Pakistani PM Iran visit reinforced durability of ties: ex-envoy

IRNA – Former Pakistani ambassador to Iran Asif Ali Khan Durrani says Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Iran from April 21 to 22 reinforced the durability of Pakistan-Iran relations.

In his article published in Express Tribune on Thursday ‘Asif Ali Khan Durrani’ said that the visit also reinforced the argument that a strong regional policy — hinged on stable relationship with neighbours — is the best guarantee for peace and security in the region.
He added that Iranian government went out of its way to accord a rousing welcome to PM Khan which was manifested through unfurling of Pakistani flags and welcoming banners on major streets of Tehran.
The analyst said the visit also negated the impression that Pakistan was following the Saudi camp in the region.
The expert said on security issues, the two sides agreed to establish a Rapid Response Force to monitor and interdict terrorists and organised crimes; and, exchange intelligence in real time.
“Concurrently, while the Iranian president categorically said that no third country could harm the Pakistan-Iran relations, our PM assured that Pakistan would not allow anyone to use its soil against another country,” Durrani added.

He noted Afghanistan was another major issue that has had direct impact on the security and socio-economic conditions of both the countries. “Still 1.7 million and 1.4 million Afghan refugees live in Pakistan and Iran, respectively, whose repatriation to Afghanistan as a result of the ongoing peace talks has yet to be sorted out,” former ambassador said.
The analyst said overall, there has been convergence on both sides for a smooth withdrawal of American troops and establishment of a durable dispensation in Afghanistan which can provide stability to the country and also take into account the wishes of its people.
He added the joint statement from Pakistan and Iran touched upon issues concerning Palestine and the American declaration of Islamic Revolution’s Guard Corps (IRGC) as Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) and expressed concern over “unilateral application of measures by any country that are inconsistent with the provision of international law and the principles of UN Charter”.
“On trade and economic cooperation, the two countries agreed to continue discussions on enhancing bilateral trade, including opening of two additional border posts and markets,” said former envoy.
He noted President Rouhani also offered to enhance the current export of electricity to Pakistan by ten times in order to address Pakistan’s growing energy demands. Similarly, he reiterated his offer of selling oil and gas to Pakistan.
“PM Khan’s visit may not have achieved much in terms of the bilateral trade for a variety of reasons, but it has set the tone for a stable regional policy which is more focused within the region than looking for allies far afield,” Durrani added.