PM Shehbaz Sharif, President Ebrahim Raisi inaugurate border market, electricity transmission line n Shehbaz Sharif says Islamabad, Tehran to finalise free trade agreement soon n President Raisi calls for resolution of regional disputes through dialogue n Says Iran desires to enhance cooperation with Pakistan in energy sector.
PAK-IRAN BORDER - Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Thursday inaugurated the first border market as relations warm between the two countries. Both the leaders also inaugurated an electricity transmission line, which will provide some of Pakistan’s remote regions with Iranian electricity.
In a televised meeting, PM Sharif, sitting next to Raisi, assured him Pakistan would do its best to improve security along the Iranian border. He added that both sides agreed to enhance trade and economic ties, and extended an invitation to Raisi to visit the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also said that Pakistan and Iran have decided to finalise the Free Trade Agreement soon to exploit the immense potential in trade and investment. The bilateral ties and cooperation were discussed in a meeting between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi after the two leaders inaugurated the Mand-Pishin border market. Following the “very productive and positive” meeting, the prime minister told a gathering of local elders that the two sides had decided to move forward in the areas of trade, investment, information technology, agriculture and other sectors. The two leaderships also decided to exploit the potential for cooperation in the power transmission.
He told the gathering that on his suggestion, the Iranian president also assured to move forward for enhancing cooperation in the solar energy sector. The prime minister said that during the meeting, he also put forward the suggestions regarding the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and that the two sides would take measures for implementation of the decisions taken in the meeting.
Regarding the inauguration of Mand-Pishin border market, the prime minister said the facility would enhance trade activity in the surrounding areas and would get uplift as trade centers would be constructed there. Prime Minister Shehbaz also invited the Iranian president to visit Pakistan which he accepted.
Coming to the project of 100 megawatt Gabd-Bolan transmission line, the PM said the project faced immense delay in the past but the incumbent government ensured its completion in the record time. Iranian President Raisi also took keen interest in the project, he added.
He said the matter related to the power tariff had also been settled amicably with Iranian government
“This is a great day for Pakistan-Iran friendship and will prove a milestone for development of the two countries,” the prime minister remarked.
A new chapter to Pak-Iran ties
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday said that the inauguration of Mand-Pishin border market and 100 megawatt power Gabd-Polan power transmission line added a new chapter to Pakistan-Iran relationship.
The prime minister, who along with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi inaugurated the Gabd-Polan transmission line told the ceremony that the project would benefit the people of Gwadar and bring in the socio-economic development.
He thanked the energy ministers of Pakistan and Iran and relevant organisations for their efforts to complete the otherwise halted project in the record time. The prime minister believed that there existed huge potential for bilateral energy and petroleum projects and expressed the hope that the two countries would make all-out efforts to tap the potential for benefit of the two people.
Regarding the inauguration of Pishin-Mand border market, he said such six markets would be developed in the region to usher a new era of progress. This would prove to be a milestone for bilateral relationship, he remarked.
Prime Minister Shehbaz told the gathering that during his meeting with President Raisi earlier in the day, he had discussed cooperation in the solar energy sector as the Iranian leader also assured cooperation.
He said the delegations from both sides would visit each other to work out the solar energy projects.
The prime minister said he also extended an invitation to President Raisi which he accepted.
He said Pakistan and Iran were bound in centuries old relationship marking Islamic brotherhood. However the bilateral trade, investment did not reflect that relationship, he commented.
Calling for maximum efforts to exploit the potential, the prime minister assured the Iranian president of his support and cooperation in the journey.
He said the leadership from both sides would have to bring about a revolution of development for the benefit of two countries. To a suggestion by the Iranian president, the prime minister assured for taking measures for a joint security mechanism in order to thwart the nefarious designs poised to undermine the bilateral ties.
The prime minister also thanked the Iranian president for a warm reception and hospitality to him as well as the delegation.
In his address, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said the Pak-Iran relations were strengthening as both the countries were bound in religious bond. He said Iran desired to enhance cooperation with Pakistan in the energy sector.
He congratulated the Government of Pakistan on completion of the 100MW power transmission project that would beget employment opportunities for people in the area. Coming to the regional situation, he called for resolution of regional disputes through dialogue to achieve durable peace.
Energy Minister Engineer Khurram Dastgir thanked the Iranian partners and NTDC in Pakistan for their extraordinary efforts to ensure completion of the project in record time despite heavy floods.
He said these projects would unlock the development and lead to the infrastructural transformation as well as industrial development.
The Mand-Pishin border sustenance market is aimed at boosting bilateral trade. This is one of the six border markets which will be constructed along the Pak-Iran common border.
The Mand-Pishin border sustenance marketplace will provide a thriving platform for increasing cross-border trade, fostering economic growth, and opening up new avenues of opportunity for local businesses.
The two leaders also planted a sapling in the premises of the border market as a gesture to stride forward in the bilateral relationship between the two countries. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Power Minister Khurram Dastagir, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb and senior officials of Pakistan and Iran were present.
The Foreign Office in a statement said, “The joint inauguration is a manifestation of the strong commitment of Pakistan and Iran to uplift the welfare of residents of the neighboring provinces of Balochistan and Sistan-o-Baluchestan, respectively.”