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‘Pakistan, Iran on verge of establishing strong economic ties’

Updated Mar 09, 2017 09:11am


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ISLAMABAD: A major parliamentary push is being planned to compel Islamabad and Tehran to overcome the internal resistance in their countries to greater bilateral economic engagement and revitalising of relations.

This was disclosed by Chairman of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee Awais Leghari. He recently visited Iran to attend a conference on whose sidelines he held discussions with Speaker of Iranian Majlis Ali Larijani, Chairman of the Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security of the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran Allaudin Boroujerdi and other officials.

Mr Leghari was particularly encouraged by Iranian officials accepting his request for lifting a ban on import of kinnows from Pakistan after six years. Although the restriction has been relaxed for two months, Mr Leghari hopes to get it permanently removed.

“A delegation of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee will visit Iran in May for talks with the Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security of the Islamic Consultative Assembly,” he said, adding that the discussions would be aimed at forging a joint strategy of the two committees for pushing their respective governments to develop economic ties. He said the intention was not only to develop recommendations but also to pursue their implementation.

The two parliamentary committees would then jointly visit Chabahar and Gwadar ports to emphasise that the two were not each other’s competitors.

Mr Leghari, who has convened a meeting of the NA Foreign Affairs Committee on Friday for discussion on Pak-Iran ties, said he had always been encouraged by the government to work for enhancing bilateral relationship with Tehran.

Talking about the mood in Iran, Mr Leghari said he felt a great appetite there for expanding economic ties. He, however, admitted that there were impediments to improvement in relations on both sides. About the factors that contributed to widening of the gulf between the two countries, he believed that it happened because both remained at the opposite ends of regional and global alignments for long. “Things will start moving the day both sides sit down to honestly and sincerely work for betterment of ties.”

Both sides, he observed, were now feeling “internal pressures” to engage in a big way for mutual benefit. “More pressure would have to be exerted from within the economies and people and media.”

Mr Leghari was of the view that Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline was one project whose implementation could change the complexion of the relationship. He said the project was being delayed not just because of paucity of funds, but there were other issues involved in it. Those issues, he however maintained, were not irresolvable.

Similarly, he said the agreement on border markets was not being implemented. The two countries had a few years ago agreed on setting up three border markets, which was renewed at a meeting of the border committee this month. “Establishment of border markets would improve the trade environment,” he hoped.

Iran, he said, had unfairly been blocking Pakistani agricultural projects probably for using it as leverage. Moreover, absence of banking arrangements was a major factor inhibiting trade.

Tourism, he believed, was one other area which had a lot of scope for cooperation.

Notwithstanding these obstacles, Mr Leghari said, he was convinced that both countries were on the verge of establishing strong economic relations. Moreover, he said he was hopeful that Iran would at some stage get connected with the western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Published in Dawn, March 9th, 2017


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Comments (66) Closed

JKhan Mar 09, 2017 09:00am

Media Cell is working.

maverik Mar 09, 2017 09:08am

Pakistan is moving in the right direction with Iran, China, Russia and Central Asian states. Those who wanted to isolate Pakistan have isolated themselves.

Naveed Mar 09, 2017 09:20am

This is a natural advantage that Pakistan has. I am surprised at why we didn't do it before. India though far away had always enjoyed cordial relations with Iran and all GCC countries.

McChrist Mar 09, 2017 09:23am

@maverik It is only china who is investing in pakistan while rest of the countries have only taked but haven't done anything.

abcxd Mar 09, 2017 09:42am

Weldon way to go with brother Iran !

rao abid Mar 09, 2017 09:52am

Really happy to hear that pleasing news pakistan is looking forward with their neighbours to lead this region .

SAM Mar 09, 2017 10:10am

Good News for Pakistan and Iran, and Bad News for India all the hard work done by India to Isolate Pakistan is now going down the Drain and so is Indian Tax payers money.

M. Emad Mar 09, 2017 10:22am

2015 Legal Exports to Iran: Pakistan-$32.2 million, Bangladesh-$50.0 million, India: $2.6bn.

Sky Mar 09, 2017 10:38am

@maverik agreed, the strategic equation is definitely changing. It will have some changes in relations with middle east as well.

Maxx Mar 09, 2017 10:39am

@McChrist Actually United States is still the biggest investor in Pakistan. UK, UAE, Germany and Japan are others. You tend to hear a lot of Chinese related news lately as now for the last three years China has taken over as major stake holder.

There are big presence of US and UK companies in Oil and Gas and in consumer products. Nestle Pakistan sales was in excess of 100 billion Rs in Pakistan with all plants located here. Unilever Pak sales was also touching 100 billion Rs. in Pakistan last year, all local production. P&G and other int'l companies are doing huge business here. Check the data below...

SAM Mar 09, 2017 11:01am

@M. Emad "2015 Legal Exports to Iran: Pakistan-$32.2 million, Bangladesh-$50.0 million, India: $2.6bn." But soon it will change.

ABE Mar 09, 2017 11:06am

"On the verge'?

Pakistan and Iran had much better and stronger relations in the 60s and 70s, than ever before. The successive PPP/PM-N governments ever since have ruined the ties. RCD was much better for Pakistan, Iran and Turkey.

Pakistan Mar 09, 2017 11:09am

@McChrist There is a right time for every thing. Ground reality has changed completely. Right time is started now, change will effect in coming few months you will be witnessing soon. Just wait for the news...

Irfan Mar 09, 2017 11:06am

I don't understand how are ‘Pakistan, Iran on verge of establishing strong economic ties’ just by adjudicating the interest shown by Mr Owais Leghari whose committee itself has little say in devising the foreign policy ?

Gulfam Nawaz Mar 09, 2017 11:13am

@McChrist Not true. Russia is building a $2 billion Russian in 1,100-kilometer natural gas pipeline, from Karachi to Lahore. Iran has invested in a $7 billion gas pipeline in the Iran right to the Pakistani boarder and Iran has completed their part of the deal already and central Asian countries have several investments on going. Let me know if you want specific country by country breakdown.

Ziddane Mar 09, 2017 11:13am

@McChrist It's just starting.

Amlish Mar 09, 2017 11:16am

This CPEC thing is a real chick magnet. Hopefully Pakistan will flourish in the region in near future.

Waheed Mar 09, 2017 11:22am

Until the banking sector starts to work between the two countries no prosperity will come. As of today, Irani Banks cant' send payments to Pakistan directly and vice versa. There can be no trade without proper banking channel.

Omar Mar 09, 2017 11:30am

Trade, commerce and energy are the need of the hour. Hope Pakistan and Iran can broaden our bilateral trade and improve infrastructure between our two nations. One only needs to look to the mess of the Middle East, Afghanistan and occupied Kashmir to realize the importance our two nations have in promoting stability.

The end is near Mar 09, 2017 11:35am

Good news. Pakistan and Iran should work together for successful progress.

Khan Mar 09, 2017 11:43am

Excellent news. Together Pakistan, Iran, China, Russia and other friendly nations can make huge difference.

J20 Mar 09, 2017 11:53am

@The end is near Hope they end tererisom also....

common & immaterial Mar 09, 2017 12:33pm

@Maxx Nestle, UniLever, P&G.... all FMCG... If that is your understanding about FDI then stay happy with it... However I don't mean Pakistan economy is as bad as suggested by few of my fellow indians, but there is lot more scope of improvement & I've to agree that this step is in right direction

jawaid Mar 09, 2017 12:47pm

Its need of hour to further our economic ties with Iran.

ahmed Mar 09, 2017 01:19pm

Make cheapest mode of transport available for the masses. Build a six lane motorway connecting both the countries and then let the natural flow move on either sides. Things will take a positive turn on its own.

Parvez Mar 09, 2017 01:34pm

Having good all round relationship with ones just common sense.

Hussain Ghassingi Mar 09, 2017 01:42pm

The most awaited pleasant news.Wish to materialist this news into really cordial relations btw the countries-leading to prosperity & harmony across the boarders of both brotherhood countries.

SYED HASSAN HASEEB Mar 09, 2017 01:49pm

it is like a story . never this is going to happen , i have been hearing this kind of talks since long . no results . opening kinnow is very good . more banana,bedwears,textile products,leather in any form should be send to iran by lc and by trains. gas to be purchased from them cheap that will be better for us nothing more. if this is done will be better for both countries . rest is eyewash only.

M. AsGhar Mar 09, 2017 01:56pm

In spite of the regional geopolitical games, Iran and Pakistan in all aspects are natural allies.

Khanm Mar 09, 2017 02:04pm

All have a balanced policy.. always safeguard YOUR interest.. It is better to have two separate guns with two separate not put two in one..let us have ties with all the country in the region, have less dependency on western world.. Folks..The test of policy is how it ends, not how it begins. Foreign policy is the art of establishing priorities. Demonization is not a policy; it is an alibi for the absence of one. The test is not absolute satisfaction but balanced dissatisfaction with all the Arabs and rest of the region..

@ Mar 09, 2017 02:11pm

comparson and collabration pia with iran air.

AK Mar 09, 2017 02:24pm

If India can have strategic economic and defense ties with Israel then why can't Pakistan do the same with Iran?

It makes tremendous economic and security sense to have a closer relationship with Iran. After all our national poet Iqbal wrote his best poetries in Farsi, and our national anthem is also in Farsi.

Rashid Mar 09, 2017 02:31pm

Iran also shows interest to connect Chahbahar with Gawader

Azmeen Mar 09, 2017 02:49pm

A good news. In international relations there are no brother and sister countries. Mutual national interests always prevail in the bilateral/ multilateral relations among countries. Pakistan needs to come up with a proactive national foreign policy in the country's own interest, not a reactive one.

zehreela Mar 09, 2017 03:29pm

I see American administration having not enough influence after intensive chinese investments that are expected to come?

VALIYA Mar 09, 2017 03:35pm

Pakistan is going ahead with right steps in economic front, but the growing influences by fanatics in policy making will pull back the developments as they are opposing everything modern. Pakistan should adopt policies from countries like UAE where religion will not make obstruction to development.

kevin Mar 09, 2017 03:39pm

@SAM.. No problem, We re ready to pay. But Pakistan already isolated internationally.

kevin Mar 09, 2017 03:47pm

@SAM - No way. What is in Pakistan to export ? Soon you are going to loose textile also as China is opening many textile mills in CPEC corridor and as per the agreement with Pakistan no factories allowed other than China that area. Pakistan has no ability to stand China's mass production and soon all business will close down.

El Cid Mar 09, 2017 03:49pm

Pakistan + Iran + Turkey = Super Power!

AmaR Mar 09, 2017 03:54pm

Pakistan needs to take its ties with Iran to a new level some of the benefits we can get is gas pipeline electricity transport increased trade better visas for both countries cultural exchanges joint development in military technology etc

Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Mar 09, 2017 04:07pm

Let's wait and see because as long as Donald Trump and his cronies are running the show in Washington D.C., the Islamic Republic of Iran is under their direct threat. They might succeed in achieving their cherished dream of attacking Iran's nuclear faculties especially before the next presidential elections to please the powerful U.S. Jewish lobbies and lobbyists.

ali Mar 09, 2017 04:03pm

We can also solve our dispute with Kabul. Diplomacy is bigger than any war.

jawad Mar 09, 2017 04:09pm

Iran is Pakistan's neighbor we can't even ignored it.

Well Meaning Mar 09, 2017 04:38pm

@M. AsGhar forgetting KSA which does not like good relations between pakistan and Iran . so will most arab countries not prefer that .

Dawn Mar 09, 2017 04:38pm

There is no other way for Pakistan. These two countries ought to unite-for more than just economic reasons.

Dv Mar 09, 2017 04:44pm

Let me wish that a day will come when a similar relationship will emerge between India and Pakistan. How nice that would be.

Sonic boom Mar 09, 2017 04:51pm

If UAE and India can become good close friends, why can't Iran and Pakistan be?

ahaq Mar 09, 2017 04:55pm

Good for interest of both countries.

Iftikhar Husain Mar 09, 2017 05:13pm

Pakistan should startimporting gas from Iran that will help industries in the country and create a friendly relation with Iran.

Sara Mar 09, 2017 05:26pm

Pakistan must stay away from Iran as far as possible. Iran will never want any thing good for Pakistan. Pakistan must keep focused with China and Arabian gulf states. It is all an illusion and nothing more. A stronger Pakistan is good for all muslim countries and Iran doesn t want that

Muzaffar Ali Mar 09, 2017 05:41pm

Geography is stronger than Politics!

Long live Geography....Politics can change, with changing circumstances.

Hamid Mar 09, 2017 05:42pm

@ahmed you take 46b loan for one road and now dream 6 lain road ? who will give you fund for this ? Government of every contrary in the world take responsibility to make road for easy transportation for his people. but in pakistan this responsibility take by china.

M. Siddique Mar 09, 2017 06:10pm

Why no one talks about the Iran-Pakistan gas line? It is completed on Iranian side and waiting Pakistan o complete inside Pakistan. It will provide enormous relief to gas load shedding and will trigger other economic endeavors.

JAMIL SOOMRO, NEW YORK CITY Mar 09, 2017 06:27pm

@Dv Your wish can come true tomorrow if only India understood the ethics and knew the true meaning of good"International Diplomacy"?

desilionking Mar 09, 2017 06:32pm

the credit goes to our fantastic military for this achievement. it is good to consider long-term objectives vis a vis Nawaz Sharif and his entourage's expensive and useless short-term objectives only for the sake of power. Well done our boys in Khaki uniforms we are proud of your vision.

Muzahir Syed Mar 09, 2017 06:50pm

@Sara Please get out of your sectarian mind.

zash. Mar 09, 2017 07:04pm

@kevin ohhh so much here we read facts and after reading facts I must say you have got no sense of observation whatsoever...

Maxx Mar 09, 2017 07:40pm

@common & immaterial Forget to mention the telecom investment in Pakistan by foreign firms, it has crossed 5.5 billion USD in 2007 and now must be worth more than 15 billion USD in Pakistan, if taken into account the 3G and 4G related investment.

Only one company Zong, a late entrant is Chinese. Telenor is Norwegian, Mobilink is US based, Warid is UAE and Ufone is a PTCL Pak company. So its not just FMCG's as FDI...other countries and players too.

Muzaffar Ali Mar 09, 2017 08:07pm

@Muzahir Syed Good comment....some people are trouble makers who never think.

imdad ali Mar 09, 2017 08:17pm

If both countries are agreed shall be proved best for them.

imran ali Mar 09, 2017 08:27pm

@maverik - the most sensible thing PMLN has done since coming into Power!

my Comments Mar 10, 2017 08:29am

Good economic relations will involve more than selling kinow fruits to neighbors. Present them with a list of items Pakistan can supply much cheaper than other countries. Once they agree, it'll be improve export of Pakistani goods & services.

my Comments Mar 10, 2017 08:40am

@kevin It will be a big loss if Pakistani industries are not allowed to setup their factories along CPEC road highways. If only China sets up its manufacturing along CPEC roads and Pakistanis are denied their rights on their own land along the CPEC, it will cause major rift between two friendly countries. Better to use common sense and set the records straight, before this issue boils over into public emotions.

sarwat Mar 10, 2017 07:55pm

Its about time.

Khany Mar 11, 2017 11:36am

Indian leaders are so sickening including those people who follow them.

IMTIAZ ALI KHAN Mar 12, 2017 01:58pm

Iran is a country with rich history and glad that they are our neighbors also, we should have excellent relations with time, millions of Pakistanis go to Iran for pilgrimage and absolutely love Iran. Love you Iran. The land of Cyrus The Great!