Iranian Diplomacy – The outgoing ye7ar (2018) has seen major developments in Iran-Pakistan ties and the relations between the two neighboring states improved in all areas especially the defense field.
Iran and Pakistan have been enjoying strong brotherly relations since the creation of Pakistan way back in 1947. Since then the two countries have always been supporting each other on world issues.
The year saw many visits from top Iranian and Pakistan leaders to each other states which paved the way for further enhancement of bilateral ties.
The year also witnessed change of government in Pakistan through democratic process, however, the new government under Prime Minister Imran Khan also expressed desire to strengthen ties with the Islamic Republic.
In the month of January, International Media Conference was held in Pakistani port city of Karachi with the participation of Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). Journalists from more than 24 countries attended the four-day conference organized by the Pakistan Media Development Foundation (PMDF).
In the same month former National Security Advisor of Pakistan Nasser Khan Janjua visited Iran and met with Iranian leaders to enhance security and defense cooperation. Both sides during the visit also discussed regional and international developments. He also attended Tehran Security Conference.
During the month of January the then Pakistan’s Minister for Defense Production, Science and Technology Rana Tanveer Hussain visited Iran on a two-day official visit. He met senior Iranian officials to discuss ways for promotion of defense cooperation and bilateral ties between the two countries.
The then Pakistani Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani and Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq also visited Iran in January to attend the 13th session of the Parliamentary Union of Islamic Countries (PUIC) in Tehran.
In January a railway delegation from Iran visited Pakistan and discussed the ways to enhance cooperation in railways with special focus on resuming fortnightly passenger train services between the two countries.
Both sides also discussed Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) Train where Pakistan Railways requested the Iranian side to persuade ECO secretariat for the revival of ECO train to Istanbul.
In the same month a delegation from Iran’s Urmia Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture visited Pakistan to boost Iran-Pakistan economic ties.
In February an Iranian delegation led by Seyed Hamid Mousavi care taker of department of pilgrimage and tourism of Iran’s Khorasan Razavi province visited Pakistan to promote Iran-Pakistan ties in the field of religious and commercial tourism.
In the same month an exhibition of Iranian Islamic arts by Iranian artists Hossain Ali Esfandiari and his daughter Atena Esfandiari was held in Pakistan’s Rawalpindi.
The exhibition was organized by Iranian Cultural Center (Khana-e-Farhang) in Rawalpindi in collaboration with Rawalpindi Arts Council (RAC) to mark the 39th anniversary of the glorious victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran.
In the same month 9th meeting of the Road Committee of Transit Transport Coordination Council (TTCC) of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) member-states, including Iran was held in Islamabad.
The three-day meeting reviewed progress on the implementation of the ECO-approved programs/projects and consider proposals for new agreements.
In February a week-long Iranian Film Festival featuring different internationally acclaimed productions was held in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi. The festival was organized by Iranian Cultural Center in Karachi and screened the films dubbed into Urdu language.
In the same month Iran’s Air Force Commander Brigadier-General Hassan Shahsafi visited Pakistan and had useful meetings with Pakistani military and civil leadership to enhance ties between the two countries in defense sector.
In February Chief of Iran’s Anti-Narcotics Campaign Police General Mohammad-Masood Zahedian visited Pakistan to attend a meeting of police forces in Islamabad.
In the month of March Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Pakistan. During the visit, Zarif participated in the meeting of Iran-Pakistan Joint Business Forum in Islamabad.
The Iranian foreign minister held meetings with the then Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Asif, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and National Security Advisor of Pakistan Nasser Khan Janjua during his stay in Islamabad.
He also addressed a seminar on ’70 Years of Pakistan-Iran Relations and Future Prospects’ at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI).
In March Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) of Pakistan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Iran’s Tehran University to promote collaborative partnership in the educational fields.
In the same month Iranian cultural attaché in Islamabad Shahabeddin Daraei and the then Advisor to Pakistani prime minister on national history and literary heritage Irfan Siddiqui held a meeting and emphasized development of bilateral cultural cooperation.
In March Former Foreign Minister of Iran and Head of Strategic Council on Foreign Relations Seyed Kamal Kharazi visited Pakistan and delivered useful lectures at various think tanks on importance of Iran-Pakistan ties.
He also met with former president of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari, ex-governor of Pakistan’s southern Sindh province Muhammad Zubair and the then Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Lieutenant General (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua.
In April Consulate General of Iran in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi organized a traditional Iranian food festival with a purpose of highlighting the Iranian culture and to celebrate the New Iranian Year.
In the same month Iran’s Minister of Road and Urban Development Abbas Akhundi, heading a high-ranking delegation, paid a three-day official visit to Pakistan. He met senior Pakistani officials and also visited Karachi Port Trust (KPT) to explore avenues of cooperation with Pakistan.
In April Governor of Khorasan Razavi Province Dr. Ali Raza Rasheedian visited Pakistan. He met with Managing Director, Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor to enhance cooperation between Iran and Pakistan in tourism sector.
Pakistan Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi visited Iran in April to represent Pakistan in the 6th Indian Ocean Naval Symposium. The four-day symposium took place in Iranian capital Tehran from April 22 to 25.
In May Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost met with the then Chief Minister of Pakistan’s Punjab Province Shahbaz Sharif and discussed bilateral cooperation and international political situation.
In May Iranian delegation led by chairman of National Foreign Policy Committee Ardeshair Nourian visited Pakistan to attend a session of drafting committee of Speakers Conference in Islamabad.
In the same month two-day International Conference of News Agencies (ICNA) was held in Pakistan’s Islamabad. Mr. Fardin Pazouki, Director General, Foreign News Desk at Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) led the Iranian delegation in the conference.
In June Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost met with Chairman of Senate Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani. Both sides agreed to enhance parliamentary cooperation and exploit potential for increasing economic collaboration to boost bilateral ties.
In June Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the then Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain met on the sidelines of 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) two-day summit meeting in the Chinese city of Qingdao.
Rouhani during the meeting said Iran welcomes development of all-out relations with its brotherly and friendly neighbor, Pakistan.
In the same month Pakistan Navy Sea King helicopters successfully rescued crew members of an Iranian boat stuck in the North Arabian Sea (NAS) due to engine failure.
In June Iranian Director of Asia and Pacific Center for Development of Disaster Information Management (APDIM) visited Pakistan to attend the 6th meeting of regional technical group of Disaster Management Confidence Building Measures (DM-CBM) of Heart of Asia, Istanbul Process in Islamabad.
In the month Pakistan’s Under 19 volleyball team visited Tehran to participate in Asia-Pacific championship.
Former Chief of General Staff of Pakistan Lieutenant General Bilal Akbar visited Iran in June and held important meetings with Iran’s Army Commander Brigadier General Abdolkarim Mousavi and Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Ground Force Mohammad Pakpour.
In July Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardost met with Acting Chairman of Pakistani Senate Saleem Mandviwalla to discuss bilateral ties.
Saleem Mandviwalla on the occasion said that his country is keen to see rapid progress on the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project and the government should pursue the project as it is in the interest of the country.
In the same month Iranian Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri along with a high level delegation paid a three-day-long visit to Pakistan.
He met with Pakistan Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the then President Mamnoon Hussain, and former Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Abdullah Hussain Haroon, Naval Chief Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat.
He also paid a visit to Pakistan-Afghan Torkham border to examine border management mechanism between the two countries.
In July Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost met Pakistan Tekreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Chairman Imran Khan to congratulate him over his party’s victory in general elections of the country and said that Iran desires strong multi-dimensional ties with Pakistan.
In August President Hassan Rouhani phoned Prime Minister-designate and Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Imran Ahmad Khan and said that relations between Iran and Pakistan are beyond normal level and both sides will spare no effort to further broaden their ties.
In the same month Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif paid a two-day official visit to Pakistan to explore new avenues of cooperation with the new government in Pakistan. The Iranian minister was the first top foreign diplomat to visit Pakistan after the new government came into power.
During his tour to Pakistan, Zarif held talks with Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Finance Minister Asad Umar. He also held a meeting with Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the army headquarters.
In September during a meeting with Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost, Pakistan’s Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs (EAD) Asad Umar said Pakistan is committed to enhance economic ties with Iran and remove the trade barriers.
In the same month a three-day Health Asia International Exhibition and Conference was held in Pakistan’s Karachi with Iran’s presence.
In September Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami in a phone call congratulated his Pakistani counterpart Pervez Khattak on his appointment as the new defense minister of Pakistan. Both ministers urged promotion of mutual cooperation for regional stability and security.
In the month Pakistan Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Ghulam Sarwar Khan said Pakistan is fully committed to implement Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project without any foreign pressure. He said this while speaking to Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost who called on him at his office in Islamabad.
In September Pakistan strongly condemned terrorist attack on military parade in Ahvaz, Iran, which killed at least ten people and injured more than 20 others.
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal in his tweet message said, ‘Our deepest condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones in this heinous attack. “Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations”, he said.
Pakistan National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser also said the Parliament and Pakistani nation express complete solidarity with the people of Iran and Parliament of Iran and strongly condemn the gruesome terrorist attack on a military parade in Ahvaz.
He expressed these views in a letter written to Speaker of Parliament of Iran, Ali Larijani.
In the same month Speaker of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Assembly Mushtaq Ghani invited Iranian investors to invest in the northwestern province of Pakistan.
He said this during a meeting with an Iranian delegation led by the Consul General of Iran in northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, Muhammad Baqir Beigi.
In September Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost met with Pakistan’s Minister of Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi and discussed ways to expand their bilateral cooperation in maritime affairs.
In October Chief Minister of Pakistan’s Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan and Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost met to further strengthen trade between the two countries.
In October a three-day International Tourism Expo 2018 was held in Pakistan’s Karachi with the participation of Iran.
In the same month Iranian 57th naval flotilla docked at the Pakistani port of Karachi for goodwill-cum-training visit.
Captain Amir Hosseini Aranai, the commander of the Iranian flotilla in an interview with the Islamic Republic News agency (IRNA) said the visit was in line with great maritime tradition and to further strengthen the existing warm and cordial relations between Iran and Pakistan.
In the month of October Governor of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province Shah Farman during a meeting with Consul General of Iran in Peshawar, Muhammad Baqir Beigi emphasized on expansion of ties with Iran in all sectors especially in economic area.
In October Pak-Iran trade session was held in Pakistan’s southwestern city of Quetta. Representatives of customs, security forces and other officials from Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan and Pakistan’s Balochistan Provinces took part in the two-day meeting.
In the month Commander of the Ground Forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour visited Pakistan to discuss with Pakistani officials the fate of abducted Iranian border guards.
On October 16, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said terrorists had kidnapped the Iranian forces, including local Basij volunteer forces and border guards, near the town of Mirjaveh on the Pakistani border.
Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli in a telephone conversation with his Pakistani counterpart Shehryar Afridi in October soon after the incident called for suppression of terrorists’ bastion along Iran-Pakistan borders.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a phone conversation with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi traced the fate of the border forces of Iran.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also visited Pakistan in October to discuss border guards’ incident with Pakistan.
Zarif during the visit had meetings with Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
In November Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost met with Speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly Asad Qaiser to invite him for the Speakers Conference on Terrorism and Regional Connectivity, which is to be held in Tehran from December 7-8.
In the month Pakistan Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad during a meeting with Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost had said that railway link between Iran and Pakistan through Quetta-Taftan section is imperative for bilateral ties.
Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad added that upgrading Quetta-Taftan railway would further enhance Pakistan-Iran relations. Iranian Ambassador also stressed upon importance of Quetta-Taftan section.
Pakistan’s Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry in November had also stressed the need for strengthening cultural cooperation with Iran.
Talking to the Iranian ambassador Mehdi Honardoost, he said cultural exchanges are not only vital for understanding each other’s values and traditions but also instrumental to promoting people-to-people contacts.
In November President of Payame Noor University Professor Mohammad Reza Zamani visited Pakistan. During the visit he signed MoUs with various universities of Pakistan in fields of science, technology, language and literature.
In the month Iranian stall established at Pakistan’s foreign ministry charity bazaar drew a large number of crowd due to putting on display the rich Iranian culture and delicious cuisine.
In the month of December the Deputy Coordinator of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Army, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, visited Pakistan to lead an Iranian delegation at four-day 10th International Defense Exhibition and seminar, IDEAS 2018 in Karachi.
He held important meetings with Pakistan’s top military leadership and discussed ways to enhance defense cooperation.
Pakistan’s Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan at a press briefing in Islamabad in December said that his country is willing to complete Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project.
In December Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Syed Abbas Araghchi visited Pakistan to participate in the tenth round of Iran-Pakistan Political Consultations in Islamabad.
In the same month Pakistan’s Adviser to Prime Minister for Commerce met with Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost and discussed ways to increase bilateral trade.
Speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly of Pakistan Asad Qaiser, heading a parliamentary delegation participated in the second conference of heads of the six countries’ parliaments to counter terrorism, in Tehran in December.
In December Pakistan hosted 13th Senior Officials Meeting of the Triangular Initiative on drug control started in Islamabad.
Iran’s Anti-Narcotics Police Chief Brigadier General Mohammad Masoud Zahedian led the Iranian delegation in the two-day meeting.
In the month a three-day 14th Build Asia Exhibition was held in Karachi. Eight Iranian companies took part in the event held at Karachi Expo Center.
In December Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi paid an official visit to Iran. He conferred with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on bilateral ties. The Iranian and Pakistani foreign ministers also discussed the latest regional and international developments.
During the outgoing year many classical Iranian films were screed at Pakistan National Institute for Folk and Traditional Heritage’ (Lok Virsa) media center in Islamabad. The films attracted good number of crowd.