PRIME Minister Imran Khan called President-elect of Iran Seyed Ebrahim Raisi and congratulated him on his victory in the presidential elections.
Both the leaders expressed satisfaction at the upward trajectory of bilateral relations and agreed on further boosting existing cooperation, in particular in its economic dimension.
There has been significant level of exchanges between the two countries in recent times which is manifestation of the importance the leadership of the two countries accord to their bilateral relationship.
Despite cordiality, however, both the sides are yet to exploit the true potential of their trade and economic relations.
We are confident that under the leadership of Raisi strenuous efforts will be made to tap the prospects of trade in commodities and cooperation in sectors like energy, aviation, ports and shipping and science and technology.
Most recently, the two countries took the initiative of establishing border sustenance markets which indeed would yield immense socio-economic benefits.
Especially these border markets will help mitigate the problems faced by the people residing in border areas due to fencing and counter smuggling measures.
In recent months, China and Iran signed a 25-year cooperation agreement to strengthen their longstanding economic political alliance.
This accord also brings Iran into China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure scheme intended to stretch from East Asia to Europe. The CPEC, the flagship project of BRI, is already being executed with full pace in Pakistan.
Hence, China-Iran agreement has also opened new vistas of cooperation and opportunities in the region. Iran has repeatedly expressed readiness to connect its Chabahar port with Gwadar.
The two ports can definitely complement each other and promote trade and commerce in the region.
The situation in Afghanistan, however, poses a serious threat to Pakistan and Iran and is the main hurdle in promoting connectivity and regional economic integration.
The civil war there could as also stated by PM Imran Khan during conservation with the Iranian President-elect would lead to influx of more refugees towards the bordering areas of the two countries.
Hence, together, both Pakistan and Iran must continue to play their positive role for a political settlement in Afghanistan which is inclusive and broad based.
Peace and stability in Afghanistan will benefit the whole region to establish linkages and promote trade and economic relations.