Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in a meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Thursday, emphasised that continued consultations by Afghanistan's neighbours on the situation in the war-torn country were the "way forward".
He informed Raisi about Pakistan's perspective on the Afghan situation and stressed the importance of adopting a coordinated approach, saying peace in Afghanistan would bring economic and political benefits for the entire region.
The meeting was part of the foreign minister's two-day visit to four countries — Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran — to promote a coordinated regional approach to the evolving situation in Afghanistan.
During today's meeting with the Iranian president, Qureshi was accompanied by Pakistan's Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Muhammad Sadiq, Ambassador to Tehran Rahim Hayat Qureshi and other senior foreign ministry officials, according to a statement from the Foreign Office.
He conveyed congratulations from Pakistan's leadership to Raisi for winning Iran's presidential elections and receiving the parliament's endorsement for his cabinet. He also affirmed Pakistan's desire to work with Iran in all areas to further strengthen relations, the statement added.
During the meeting, Qureshi also thanked the president for Iran's "consistent support" on the Kashmir issue, especially by its supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
For his part, Raisi appreciated Qureshi's visit to his country to strengthen the regional approach in view of the Afghan situation and talked about the "excellent" bilateral relations between Pakistan and Iran.
Qureshi, on behalf of Prime Minister Imran Khan, also invited the Iranian president to visit Pakistan who accepted the invitation, according to the FO statement.
Meeting with Iran's foreign minister
Earlier in the day, Qureshi met his Iranian counterpart Dr Amir Abdullahian to discuss the security situation in the region as well as bilateral relations.
Qureshi stressed that a coordinated approach to the Afghan situation was essential for "security, stability and inclusive political settlement" in the strife-torn country. "Return of peace in Afghanistan would provide impetus to greater economic integration, regional connectivity and facilitate people-to-people linkages," the Foreign Office quoted Qureshi as saying.
Talking about bilateral relations, he said Pakistan "considers Iran a close neighbour and important country".
He recalled his previous visit to Iran in April during which a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed on the establishment of six Border Sustenance Marketplaces meant to promote the economic uplift of Pakistani and Iranian border populations.
The Border Sustenance Marketplaces, along with a new crossing point between the two countries, would improve the livelihood of the people in the border regions and facilitate movement, he said.
Qureshi also extended an invitation to Abdullahian to visit Pakistan.
The Iranian foreign minister welcomed Qureshi's initiative in relation to the Afghan situation, according to the FO statement.