Iranian Foreign Minister Dr. Muhammad Javad Zarif said his country was prepared to establish a “comprehensive” relationship with Pakistan by holding talks on Wednesday with senior civil and military officials in the midst of new regional alignments.
Zarif, who led a high-powered delegation including Iran’s special envoy to Afghanistan, met with Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and visited the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi to speak with military chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. This was the second visit by Zarif to Islamabad in six months and came against the backdrop of the region’s new alignments.
Visiting Iranian officials have seldom engaged with the military leadership in Pakistan in the past, but that is no longer the case. In addition to civilian levels, there has been an increased cooperation between the two countries on the military front as well.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, speaking to the Iranian Foreign Minister, said that Pakistan and Iran enjoy a strong and cordial relationship and that bilateral cooperation between the two countries must be further enhanced for mutual gain.
In addition, the Prime Minister emphasized the need for enhanced bilateral cooperation, with particular focus on bilateral trade and economic ties. He stressed the need to work closely to promote the region’s stability, security and development. Highlighting Pakistan’s efforts to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan, the Prime Minister said the Afghan conflict does not have a military solution.
Reaffirming Pakistan’s support for the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, he hoped that all Afghan parties would take this historic opportunity to secure a political settlement.
Imran also claimed that peace in Afghanistan will help the region as a whole by creating new opportunities for trade, economic cooperation and regional connectivity.
After Zarif’s meeting with Foreign Minister Qureshi and the army chief, the two sides released distinct statements. The official handouts from both sides illustrated the need for strong cooperation between the two countries and for relations to be broadened in all fields.
Referring to the importance of improving border security, Dr Zarif emphasised the need for ongoing consultations in this regard. Qureshi said that the government of Pakistan had agreed to facilitate cross-border trade between the two countries.
The Foreign Minister of Pakistan stressed the importance of maintaining peace and stability on the border between Iran and Pakistan and stressed that the country would not allow hostile acts against Iran to take place.
The foreign minister, on behalf of the people of Pakistan, expressed deep gratitude for the staunch support of the Iranian supreme leader for the cause of Kashmir. The two foreign ministers have shared views on the growth of Islamophobia in various parts of the world and have agreed to make efforts to counter this negative trend.
During the meeting between Zarif and the Chief of the Army, the two sides, while expressing their satisfaction with the political, military and regional cooperation between the two countries, stressed the expansion of all aspects of the relationship.