MNA | Mohammad Ali Haqshenas: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan is slated to undertake an official visit to Iran on April 21 and there are different speculations about the aims of this visit.
The two-day visit will be made upon the official invitation of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and can start a new era of ties between Tehran and Islamabad.
This will be Khan’s first official visit to the western neighbor after assuming power. He has already paid official visits to some regional countries, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates but his visit to Tehran was reportedly postponed after border security issues, including the abduction of Iranian border guards in Mirjaveh and also terrorist attack near Zahedan which killed 27 IRGC personnel.
On March 21, Iran announced that four other abducted guards had been released with the efforts of the Pakistani Army. Islamabad has vowed to gear up the fight against terrorism and its measures to provide western borders with increased security can have a significant effect on the development of ties with Iran.
Certainly, one of the main topics of Iran-Pakistan discussions during the upcoming PM’s visit will be ways to enhance border security which is essentially required if the states are determined to boost cooperation in different political, economic, and cultural spheres.
There are also reports which point to Pakistan’s close relationship with Saudi Arabia, saying that Imran Khan may try to mediate between Tehran and Riadh. In a meeting with Iranian ambassador to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost in early August 2018, Imran Khan said that Pakistan is ready to play a constructive and positive role between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Experts believe that the much-awaited Iran-Pakistan pipeline project will also be on the agenda of negotiations. Pakistan has not adhered to its commitments to complete the pipeline on its side with the excuse of international sanctions and pressures from countries such as US.
Some reports also speculate that the two sides will also confer on the future of Afghanistan, as well as inking probable economic agreements.
Imran Khan has proved to be courageous in supporting Iran. He and his party are among the defenders of Iran’s peaceful nuclear activity. He also, alongside Iran, strongly condemned Trump’s measure to ban Muslim’s immigration to the United States.
Cementing ties with Pakistan will also be beneficial for Iran since this leads to a decrease in security threats in the southeast of the country, furthermore, paving the way for an enhanced economic presence of Iran in Pakistan and benefit from its great potential market.
Iran was the first country to recognize Pakistan as an independent state in 1947 and two years later, they signed a treaty of friendship. The two countries have always maintained good and friendly relations based on mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty. Some experts believe Iran-Pakistan ties can be a model for relations between other regional countries.
In a statement, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry announced that the country’s “relations with Iran are marked by close historic and cultural linkages and strong people to people exchanges,” adding that PM’s visit to Iran will further enhance the bilateral relations between the two countries.
Imran Khan will meet with Islamic Revolution Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei besides holding ‘detailed consultations’ with President Rouhani, reads the statement, noting that the PM will be accompanied by a host of high-ranking officials and ministers.