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Zarif’s upcoming Pakistan visit an opportunity for more ties

Islamabad, The upcoming visit of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to Pakistan would help consolidation of bilateral relations between the two nations.

This would be first visit by any foreign dignitary after the formation of new government in Pakistan.

It is pertinent to mention that this is Zarif's eighth visit to Pakistan since he became the foreign minister in 2013.

He is expected to hold separate meetings with Pakistan's civil and military leadership to explore more avenues of cooperation between the two friendly countries.

Earlier Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had said he would welcome his Iranian counterpart in Islamabad.

He added that the Iranian foreign minister is arriving in Islamabad on Friday (August 31).

'We will welcome the Iranian Foreign Minister on his Pakistan visit,' Qureish said adding, 'We have a long border with Iran and wish to have a peaceful, stable shared border.

Experts say regular interaction between the leaders of Iran and Pakistan is very important for boosting bilateral cooperation and countering common challenges the two countries face at international arena.

President Hassan Rouhani during a recent telephone conversation with Prime Minister Imran Khan said that relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan is beyond normal level and both sides will spare no effort to further broaden their ties.

Earlier Prime Minister Imran Khan in his first public address had said that his party desires stronger ties with Iran.

Iran and Pakistan both are intermingled in historic, cultural and religious bonds and time is ripe to strengthen economic relations. Iran and Pakistan have already agreed to enhance the bilateral trade volume to $5 billion in the next five years.

Dr Rasul Bakhsh Rais Senior analyst and professor of Political Science at Lahore University of Management Science (LUMS) talking to IRNA said that the government of Pakistan attaches importance to its relations with Iran in particular and neighbors in general.

After victory, Imran Khan very clearly established foreign policy priority for Pakistan and neighboring countries comes first, trade with them and best of the relationship in particular, he said.

He added that at this point Pakistan is facing many challenges so Iran and Pakistan would like to explore opportunities of cooperation particularly in areas of trade and investment. I think Pakistan will be willing to give anything that Iran needs, the analyst viewed.

Dr Rasul Bakhsh Rais went on to say that there are number of things that could be discussed during Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to Pakistan. He said that most important thing for Iran is stability of the border as there have been incidents in which Iranian guards have been attacked.

They will also be talking about Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, he said. He said that it is an extremely important visit and Pakistan is looking forward to that.

Iran and Pakistan in recent years have been in serious discussion to further strengthen bilateral economic relations through inter-alia increased bilateral trade and agreed that connectivity between the two sister-ports of Gwadar and Chabahar would further deepen bilateral ties through enhanced trade and people to people contacts.

There is a huge potential to increase ties between the two countries and this will be a challenge for Pakistan's new government to capitalize the opportunity.

Senior Pakistani politician and former member of Pakistan's Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affair Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi talking to IRNA said that it is very welcoming news that the Iranian Foreign Minister is coming to Pakistan.

This visit is very necessary for the benefit of both the countries, he said. The politician added that people of Iran and Pakistan enjoy closest of the relations. He said that people of Pakistan have great love for the people of Iran.

The politician stated that there is always an urge from the parliament to further improve relations with our brother Iran.

The visit of foreign minister of Iran to Pakistan offers tremendous opportunities to start this process of better relationship, he said.

Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi went on to say 'we must have more trade with Iran who is our first door neighbor.' We have to find ways and means to improve our ties with Iran, former Senator said.

Being a neighbor Iran has first right over us and we have first right over Iran so we must enhance our ties in trade, industry, investment etc, said the politician.

He added that 'we must have a proper banking with Iran, our banks must function there and their banks must function in here.'

We must have to keep one thing in mind that in today's world whatever threatens Iran threatens Pakistan and whatever threatens Pakistan threatens Iran, he said.

Mashhadi added that unfortunately today Muslim world is divided but Iran and Pakistan can jointly work together to bring unity among Muslim Ummah. He said that many of Muslim countries are puppets in the hands of the US and they are being used against the Muslim interests.

Last month, Chief of Staff of Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Bagheri paid a three day visit to Pakistan leading a high level delegation with an aim to enhance defense cooperation between the two countries.

During his stay in Pakistan, the Iranian top general met with Pakistani political and military leadership to discuss wide range of issues of mutual interest.

Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa also visited Iran in November last year and met with Iranian leaders in a bid to further enhance coordination between the two countries especially in defense sector.

Iran and Pakistan are also developing two major ports in respective countries, Gwadar Port and Chabahar Port. Both ports are complementary to each other and would be beneficial to both countries.

Strong trade and business ties with Iran will not only help Pakistan's economic situation, but will also lead to greater stability and economic prosperity in the region.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA

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