TEHRAN (Iran News) – The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan have enjoyed good relations during different governments ruling in both countries but sometimes this relation has been good in words and not in practice, and recent Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Quereshi’s visit has been aimed strengthening the ties with Tehran.
Iran–Pakistan relations covers the bilateral relations between the adjacent states of Iran and Pakistan. After Pakistan gained its independence in August 1947, Iran was one of the first countries to recognize its sovereign status.
Despite some ups and downs and interference of some governments, both countries have continued to cooperate economically where possible and are forming alliances in a number of areas of mutual interest, such as fighting the drug trade along their border and combating the insurgency in the Balochistan region. Iran has also expressed an interest in joining the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as part of the larger Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.
Islamabad has always supported Iran in hard times and in any voting in the United Nations or international communities despite the West’s pressures, and it has shown its loyalty to its friendship to Iran. Iranians will not support Pakistan’s support during the eight-year Iraqi imposed war and even during the UNSC’s attempts to issue resolutions against Iran. These two Muslim countries have great potentials to cooperate together in different fields but so far this opportunity has been less noticed by governments of both countries and it seems due to the regional condition, both sides have shown more determination to bolster the relation especially their trade relation.
Pakistan is one of the few countries where Iranian influence is positively received as per polls conducted by the Pew Research Center. Polls have consistently shown that a very high proportion of Pakistanis view their western neighbor positively. Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Khamenei has also called for the sympathy, assistance and inter-cooperation of all Muslim nations, including Pakistan.
The bilateral trade between the two countries has been affected by the U.S. sanctions and policies of governments in both sides, but due to a shift in the policies of Imran Khan and President Rouhani governments, both sides can improve their trade cooperation.
Both sides has recently agreed on strengthening bilateral trade and economic ties by signing a free trade agreement (FTA), building an effective banking channel, establishing markets along the border, eliminating illegal trade, exchanging business delegations, organizing joint trade exhibitions and businessmen-to-businessmen meetings. Opening of some border points are of the other signs showing determination of both countries for boosting economic relations.
But before boosting border trade or any business, both sides need to improve their security cooperation in their joint borders which harm their relations. Terrorist groups which are mainly supported by the enemies of both countries do not let the relation between Iran and Pakistan get warmer and both countries should work together to clean their borders from the terrorist groups.
Recent cooperation agreement between Iran and China has been welcomed by Pakistan as the country itself has started cooperation with China and now they can have a trilateral cooperation in the region for improving the trade and business in the region.
If Pakistan continues to be serious in doing business with Iran, both countries can help each other in different fields and it will also reinforce the Muslim world because the more Muslim countries get closer together, the more the Muslim world would get united against the plots and the West’s atrocities and rifts.
Iran as a pioneer Muslim country has always shown its sincerity to other countries especially to its neighboring states and Muslim ones, and it has always supported unity among the Muslim nations but unfortunately the governments under influence of the foreign countries have snubbed Iran’s friendship hand and it seems Pakistan this time under Imran Khan government is serious to boost its economic and security ties with Tehran and the both sides can later work on their joint gas pipeline when the sanctions are removed.
Quereshi’s meeting with high-ranking Iranian officials bespeaks Pakistan’s approach towards ties with Iran and it seems Iran-Pakistan ties are getting into a new era.