Pakistan must deepen ties with Iran: Pak analyst

Islamabad, May 20, IRNA - A Pakistani columnist says that the recent tensions in the region are another reminder that Pakistan must reinforce its relations with Iran.

Huma Yusuf in her article published in daily 'Dawn' said brewing tensions in the Persian Gulf should be a cause for alarm in Pakistan.

She said the timing of the US-Iran flare-up could not be worse in terms of Pakistan-Iran relations, following Imran Khan’s overdue and productive trip to Iran, including his symbolically important visit to Mashhad, last month.

She added the reasons for Pakistan to maintain good ties with Iran persist: the 950-kilometer border; the need for counterterrorism cooperation and a coordinated approach towards ending the Afghan conflict.

Huma Yusuf was of the view that the recent tensions are another reminder that Pakistan must entrench its ties with Iran, so that each regional conflagration does not throw bilateral ties into question.

'Beyond counterterrorism cooperation, there are many ways for Pakistan to do this. One is to build awareness among the public that the Pakistan-Iran relationship is a long, substantive one,' said the expert.

She added that Pakistan should also develop strategies to increase bilateral trade to the agreed target of $5bn.

The analyst went on to say that plans to improve connectivity between Gwadar and Chabahar ports, and between the two countries more generally, should be fast-tracked.

'Pakistan should also import electricity from Iran and initiate diplomatic efforts to increase the feasibility of completing the Iran-Pakistan pipeline,' she said.

The expert said arts and culture remain underdeveloped areas for bilateral engagement.

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