QUETTA - Pakistan and Iran on Friday agreed to take joint steps to fight militant groups and curb the menace of cross-border terrorism.
Pakistan assured the Iranians that it would make all possible efforts for the recovery of five kidnapped Iranian border guards. High-level officials from both sides met for a third day to remove misunderstandings which had developed in the aftermath of the abduction of the five border guards.
"Pakistan will strictly act if we get any information regarding the presence of kidnapped Iranian soldiers on our soil," Chief Secretary Balochistan, Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad told reporters at a joint Press conference in Quetta. The three-day meeting of officials from both sides thoroughly discussed border issues, trade, extradition of criminals, fisheries and violations of the international border.
The Chief Secretary said that both countries have decided to form a joint committee comprising senior officials from both sides to keep a vigilant eye on border violations and other issues relating to the Pakistan-Iran border.
He said that the committee would present its report to the border commission after three months, adding, that both sides have agreed to boost coordination to avoid misunderstanding and promote bilateral relations. "Less communication can lead to misunderstandings," he said.
Ali Asghar Shikari, the Deputy Governor of Sistan-Balochistan who was representing the Iranian delegation, expressed serious concern over the kidnapping and said that the incident had harmed the feelings of the Iranian people. "It is important for us to address the issue of kidnapping of the border guards," he told reporters during the joint Press conference.
NISAR, IRAN ENVOY DISCUSS
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan Friday told the Iranian ambassador that the two countries must rise above the current irritants and endeavour to protect the fundamentals of Pak-Iran relations.
Islamic Republic of Iran Ambassador Alireza Haghighian called on Federal Interior and Narcotics Control Minister Nisar Ali Khan in Islamabad to discuss the border security issue at the meeting.
The relations between Pakistan and Iran soared some days ago after the Iranian interior minister threatened to send troops into Pakistani territory to recover his abducted soldiers kidnapped from an Iranian province by militants. The kidnapped soldiers had been allegedly taken to Pakistan across the border.
The minister said the two countries and their security agencies should work together to make the entire Pak-Iran border safe for the common citizens and a no-go area for militants and terrorists. He also said that instead of airing views through the media it would be more appropriate if issues were discussed at the table. He opined that no militant or terrorist should be allowed to negatively influence the very close relations between the two countries.
Talking to the ambassador, Chaudhry Nisar said Pakistan’s relations with Iran were embedded in common historical, cultural, religious, economic and geographical links. He said Pakistan-Iran relations were important for the region as well as for the whole Muslim Ummah. “We must rise above the difficulties to totally nullify the designs of our enemies,” he said.
The minister said that he was single-mindedly committed to further strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries and to evolve this friendship as a model for the region.
The ambassador reciprocated the sentiments of the minister and said the government of Islamic Republic of Iran was looking for working closely with the government of Pakistan in further strengthening relations in all fields, including closer economic, cultural and security relations.
He said his government was looking forward to the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Iran, which would help in further bolstering relations between the two countries.