ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan is scheduled to visit Iran heralding a new chapter for further cooperation between the two friendly states.
Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mohammad Faisal told IRNA that Prime Minister will pay an official visit to Iran on April 21.
The visit will take place at a right time when bitter border incidents drew strong protest from Iran holding Pakistani government accountable for failure to ensure border security with Iran.
Analysts say that Iran and Pakistan are two friendly states and can easily remove irritants in bilateral ties through dialogue and regular interaction. Iran and Pakistan have been enjoying strong brotherly relations since the creation of Pakistan way back in 1947.
Pakistani media reported that Prime Minister Imran Khan would hold formal talks with the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and also meet the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei. The visit has been due since Imran Khan took over as prime minister last August.
Meanwhile, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was the first top foreign diplomat to visit Pakistan after the new government came into power. Pakistan has also dispatched a load of over 32 tons humanitarian supplies to flood-hit Iran depicting close ties between the two states.
Earlier Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani had discussed bilateral and security relations in a telephone call.
Imran Khan expressed his heartfelt condolences on the terrorist attack in Sistan-Baluchestan province of Iran on neighborhood with Pakistan which 27 Iranian guards were killed.
The two leaders agreed on the need for closer cooperation among the two intelligence agencies to combat terrorism.
In past, Pakistan tried to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia but all those diplomatic efforts failed to achieve the desired results.
Officials familiar with the agenda of the prime minister’s upcoming visit said Imran Khan would reiterate Pakistan’s offer and call for unity among all the Muslim countries to deal with common challenges.
Prime Minister Imran Khan in an important statement last year said Pakistan will no longer act as a hired gun in someone else’s war showing his resolve to pursue an independent foreign policy.
Iran’s Ambassador to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost while interacting with local media had stated that external factors and third party cannot harm all-weather friendship between Iran and Pakistan. He noted that Iran and Pakistan have lots of achievements in regional issues against their enemies.
Analysts say that Iran, having the world’s third largest oil reserves and rich natural gas resources, is also capable of feeding the industry of Pakistan.
Despite the problems and the lack of banking channel trade between Iran and Pakistan is increasing, Iran’s exports to Pakistan increased by around 38 percent during 11 months of past Iranian year 1397 which ended on March 20, 2019.
During last Iranian year 1397, Iran exported products worth US $ 1.128 to Pakistan. There is also 28 percent increase in the weight of the exported items which stood at 2489 tons.
Leaders of Iran and Pakistan have already agreed to enhance the bilateral trade volume to $5 billion in the next five years.
Iran has also expressed its desire to join China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. It is said that Iran with its vast energy sources can play a major role in making the CPEC a success.
The two countries in order to enhance their trade ties have already declared Chabahar and Gwadar ports as sister ports which will complement each other.
Iran and Pakistan are not just close neighbors but two important countries of the Muslim world and their cooperation is useful for the whole Muslim Ummah. —NNI