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Iran top general visit to Pakistan to expand ties: Ex-envoy

Islamabad, A former Pakistani ambassador said visit of Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Bagheri to Pakistan will pave the way for future engagements between the two countries in all areas, especially the defense sector.

In an interview with the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Rustam Shah Mohmand said that both countries are trying to take steps to counter all those things which could be detrimental for commercial and economic relations between Iran and Pakistan.

During his three-day visit to Pakistan, Major General Bagheri met with Pakistani Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and held important discussions on a wide range of issues of mutual interest.

He also met with President Mamnoon Hussain to discuss bilateral ties, international and regional developments.

He held separate meetings with Foreign Minister of Pakistan Abdullah Hussain Haroon, Naval Chief Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi and Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat.

'Well this is a very significant development because it has come in the wake of Pakistan trying to seal the border with Iran or digging trenches on the border to make it safe and secure for both the countries,' Rustam Shah Mohmand said.

Former ambassador went on to say that Iran and Pakistan share common borders and they have many things in common; however, there is a need to increase the volume of bilateral trade volume.

We need to develop trade ties with Iran, Shah Mohmand noted.

He added that both countries should also promote people to people contacts to enhance bilateral ties.

Shah Mohmand said Pakistan is a close ally of both Iran and Saudi Arabia, but important thing is that despite having close ties with Saudi Arabia, 'we value our relations with Iran and we would stick to that relationship' no matter what happens in the Middle East.

Regardless of the outcome of the maneuvers that are currently under in the Middle East, Pakistan must consolidate its relations with Iran, he viewed.

Expressing his views, the analyst said the visits and the meetings between the senior military officers of Iran and Pakistan would pave the way for more political engagements in future.

Those political engagements must come sooner rather than later, each country must take the other into confidence because Pakistan and Iran do not have any issues, there are no border issues, there are no political issues, Rustam Shah Mohmand said.

He added that future of defense cooperation between the two countries is very bright.

He however said that Pakistan is a member of a Saudi-led military alliance which is led by Pakistan's former Army chief and that can be an irritant in Iran-Pakistan defense ties.

We have look towards Iran, Iran is after all our neighbor, we share long border with Iran and we have long history with Iran, we also share common culture, so I think Pakistan will not ignore the interest of Iran, he said.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA

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