TRUE to his reputation of taking up all issues of interest to the country in a best possible manner during his interaction with the leadership of other countries, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari successfully contributed to the cherished goal of augmenting bilateral relations with Iraq during his just concluded visit to the brotherly country. The wide-ranging talks that the Minister and his delegation, which included Nasir Hussain Shah, Faisal Karim Kundi, Waqar Mehdi and Sharjeel Inam Memon had with the leadership of the host country, the two sides resolved to expand cooperation in all fields.
There can be no two opinions that Pakistan needs to exploit all opportunities for promotion of economic ties and investment opportunities as part of its strategy to overcome its economic challenges. With this in view, the visit of Bilawal was surely productive one as the two countries agreed to expand bilateral cooperation in diverse areas including agriculture, water management, inclusion of Pakistan in the Iraqi Development Corridor, establishing sister port cities relations between Basra and Karachi, defence production, health, textile, pharmaceutical and supporting Iraq’s efforts in their reconstruction and rehabilitation. In a landmark development, apart from opening of a pilgrimage centre at Karbala, the host Iraqi authorities conveyed their full support for the establishment of a Pakistani Consulate in Najaf which fulfils a longstanding demand of Pakistanis who wanted complete consular services extended to them in the holy city of Hazrat Ali (RA). The visit has highlighted the fact that there was a great scope to forge ties in different spheres of life and hopefully tangible progress towards that end would be achieved through increased interaction among relevant entities of the two countries.