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Wednesday, 12 May 2021 07:35 GMT

Pak-Iran ties moving towards positive cooperation: Qureshi


(MENAFN - IANS) By Hamza Ameer

Tehran, April 22 (IANS) Pakistan and Iran are making headways towards increasing bilateral cooperation with border security and establishment of trade markets along the borders.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who is on a three-day visit to Iran, said that the relations between the two countries are moving towards positive cooperation.

"Fraternal relations between the two countries had deepened during the visit," he said.

"Iranian President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged that bilateral relation between Pakistan and Iran had improved. Pakistan has signed MoU with Iran to open trade centres in border areas."

On the other hand, Rouhani highlighted that border security remained as the prime point of concern for Pakistan and Iran, which he said "could be tackled through greater cooperation between the two neighbours".

"Security is a common concern for the two countries, and the development of relations in this regard is imperative," he said.

An MoU was also signed to open the third cross-border market at Mand-Pishin border crossing point to enhance bilateral trade.

But border security and cross-border movement of terrorists has been one of the prime issues of distrust between the two countries for some time.

The 909 km-long border between Pakistan and Iran is filled with operating terror groups, criminal gangs, human traffickers and drug traffickers.

Terror attacks targeted at locals on both sides along with attacks on security forces on both sides, have kept relations between the two countries stretched.

President Rouhani also offered support and cooperation to Pakistan in ensuring peace in Afghanistan, adding, "peace and stability could be ensured through regional mechanisms".

"Iran and Pakistan, as two most important and effective neighbouring countries to Afghanistan, should increase cooperation and interaction for the development of the peace process in the country," he said.

Qureshi stated that "Pakistan has vociferously expressed serious concern over the increasing trend of Islamophobia in the West, which was being fanned by certain extremist elements".

"Pakistan does not oppose the right to freedom of speech and expression, but this did not give anyone the right to hurt other's feelings. Certain incidents in the past regarding publications of blasphemous sketches and statements hurt the sentiments of the entire Muslim ummah, including Pakistani nation," he said.

Both countries have also expressed desire and intent to complete the unimplemented agreements, including the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, which has been pending for long.

Qureshi stated that both Pakistan and Iran realize the need to enhance bilateral relations and play progressive role in increasing people-to-people contact.

--IANS

hamza/ksk/

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