Jan 8, 2022, 4:21 PM
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Iran-Pakistan Relations: Prospects of Economic and Social Cooperation

Islamabad, IRNA -- Speakers at a webinar stressing on economic and social cooperation between Iran and Pakistan said the two countries must take advantage of each others’ capacities especially in energy sector to encounter US unilateral sanctions.

A webinar titled ‘Iran-Pakistan Relations: Prospects of Economic and Social Cooperation’ was organized by the Institute of Regional Studies in Islamabad attended by Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Pakistan, diplomats, professors and political analysts.

Ambassador Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini in his views said the base of the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, is on the golden principle of "Neighbours First".

The ambassador said the goal set by the high ranking officials of the two countries regarding to increase the volume of trade up to $ 5 billion, more efforts should be made to achieve this strategy by both sides. 

“Therefore, one of the important priorities in boosting of bilateral economic relations should be the establishment of banking relations between the two countries,” he said.

Iran-Pakistan Relations: Prospects of Economic and Social Cooperation

Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini said that promotion of cooperation in transportation and transit area, considered predators to boost the economic and trade ties.

He noted The Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad freight train, also known as the Eco train, has been launched in 2021 according to the agreement signed by the Ministers of Transport of the ECO member countries.

“Pakistan International Airlines has also resumed its flights to Iran and this is good news for the two great nations of Iran and Pakistan,” he said.

Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini the unilateral and oppressive US sanctions against the Iranian nation have created very difficult conditions for the people, and this ominous phenomenon coincided with the outbreak of the Corona virus, has made the supply of medicine and food more difficult.

“But US sanctions are one-sided and completely off the international agenda,” he said.

He added the port of Chabahar in Iran and the port of Gwadar in Pakistan have great potential to strengthen the connection between our economies in the first place and all regional countries in the second. Fear of such a capacity has led some countries to identify the two ports as two rivals.

He said recognizing the power of Pakistan and Iran in the light of convergence and the possible

The ambassador said the Islamic Republic of Iran supports any project that strengthens harmony between countries and strengthens the bonds of peace and friendship among nations and contributes to the economic development and prosperity of the region.

“In this regard, we appreciate and welcome the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project called CPEC,” he said.

Iran-Pakistan Relations: Prospects of Economic and Social Cooperation

Lieutenant General (R) Abdul Qayyum former Senator said Iran and Pakistan have deep-rooted historic ties.

The former head of the Pakistan-Iran parliamentary friendship group in the Senate said Pakistan was the first country to recognize the Islamic Revolution of Iran adding that the then President of Pakistan Zia-ul-Haq had said that the coming of Imam Khomeini was a resurgence of Islam.

Abdul Qayyum said that US unilateral sanctions have been a hindrance in the development of Iran-Pakistan economic ties.

He said Iran has always supported the oppressed nation of Palestine and raised a strong voice against the Zionist Regime.

He said the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project is a good project and could provide us with cheap energy from the brotherly country of Iran but the US has put the project under sanctions despite knowing the energy problems of Pakistan.

Abdul Qayyum expressing his views said the US has always violated the UN charter and targeted killings in Iran.

He said Iran and Pakistan can do barter trade with each other to avoid sanctions. He said Iran and Pakistan share a long border and long coast which is a blessing.

He viewed that Chabahar and Gwadar ports should be linked through ferry service and railway links. 

He stressed the need for enhanced media cooperation between the two countries.

Abdul Qayyum said the Zionist regime which possesses nuclear weapons, missiles, and biological weapons is a threat to the region.

He strongly believed there should be frequent visits between Iran and Pakistan, especially at the parliamentary level.

Iran-Pakistan Relations: Prospects of Economic and Social Cooperation

While speaking on the occasion, Riffat Masood, Pakistan’s former ambassador to Iran said we should recall our strong cultural and historical ties. She said there have always been strong political ties between Iran and Pakistan.

She said that air connectivity between Iran and Pakistan is very important and will help in increasing economic and social activity.

“Existence of US sanctions has hindered our economic ties”, Riffat Masood noted.

The former ambassador went on to say Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul freight train is a clear example of how ECO can be helpful in boosting regional trade.

Dr. Rashid Ahmed Khan senior analyst and former professor at Punjab University said that Iran is not an ordinary neighbor of Pakistan and has always stood by Pakistan in difficult times.

He stressed the need for more cultural exchanges between Iran and Pakistan, adding that people of the two countries love each other and Allama Iqbal is better known in Iran than Pakistan.

He said that currently there is formal and informal trade going between Iran and Pakistan, but formal trade between the two countries is not up to the mark. The expert said the trade between the two countries should be enhanced.

Dr. Rashid Ahmed Khan said Iran can play a very important role in the development of Balochistan province by investing in the province and exporting electricity.

"We should trust the Iranian people and people of Pakistan must listen to the people of Iran," he said.

Professor Qamar Cheema from NUML while moderating the webinar said Iran and Pakistan need to work on economic diplomacy. He said Iran is a very important neighbor and brotherly Islamic country that has been playing an important role in the peace and development of the region. 

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