Dec 23, 2019, 11:07 AM
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Iran-Pakistan ties: outgoing year saw major developments

Islamabad, Dec 23, IRNA -- The outgoing year 2019 proved very successful for Iran-Pakistan relations as both countries took major steps to further develop relations.

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. 

**January 
In January Pakistan’s Ambassador to Tehran Riffat Masood said that Islamabad wanted expansion of economic and cultural relations as well as reopening of border markets between the two countries.
She made the remarks during a meeting with member of Majlis Foreign Policy and National Security commission Morteza Saffari Natanzi.
In January Iranian envoy in Pakistan's Quetta Mohammad Rafiee said that Iran-Pakistan free economic zone is expected to be inaugurated in the city of Mirjaveh in Iran's Sistan-Baluchestan Province in near future.
He said this in meeting with the Pakistani Province of Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan at his secretariat.
In the same month Iranian Consul General in Eastern Pakistani city of Lahore Mohammad-Reza Nazeri met Chief Minister Punjab Province Sardar Usman Buzdar and exchanged views on bilateral relations.
In the month Managing Director of Tourism Corporation of Pakistan’s north western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province had said that a memorandum of understanding (MOU) would be signed with Iran in near future to promote tourism and culture ties.
In an exclusive interview with IRNA Mushtaq Ahmed Khan, said the bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries in the field of culture and tourism will be improved.
In January Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost met with Pakistan Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), General Zubair Mahmood Hayat to discuss matters of mutual interest.
During the month Pakistan Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan said that Pakistan is willing to further enhance its existing cooperation with Iran in power sector. He said this during a meeting with Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost in Islamabad.
In the same month Pakistan Speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly Asad Qaiser said that Islamabad wants to enhance bilateral relations with Iran for economic and regional prosperity.
Pakistan shares a bond of friendship with Iran rooted in religion and culture, Qaiser said during a meeting with the Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost in the Pakistani capital.
In January 22nd Iran-Pakistan Joint Border Commission’s meeting was held in Iranian city of Zahedan.
During the month Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) of Pakistan’s interior ministry announced that Iranian businessmen can get a 30 day visa on arrival to Pakistan.
In the month Pakistan Kabaddi Federation (PKF) hosted a Triangular International Kabaddi Series featuring kabaddi teams of Iran, Pakistan and India.

** February 
In February Pakistan’s Ambassador Riffat Masood after formally presenting her credentials to the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani became Pakistan’s first woman envoy to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In the month Deputy Speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly Qasim Khan Suri said that Iran and Pakistan need to make collective efforts to overcome challenges for restoration of peace at both ends of the border.
The Deputy Speaker made the remarks during a meeting with Iranian Consul General Mohammad Rafiee in south western city of Quetta.
In February an exhibition of Iranian calligraphy by Iranian artists was held in Pakistan’s Islamabad to mark the 40th anniversary of the Glorious Victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran.
In the same month a Friendship Food Festival was held at the Iranian Cultural Centre in north western Pakistani city of Peshawar to mark the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
In the month Pakistan’s Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination Fahmida Mirza said her country fully supports Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and would continue to endorse Iran’s principled stance on this issue.
“The JCPOA represents a good example of negotiated settlement of complex issues through dialogue and diplomacy,” she said.
She was speaking as a chief guest at a ceremony in Islamabad to mark the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
In the same month Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost stressed upon the need for removal of trade barriers between Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan and Pakistan’s Balochistan provinces to promote economic ties.
He said this during a meeting with Balochistan Assembly Speaker Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo in south western city of Quetta.
In February a high level Pakistan delegation visited Iran to address the concerns of the Islamic Republic of Iran over terrorist attack near Zahedan.
Meanwhile Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi urged the need for serious consultations with Pakistan to strengthen the border security between the two countries.
In the same month Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said his country respects sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iran. Talking to media he said that Islamabad will extend all out cooperation to Iran over the terror attack in its Sistan-Baluchestan Province.
In February Spokesperson of the Pakistan Army said that Iran and Pakistan have excellent cooperation at all levels to strengthen the security of joint border.
Director General (DG) of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor said this while responding to a question of IRNA's Correspondent on Zahedan terror attack at a press conference.
In the same month Pakistan’s Minister for National Food Security and Research Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan emphasized that Iran and Pakistan could cooperate in innumerable ways and it is in their best interest to enhance interaction and expand trade volumes.
During a meeting with Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost, the minister said: We could promote bilateral relations through tangible means – trade and business.

**March
In March Director General (DG) of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor welcomed the offer by the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to help achieving a peaceful resolution of dispute between Pakistan and India.
In the same month Pakistan Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad visited Iran to attend the opening ceremony of Qazvin-Rasht-Astara railway route.
During the visit he also met with Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei's advisor Ali-Akbar Velayati and Iranian Minister for Roads and Urban Development Muhammad Eslami.
The most important development of the month was a phone conversation between Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The Iranian president during conversation said, “the terrorists, who are the instruments of other countries, should not be allowed to create distance between Tehran and Islamabad.”
The Pakistani prime minister, for his part, vowed that his country’s government and army will do every effort to annihilate the terrorists and not allow them to use the Pakistani soil against the neighboring countries, Iran in particular.
In March Dr. Hadi Soleimanpour, Iranian Secretary General Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) paid a three-day official trip to Pakistan. This was his maiden visit since he assumed responsibilities as the Secretary General ECO.
In the month Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua spoke to Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister on Political Affairs Seyed Abbas Araghchi and discussed issues of mutual interest.
Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa Commander of the Southern Command announced in March that Pakistan is going to start fencing border with Iran next week.
In the month Pakistan handed over four other Iranian border guards who were kidnapped by terrorists to Iranian authorities.
According to a statement of Pakistan army’s media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the forces conducted successful operation at Amori in district Chaghai, Balochistan about 3-4 kilometers from Pak-Afghan border and recovered the abducted Iranian soldiers from captivity of terrorists.
In the same month Iran’s Tavanir delegation visited Pakistan and met with Pakistan’s Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan.

**April
In the month of April Iran’s Ambassador to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost said that external factors and third party cannot harm all-weather friendship between Iran and Pakistan.
“Relations between the two countries must reach its maximum level, both in official, inter-governmental and public tracks,” he said while speaking to senior Pakistani journalists and TV anchors at Nowruz meeting in the embassy.
In the month Pakistan dispatched humanitarian assistance to flood-hit Iran. 
In April Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan paid his first two-day official visit to Iran. 
Imran Khan, who started his trip with the pilgrimage of Imam Reza (AS), the 8th Shia Imam Shrine in Mashad, was officially welcomed by President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran. After talks with Rouhani and attending a joint press conference with the president, he was received by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
During the month Iranian security forces deported 267 illegal Pakistani nationals who entered Iran without legal documents.
In April Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior notified a new visa policy under which nationals of 48 countries including Iran were allowed to get visa on arrival. 
Spokesperson of the Pakistan Army Major General Asif Ghafoor in April said that Pakistan has increased the number of troops along joint border with Iran.

**May 
During the month of May Iranian security forces deported 162 illegal Pakistani nationals who entered Iran without legal documents.
In the same month Pakistani security forces killed five terrorists in two separate operations in Pakistani province of Balochistan near Iranian border.
In May Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his resolve to complete gas pipeline project with Islamic Republic of Iran.
During the month Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost called on Special Assistance to Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar and discussed prospects of cooperation between the two friendly neighboring states in oil and gas sectors.
In May Senior Pakistani film director and producer Sayed Noor visited Iran and announced to make a film in collaboration with Iranian cinema.
In May Foreign Minister of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif paid a two-day official visit to Pakistan and held talks with Prime Minister Imran Khan, Speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly Asad Qaiser, Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi.  

**June 
In the month of June Director General West Asia at Iran's ministry of foreign affairs Seyed Rasoul Mousavi paid an official visit to Quetta city of southwestern Pakistani province of Balochistan. 
Embassy of Islamic Republic of Iran in Pakistan held a special ceremony to observe the international Al-Quds day in June to express solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine. 
During the month of June Iranian security forces deported 188 illegal Pakistani nationals who entered Iran without legal documents.
In the month four member Iranian parliamentary delegation led by head of Iran-Pakistan parliamentary friendship group Ahmad Amirabadi Farahani visited Pakistan. 
In June ran’s deputy of Interior Ministry for security and law Hossein Zolfaghari visited Pakistan to attend Q4 talks on Afghan Refugees repatriation.
During a meeting with Pakistan Interior Minister Ijaz Ahmad Shah he said that Pakistan government and its intelligence agencies must intensify their efforts to safely recover three more abducted Iranian border guards.
In the same month nine bogies of Iran-Pakistan freight train got derailed in south western Balochistan’s Chaghi district. 

**July 
In July Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost met special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Information and Broadcasting who said cooperation in the fields of media and culture would further cement Iran-Pakistan ties.
In the same month Iranian Minister of Industry, Mining and Trade Reza Rahmani visited Pakistan and held talks with Pakistani leaders on expansion of trade and other matters of mutual interests.
During the visit Iran and Pakistan also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote bilateral trade and investment between the two countries.
In July Iran and Pakistan agreed to further strengthen border cooperation and reaffirmed their commitment to expedite opening of new border crossing points with mutual understanding.
The consensus was reached in the second session of Pakistan-Iran Higher Border Commission (HBC) held in Islamabad.
In the month Managing Director of the Islamic Republic News Agency Zia Hashemi said he will make use of all capacities of the agency to develop Tehran-Islamabad relations.

**August
In the month of Augusta a 16-member Peace and Friendship Bikers Rally traveled to Iran In connection with the 72nd Independence Day of Pakistan.  
This was the first time that such Iran-bound rally had been organized to celebrate the 72nd Independence Day of Pakistan.
In the same month Pakistan National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser during a telephonic conversation with Speaker of Iranian Parliament (Majlis) Ali Larijani discussed the situation in Kashmir region.
In August Iran's President Hassan Rouhani called for diplomatic settlement of Kashmir issue, saying that Iran advocates restoration of rights of the Muslims living in other countries.
In the month Pakistan Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal expressed concerns over the US sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif saying that all issues should be resolved peacefully through diplomatic means.
In August Pakistan’s Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan during a meeting with ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost said that his country is looking forward to enhance energy cooperation with Iran.
In the month Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri had a phone conversation with commander of Pakistani army General Qamar Javed Bajwa. During the conversation he said that Iran and Pakistan along with other Islamic states are very concerned about ongoing developments in Kashmir.
In August Iran's President Hassan Rouhani called Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan by phone to congratulate him Eid Al-Adha. During the talk he called for diplomatic settlement of Kashmir issue, saying that Iran advocates restoration of rights of the Muslims living in other countries.

**September 
In September Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a telephonic conversation with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on current developments in Kashmir.
In the month a special ceremony was held to honor the participants of Peace and Friendship Iran-bound Bikers Rally, titled "Yar-e- Mun Iran" at Iranian Cultural Center Lahore.
In September spokesperson of the Pakistan's Army had said that the Islamic Republic of Iran is an important country in the region and nobody can ignore the key role of the country in regional peace.
In the month Pakistan’s Minister for Religious Affairs said the government is consulting all the stakeholders to facilitate Shia pilgrims’ tour to the holy shrines in Iran.
Religious Affairs Minister Nurul Haq Qadri said this during a meeting to discuss the facilities available to the Shia pilgrims wishing to pay pilgrimage to the holy shrines in Iran, Iraq and Syria.
In the same month a 19-member Pakistani team traveled Iran to participate in the Asian Men’s Volleyball Championship.
In September a two-day regional conference to combat trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants was held in Pakistan’s Islamabad with Islamic Republic of Iran’s presence.
A representative from Iranian Foreign Ministry, Mehdi Rafei, an expert from Interior Ministry, Vahid Hosseini Kia and Omid Sarvari, Iran's anti-narcotics officer were part of the Iranian delegation.  
In the month embassy of Iran in Islamabad organized a meeting of Pakistani tour operators and travel agents at Iranian embassy in Islamabad on Saturday to discuss the promotion of religious and health tourism.
During the month Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa Commander of the Southern Command said that fencing of the border with Iran is continuing apace as 30 kilometers of the construction work has been completed so far.
In September Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mehmood Qureshi had two meetings with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif at United Nations headquarters in New York on regional security and bilateral ties. 
In the month Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan met with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly Session in New York. 
In September Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed concerns over developments in the Persian Gulf region said that war is not a solution to any issue and would lead to more problems and tensions.
He was speaking at an event at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) think tank in New York. 
He said his country would try its best to de-escalate tensions between Iran, the US and Saudi Arabia.
During the September Islamic Republic of Iran expressed deepest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones in the deadly earthquake in Pakistan.
In the month Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Pakistan held a special ceremony to observe the anniversary of Iran’s Sacred Defense Week.
In the month Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost said that regional cooperation is the only way forward to overcome the problems and there is no need for interference and presence of external forces in our region.

**October 
On October 1st Director General Anti-Narcotics Force Pakistan (ANF) Major General Muhammad Arif Malik visited Iran. 
In October the freight train service between Iran and Pakistan got derailed due to flash floods in southwestern Balochistan province.
In the month Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan as part of his initiative to promote peace and security in the region traveled to Iran for his second official visit to the country.
During the visit, the Prime Minister had meetings with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.
Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mahmood Qureshi who accompanied Prime Minister Imran Khan during a visit to Iran in October said that Pakistan is making sincere efforts to establish peace in the region.
He said that the recent visit of the Prime Minister Imran Khan to Iran was held in a pleasant atmosphere.
In the month Iran’s parliament speaker Ali Larijani met with his Pakistani counterpart Asad Qaiser on the sidelines of the 141st Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Belgrade.
In the month Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had said that Pakistan is doing everything to help lower tensions and ensure the preservation of regional peace and security.
He said that as part of the peace efforts, Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Iran and Saudi Arabia to defuse tensions and promote peace and stability in the region.
In October Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met with Pakistani President Arif Alvi on the sidelines of the NAM summit in Baku.  The Iranian president during the meeting praised Iran-Pakistan relations is growing and developing, noting the two nations 'deep ties and ties and said that the two countries' top officials are determined to fully develop Tehran-Islamabad ties.
In the month Pakistan’s Minister of State for States and Frontier Regions Shehryar Khan Afridi during a meeting with Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost expressed hope that both Iran and Pakistan would work together for regional peace and development.
During the month Iranian security forces deported 235 illegal Pakistani nationals who entered Iran without legal documents.

**November 
In November Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa paid his second official visit to Iran. General Bajwa held talks with President Rouhani, Zarif, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, Army Commander Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi along with Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani.
In the month Pakistan’s Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) had suggested the establishment of Pakistan-Iran joint chamber of commerce and industry to boost trade.
In November Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade said Iran and Pakistan have always been in support of each other in all international circles and at the same time have no restrictions on the development of Tehran-Islam relations.
Reza Rahmani, in a meeting with the chairman and members of the Iran-Pakistan Friendship Group, said that Iran views its fraternal relations with Pakistan as a strategic and deep relationship and should take better steps based on mutual interests and in the framework of expanding bilateral relations as well as developing existing capacities.
During the month the head of Pakistan-Iran Parliamentary Friendship Group Naveed Qamar traveled to Iran where he said Islamabad has never and will not support Washington against illegal sanctions imposed on Iran because these sanctions not only harm Iran but are also detrimental for Pakistan and the region.
During the month of November, outgoing Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost held farewell meetings with Pakistan Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, President Arif Alvi, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, Prime Minister's Adviser on Commerce, Abdul Razak Dawood and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood.
In the month of November Islamabad Policy and Research Institute organized Margalla Dialogue 2019 on "Peace and Development in South Asia, Middle East, Central Asia" which was also attended by Former ambassador of Iran to Ireland Javad Kachoueian.
Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan in his speech at the conference expressed hope for direct talks between Tehran and Washington and said that if the sanctions are lifted, the Islamic Republic of Iran would have the potential to become a real economic power in the region.
In the month Pakistan hosted an international course on Assistance and Protection against Chemical Weapons in collaboration with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on November 11-15 which was attended by seven countries including Iran.
In November Pakistan Foreign Office Women’s Association (PFOWA) held its annual charity bazaar, during which the Iranian stall became the center of attraction.
In the month the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Islamabad and its consulates in Pakistan started the launch of e-visa service for Pakistani nationals to promote people to people contact and tourism.
During the month Iranian security forces deported 237 illegal Pakistani nationals who entered Iran without legal documents.

**December 
In December meeting of the 7th Joint Border Trade Committee (JBTC) of Iran and Pakistan was held in Zahedan.
In the month Directorate of Pakistan Customs Intelligence has seized 140,000 liters of smuggled Iranian diesel near the eastern city of Lahore.
In December sixth meeting of the permanent border, the committee was held at Taftan border during which Iran asked Pakistan to help recovering remaining abducted border guards.
Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the month said that the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan are entering into the new era of cooperation. 
He made the remarks during a meeting titled ‘Business Connect’ organized by the ministry for foreign affairs to discuss prospects and the importance of economic diplomacy.
Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan in the month directed the ministry of commerce to expedite the process of setting up border markets with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In December Commander Islamic Republic of Iran Navy, Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi visited Pakistan to enhance cooperation between the two states in maritime sector. 
In the month Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the sidelines of 8th Ministerial, Heart of Asia Conference in Istanbul. 
In December newly appointed ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Hosseini arrived in Islamabad. 
During the month Iranian security forces deported 213 illegal Pakistani nationals who entered Iran without legal documents.
In December Pakistan appointed Rahim Hayat Qureshi as new ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In the month a three-day 15th Build Asia Exhibition was held in Pakistan’s Karachi with the presence of ten companies of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In December a team of experienced Iranian doctors from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini hospital conducted first-ever free liver transplant and hepatitis camp in Pakistan from December 17-18.  
The two-day camp was organized in collaboration with Pak Health Care center in Eastern city of Lahore for deserving patients. 
In the month Iranian Border Guards Commander Brigadier General Qassem Rezaee visited Pakistan and signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance maritime security cooperation.
In the same month former Iranian ambassador and expert on international affairs Akbar Gasemi visited Pakistan to participate at an international conference titled “Cross-Regional Media Fusion among the Belt and Road Partners” organized by Center for Global and Strategic Studies, (CGSS) in Islamabad.
During outgoing year religious tourism between Iran and Pakistan witnessed unprecedented surge and a large number of pilgrims visited religious places in Iran during the months of Muharram and Safar.
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