Pakistan, Iran to augment work on opening of new border crossings

Updated July 19, 2019

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Pakistan and Iran on Thursday agreed to expedite the opening of new border crossings and effective border management. — Photo by Saher Baloch/File
Pakistan and Iran on Thursday agreed to expedite the opening of new border crossings and effective border management. — Photo by Saher Baloch/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Iran on Thursday agreed to expedite the opening of new border crossings and effective border management.

The understanding was reached at the second session of a meeting of the Pakistan-Iran Higher Border Commission (HBC).

The Pakistani delegation was led by Director General (Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey) at the Foreign Office Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, whereas the Iranian side was headed by Director General of International Legal Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abbas Bagherpour Ardekani.

Need for updating border maps and border pillar descriptions underscored

Pakistan and Iran had in 2017 set up the HBC for better border management after several Iranian border guards were killed in a terrorist attack in the border region. The commission that comprises four members from each side had first met in July 2017. The meeting on Thursday, which took place after a break of two years, followed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Tehran this year during which the two sides made visible progress on border issues.

Pakistan and Iran share over 900km-long border, which is infested with criminal gangs, militants and drug traffickers. Some groups have in the past carried out cross-border attacks killing Iranian border security forces. Therefore, border security has for long remained a major irritant in bilateral ties. The two neighbours have lately cooperated extensively for improving border security by undertaking several measures.

“During the session, the two sides held constructive discussions for effective implementation of existing border mechanisms within the relevant frameworks including the agreement for administration of Pakistan-Iran border of 1960. They agreed to further strengthen mutual cooperation in these areas,” the FO said in a statement.

“Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to expedite opening new border crossing points with mutual understanding,” it added.

The two sides further underscored the need for updating border maps and border pillar descriptions and carrying out joint border surveys.

There was also an exchange of views between the two sides on effective border management efforts through measures like fencing.

Published in Dawn, July 19th, 2019