Five more border markets to be constructed; Iran to supply 100MW electricity daily to Gwadar; Both countries to finalise FTA soon; Iran ready to work with Pakistan in energy sector: President Raisi
Our Correspondent Mand-Pishin
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Iran’s President Seyed Ebrahim Raisi on Thursday jointly inaugurated the Mand-Pishin border sustenance market aimed at boosting bilateral trade and a 100MW transmission line, a project from Iran to Gwadar.
The Mand-Pishin border sustenance marketplace is expected to provide a thriving platform for increasing cross-border trade, fostering economic growth, and opening up new avenues of opportunity for local businesses.
It should be noted that this is one of the six border markets which has been constructed along the Pak-Iran border.
The two leaders also planted a sapling on the premises of the border market as a gesture to stride forward in the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
The bilateral ties and cooperation were discussed in a meeting between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi after the two leaders inaugurated the border market.
Following the “very productive and positive” meeting, the prime minister told a gathering of local elders that the two sides had decided to move forward in the areas of trade, investment, information technology, agriculture and other sectors.
The two leaderships also decided to exploit the potential for cooperation in the power transmission. He told the gathering that on his suggestion, the Iranian president also assured to move forward for enhancing cooperation in the solar energy sector.
The prime minister said that during the meeting, he put forward the suggestions regarding the China Pakistan Economic Corridor and that the two sided would take measures for implementation of the decisions taken in the meeting.
Regarding the inauguration of Mand-Pishin border market, the prime minister said the facility would enhance trade activity in the surrounding areas and would get an uplift as trade centers would be constructed there.
Prime Minister Shehbaz also invited the Iranian president to visit Pakistan which he accepted.
PM Shehbaz was accompanied by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Power Minister Khurram Dastagir, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb. Moreover, senior officials of Pakistan and Iran were also present.
The prime minister said the project faced immense delay in the past but the incumbent government ensured its completion in the record time. Iranian President Raisi also took keen interest in the project, he added.
He said the matters related to the power tariff has been settled amicably with Iranian government, he added.
“This is a great day for Pakistan-Iran friendship and will prove a milestone for development of the two countries,” the prime minister remarked.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif thanked the Iranian president and added the border projects’ inauguration has opened a new era of ties between Islamabad and Tehran.
Shehbaz Sharif said that Pakistan and Iran had decided to finalise the Free Trade Agreement soon to “exploit the immense potential in trade and investment”.
He thanked the energy ministers of Pakistan and Iran and relevant organisations for their efforts to complete the otherwise halted project in the record time.
The prime minister believed that there existed huge potential for bilateral energy and petroleum projects and expressed the hope that the two countries would make all-out efforts to tap the potential for benefit of the two people.
Prime Minister Shehbaz told the gathering that during his meeting with President Raisi earlier in the day, he had discussed cooperation in the solar energy sector as the Iranian leader also assured cooperation.
He said the delegations from both sides would visit each other to work out the solar energy projects.
To a suggestion by the Iranian president, the prime minister assured for taking measures for a joint security mechanism in order to thwart the nefarious designs poised to undermine the bilateral ties.
The prime minister thanked the Iranian president for a warm reception and hospitality to him as well as the delegation.
Addressing the ceremony, Iranian President Seyed Ebrahim Raisi said bilateral ties between Iran and Pakistan are strengthening with every passing day. He congratulated the people of Iran and Pakistan on the inauguration of the landmark projects.
Iran is ready to work with Pakistan in the energy sector, the Iranian president said and added that border markets will help in increasing bilateral trade between both countries.
In his address, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said the the Pak-Iran relations were strengthening as both the countries were bound in religious bond.
He said Iran desired to enhance cooperation with Pakistan in the energy sector.
He congratulated the Government of Pakistan on completion of the 100MW power transmission project that would beget employment opportunities for people in the area.
Coming to the regional situation, he called for resolution of regional disputes through dialogue to achieve durable peace.
Energy Minister Engineer Khurram Dastgir thanked the Iranian partners and NTDC in Pakistan for their extraordinary efforts to ensure completion of the project in record time despite heavy floods.
He said these projects would unlock the development and lead to the infrastructural transformation as well as industrial development.
Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the project was pending since 2009 and has been completed in record time of four months under the leadership of PM Shehbaz.
She said the project will unleash development, trade, business and employment opportunities contributing to future prosperity of people of Gwadar and Balochistan.