Islamabad: Pakistan today asked its media to avoid linking the arrest of an alleged Indian ‘spy’ with Iran, days after Tehran warned it that this could have “negative implications” on its bilateral ties.
“Iran has nothing to do with the activities of Indian intelligence network. Pakistan and Iran are tied through decades long religious, social, cultural and political bonds, and nothing can come in way of our relations,” Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan told media here.
Khan said media should be cautious while reporting on Pakistan-Iran “brotherly” relations.
“Our ties with Iran are by no means linked with the arrest of an Indian spy,” he said.
He said the recent visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Pakistan was quite “productive but an impression was being given that Iran was involved in certain activities against Pakistan.”
The Iranian authorities, he said, had expressed their concern over news proliferating in a certain section of the media portraying Iran in a negative manner despite the very positive visit of the Iranian President.
The minister also mentioned his meeting with Iranian ambassador Mehdi Honardoost, saying the two sides expressed satisfaction over President Rouhani’s visit.
“Honardoost assured that Iran would extend full cooperation on all issues that ensured security and development in the two countries,” Khan said.
He said “some vested interests” wanted to harm positive and historic ties between Pakistan and Iran.
The Iranian embassy here had issued a terse statement after several media outlets hinted that Tehran might have knowledge about Kulbhushan Yadhav, who was reportedly arrested by Pakistani authorities in Balochistan after he entered from Iran.
“During past days some section of Pakistani media has spread contents regarding detention of an Indian agent and the matter related to it, which could have negatives implications on the fraternal and friendly atmosphere of Iran and Pakistan,” the embassy had warned.
Kulbhushan, who was reportedly arrested in Balochistan after he entered from Iran, has been accused by Pakistan of planning “subversive activities” in the country.
Pakistan Army had also released a “confessional video” of Yadav, who said he was the serving Indian Navy officer.
In the video, Yadav said that he arrived in Iran in 2003 and started a small business in Chahbahar.
India has acknowledged Yadav as a retired Indian Navy officer, but denied the allegation that he was in any way connected to the government.