Pakistan, Iran warm up to each other

Gen Bajwa meets Iranian military, civil leadership, Both sides agree to deny exploitation of border by terrorists and turn it into a line of ‘Peace and Friendship’

Islamabad/lahore - Fast-changing geopolitical scenario has made Pakistan and Iran rediscover love in each other and build their future on the old, trusted common bonds of religion and culture, after years of relative estrangement.

Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa is on a three-day visit to the neighbouring Muslim state.

The visit, which appears to be bringing an immediate boost to military ties, is also expected to result in enhanced cooperation in civilian areas.

In his meetings with Iranian civil and military leadership on Monday, General Bajwa termed Pak-Iran border as a border of “Peace and Friendship”, ISPR said in a press statement.

He emphasised better security management at the border so as to deny its exploitation by the terrorists being a common enemy, military’s media wing further said.

Both sides agreed to further the proposals for border’s formalisation, it said, quoting Bajwa as saying that Pakistan and Iran were two brotherly neighbours with shared history, culture and religion.

The army chief met Iranian Chief of General Staff (CGS) Major General Muhammad Bagheri at the General Staff HQ where he was presented guard of honour and delegation level talks were also held. Gen Bajwa laid floral wreath at the Martyrs Monument.

The COAS also held meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the Presidential Palace.

ISPR said the Iranian leadership thanked the COAS for his visit and acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifices and achievements in the war against terror, contributions towards regional peace and the important positive role that Pakistan was playing in this regard.

During the meetings, the army chief discussed issues related to geo-strategic environment, defence and security, and economic cooperation at bilateral as well as regional levels.

Afghan situation, growing threat of ISIS in the region and the Pak-Iran border security also came under discussion, it said.

Leaders of both sides agreed to stay engaged for enhanced bilateral cooperation, while jointly working to assist in bringing positive developments in issues concerning the region.

Rouhani’s statement

“Tehran welcomes expansion of defensive and military cooperation with Islamabad hoping that such cooperation will lead to bolstering of political, economic and cultural cooperation between the two countries,” Iranian news agency IRNA quoted President Rouhani as saying during meeting with the visiting dignitary.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is determined to broaden brotherly and sincere relations with its neighbours such as Pakistan, and there is no doubt that such relations will win supports of both nations, Rouhani said.

Expansion of cooperation between the two sides’ armed forces could be in various sectors such as training, joint military exercises, military industries as well as exchange of experiences, he noted said.

Terrorism, sectarian and ethnical differences are now regarded as two main problems in the world of Islam and “role of some global powers in fanning the flames of such disputes is remarkable”, the president said.

This was an obvious reference to the United States and Saudi Arabia, both of whom happen to be allies of Pakistan. Washington is the leading force behind international sanctions on Tehran. As the political leader of Sunni Islam, Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is a regional rival of Iran – which leads the Shia bloc.

Big powers are against unity and brotherhood between Muslims as they know that such relations will bring Muslims much closer and there is no doubt that these countries in the absence of global powers will be able to resolve their problems, Rouhani further commented.

Close cooperation between Iran and Pakistan can help prepare the grounds for more unity among Islamic states and it is quite evident that existing differences between Islamic countries can be resolved through dialogue, he said.

Iran-Pakistan border should be introduced as border of friendship, development and tourism between the two nations and both sides should not let some terrorist groups to make these borders insecure, President Rouhani said, agreeing with Gen Bajwa.

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