Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who received the visiting Senate Chairman of Pakistan Nayyer Hussain Bokhari on Monday, stressed that both religious and geographical factors called for closer ties between Pakistan and his country. Mr Ahmadinejad saw the separate nature of the two countries as mere “geopolitical divisions” since, he argued, the two peoples have common culture emanating from the same source and origin and common values. It is hard to dispute his contention that the stronger the ties the better for both. Adding force to his argument is the reality of today, which demands the defence of common interests. Both Pakistan and Iran look forward to the return of peaceful conditions to the troubled land of the Afghans, as it is tied to their own stability. The religion of the two countries to which the Iranian President also alluded could be a cementing force between nations even living far apart from each other and when they are neighbours with contiguous borders, there are several other compelling factors also that draw them closer to each other. While urging for the full exploitation of the potential of bilateral cooperation, Mr Ahmadinejad advocated that the bordering regions of Pakistan and Iran should more actively interact with each other to conduct commercial business and conditions should be created for more frequent exchange of visits. Senate Chairman Nayyer Bokhari shared the Iranian President’s sentiments of strengthened relations to meet the challenges of the time.
Coming to the state of Pak-Iran bilateral relations, there is much scope for developing them, for instance, by increasing the exchange of goods and services. Islamabad must vigorously pursue all possibilities of exploiting this potential, beginning with the implementation of the Iranian gas pipeline project. The crippling deficiency of energy that has brought life to a standstill in the country calls for an urgent meeting of the requirement from whatever source feasible. This should constitute a convincing argument for the US to lift its objections to our going ahead with this project.