'Energy, border projects manifest vitality of Pakistan-Iran friendship'

The Prime Minister of Pakistan stressing the importance of enhanced cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran says energy projects and border markets are emblematic of the vitality of Pakistan-Iran friendship.

Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif made the remarks in a written interview sent to the Bureau office of the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) in Islamabad.

He said Pakistan and Iran are brotherly countries bound by deep-rooted religious, cultural, and linguistic ties. “Both our governments are collaborating closely for the betterment and socio-economic uplift of our peoples,” he said.

The PM was of the view that the Mand-Pishin border marketplace and the Polan-Gabd electricity project are tangible manifestations of this joint resolution. He added the border markets including Mand-Pishin will not only ameliorate the socioeconomic conditions of our border regions but also foster new opportunities for local businesses. They would also serve as a stepping stone for greater cooperation between our two countries, especially in the economic domain.

To a question the Prime Minister of Pakistan said that I firmly believe bilateral trade is one area where we have to intensify our efforts and apply our collective energies and resources.

He noted there is tremendous scope and mutual desire for the actualization of our trade potential. Both Pakistan and Iran are deeply committed to achieving an annual trade volume of $5 billion. In this regard, the operationalization of the barter trade mechanism is a significant step.

Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif stated the border markets would enhance trade and contribute to the development of our nations. Last year, the two sides made substantive progress during the 21st session of the Joint Economic Commission held in Islamabad in August. It is important to keep this momentum.

The PM in his remarks said I take this opportunity to congratulate the Governments of Iran and Saudi Arabia on the resumption of diplomatic ties. “This milestone achievement is a testament to the vision and foresight of the astute leadership of Iran and Saudi Arabia and the valuable role played by China.

We are confident that this important development would serve as a harbinger for regional peace and prosperity,” he said.

He strongly believed the Polan-Gwadar electricity project is emblematic of the vitality of Pakistan-Iran friendship and a testimony of the strength of our mutual cooperation. The record time in which the project was completed on both sides exemplifies the potential of our bilateral cooperation.

Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif noted several initiatives for improvement of maritime and port cooperation are being discussed between Pakistan and Iran, including collaboration of activities between the sister ports of Gwadar and Chabahar.

“We will continue to work for deepening connectivity between our two countries in all fields, particularly given our highest commitment to complement each other in promoting regional trade, transit and connectivity,” said the PM.

To a question he said the great poet philosopher Allama Muhammad Iqbal characterized Afghanistan as the beating ‘Heart of Asia’. Just as a healthy heart sustains a vibrant body, a peaceful and stable Afghanistan is instrumental to regional peace and prosperity. Pakistan remains committed to the goal of promoting shared prosperity for Afghanistan and the region.

The Pakistani PM went on to say that Afghanistan currently faces multiple and complex challenges in the security, economic and humanitarian domains. As we speak, over 28 million people –2/3rd of the entire population in Afghanistan, require urgent humanitarian assistance to survive. The menace of terrorism continues to claim innocent Afghan lives.

Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif expressing his views said the international community must stand by the people of Afghanistan at this critical juncture. Constructive engagement with the Interim Afghan Government (IAG) is imperative.

“What is needed is  a ‘balanced’ approach based on hierarchy of priorities for the international community including ‘counter terrorism’, ‘drug trafficking’, and promoting inclusive governance etc. at the same time, the international community must play its part in promoting sustainable economic pathways for the ordinary Afghan people,” he believed.

He said as friends and neighbors of Afghanistan, the neighboring countries including Pakistan and Iran have a critical role to this end.

The PM said Pakistan-Iran relations are rooted in a history of close and unremitting cooperation through cultural and people to people contacts. These longstanding exchanges between our two nations have fraternized into a bond between Pakistan and Iran today.

“I am glad to note that IRNA and Pakistan news agency, Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) have recently signed an agreement to promote media collaboration,” added the Prime Minister.

He said several such agreements are under discussion in various fields to enhance cooperation in the fields of television, films, cinema, literary and linguistic enterprises. These would help depict our rich culture and traditions in their true light and further strengthen the ties of friendship and solidarity between our two nations.

News Code 195338

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