorial and political concessions on Pakistan.

Similarly in Pakistan, Justice (Retired) Ghaus Ali Shah, the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) in the Sindh province, has stated that the Indian government planned and executed the 11/26 Mumbai terror attacks in order to implicate Pakistan. He added: “Whenever one talks of the Kashmir issue, India executes such dramas”.

Azam Khan Hoti, a former federal minister of Pakistan, and a leader of the Awami National Party (ANP) that is in power in the North West Frontier Province and is part of the coalition that rules in Pakistan, even went as far as demanding that a jihad be waged against the U.S. Other politicians mobilized crowds to ask that Pakistan impede the transit of supplies for allied troops in Afghanistan.

Pakistan is on a downhill course in joining its neighbour Iran in a dangerous anti-western stance dictated by the mullahs of both countries.

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Related Topics:  Iran, Pakistan
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