Tehran, Islamabad counterterrorism cooperation increased in recent years: Pakistan FM

Islamabad, IRNA -- Foreign Minister of Pakistan while referring to the improved security situation in border regions with Iran says cooperation between Tehran and Islamabad in the fight against terrorism has been increased in recent years.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi during an interview with the Irania media added Tehran and Islamabad have increased their cooperation to deal with insecurity and any terrorist movements near the common border.
Qureshi, who was in Tehran to attend the second foreign ministerial meeting of neighbors of Afghanistan highlighted the importance of Islamabad's recent agreement on counterterrorism cooperation with Tehran, saying the two sides have adopted a joint strategy to deal with terrorist attacks.
The top Pakistani diplomat also said border violence has significantly declined in recent years as the two neighbors want to see a stable and peaceful region, and are looking to expand their economic cooperation.
Referring to security incidents along the common border between Iran and Pakistan, which have sometimes led to attacks on Iranian border forces, the Pakistani prime minister noted that such incidents happen on both sides and attributed them to “spoilers who do not want to see this border between ... Pakistan and Iran to be border of friendship and peace.”

**Coordinated mechanism of Iran and Pakistan in place for border protection

Shah Mahmoud Qureshi said Iran and Pakistan have an active border mechanism and we have structures in place through which we can coordinate, share intelligence and adopt a joint strategy to deal with such incidents.
He said fortunately terrorist incidents have gone down considerably.
 “Pakistan has taken a number of steps that will further ensure better border management and that is fencing the border. Hopefully by the end of this year, 2021, we will have fenced our border with Iran ... the whole border, and that will make a huge difference,” he added.
He said soon our director of naval training would be visiting Iran to sign an agreement with the Iranian government to facilitate the training program of Iranian navy personnel.

**Innovative steps of two neighbors to strengthen trade

Referring to the increase in the exchange of high-level delegations at various levels between Iran and Pakistan, including the forthcoming visit of Adviser to Prime Minister of Pakistan for Commerce and Investment to Tehran says there is huge potential to enhance bilateral trade but innovative ways need to be explored in this regards.
He said soon our director of naval training would be visiting Iran to sign an agreement with the Iranian government to facilitate the training program of Iranian navy personnel.
He said there is a huge potential of bilateral trade between Iran and Pakistan but lack of banking channel is a big hurdle in this regards.
“We have to look for innovative ways to enhance bilateral trade,” he said.
In November Pakistan’s Commerce Advisor would be visiting Iran with a delegation to look for the possibilities on how to enhance trade with Iran.

**Concerns about Daesh presence in Afghanistan

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said emergence of Daesh in Afghanistan is a matter of concern that is why Pakistan initiated the process of meeting of the immediate neighbors of Afghanistan, first meeting took on September 8th and the second meeting took place on 27th of October in Tehran. The idea was to collectively look at the challenges.
“One of the challenges is terrorism, international terrorist organizations, and Daesh is one of them, we do not want their footprint to increase in Afghanistan or in the region; so, what we need is a collected unified coordinated approach to deal with such elements and entities,” Qureshi said.

**Sudden withdrawal of United States creates chaos in Afghanistan

Shah Mahmood Quresh while denying any agreement between Islamabad and Washington for US intelligence operations in Afghanistan through Pakistani airspace, said sudden withdrawal of the United States and the weakness of Ashraf Ghani's government are the main factors of chaos in Afghanistan.
He added you saw what happened at Kabul airport and hundreds of lives were lost, so that sudden withdrawal of the United States added to the confusion and turmoil in Afghanistan.
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