Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday called on Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and exchanged views on the ways and means to strengthen the two countries' bilateral relations.
During the meeting, Qureshi, who arrived in Tehran for an official visit on Tuesday, conveyed greetings on behalf of the Pakistani leadership to Rouhani and lauded the Iranian president's role in leading the nation during his tenure, a Foreign Office statement said.
"Qureshi discussed with President Dr Rouhani the ways and means to strengthen close bilateral relations, rooted in shared history, culture, faith and language," according to the press release. He also underlined Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision to strengthen ties with Iran in diverse fields with an emphasis on expanding mutually beneficial economic cooperation and development.
On Twitter, Qureshi said he had shared with the Iranian president Pakistan’s commitment to deepen relations with Iran in trade, investment, connectivity and border management for mutual economic development.
Rouhani, meanwhile, reiterated Iran’s desire to enhance bilateral relations in varied fields.
The foreign minister thanked the president "for support to [Prime Minister Imran's] initiative to establish border markets, which would benefit people in the border region", the FO said, adding that the opening of an international border crossing point at Mand-Pishin would facilitate pedestrian movement and enhance bilateral trade.
Qureshi also expressed gratitude for "Iran’s consistent support to the Kashmiri people, especially from the Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei]", the statement said.
"While discussing rising Islamophobia, Foreign Minister Qureshi appreciated convergence between Pakistan and Iran to show a common resolve against xenophobia, intolerance and incitement to violence on the basis of religion or belief."
President Rouhani also expressed happiness over Prime Minister Imran's recovery from Covid-19.
Later, Foreign Minister Qureshi met his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif and held a "multi-faceted discussion on trade, connectivity, cultural cooperation, establishment of Border Sustenance Marketplaces, opening up new border crossings and greater people-to-people [contacts]".
"Together we will work towards curbing the spread of Islamophobia," Qureshi said in a tweet.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was also signed on the establishment of six Border Sustenance Marketplaces meant to promote the economic uplift of Pakistani and Iranian border populations and give them formal/legal means to engage in commerce.
Meeting with Iranian speaker
Foreign Minister Qureshi today also met the speaker of the Iranian parliament, Muhammad Bagher Ghalibaf.
During their conversation, Qureshi highlighted the excellent Pakistan-Iran bilateral relations and reiterated Islamabad's commitment to further strengthen the ties.
Speaking about parliamentary cooperation, the minister emphasised the importance of frequent exchanges to develop common understanding on various issues.
He apprised the speaker of the "grave human rights violations in [Indian-occupied Kashmir] and appreciated the support of the Iranian leadership to the Kashmiri people", according to the FO.
The foreign minister commented during the meeting that incidents of Islamophobia "imperil future prospects of peace and harmony among civilisations". He appreciated Iran’s support to Pakistan’s initiative to counter Islamophobia.
"It was agreed to move jointly on the issue of Islamophobia and preserving the respect of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him)," the FO statement said.
Qureshi also extended an invitation to Ghalibaf for a visit to Pakistan on behalf of National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, expressing the hope that it will further strengthen parliamentary cooperation between Pakistan and Iran.