Pakistan-Iran’s Bilateral Agreements – OpEd


Pakistan and Iran, two neighboring countries with a history of cordial relations, have taken significant steps to enhance their economic and diplomatic ties. In a move that underscores their commitment to cooperation, the two nations recently signed a five-year trade plan aimed at boosting their bilateral trade to $5 billion.

The agreements come in the wake of discussions held between Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and his Iranian counterpart, Dr. Hossain Amir Abdollahian. This three-day visit of the Iranian envoy to Islamabad has resulted in the signing of crucial accords, signaling a new chapter in their bilateral relations.

The heart of this recent diplomatic engagement lies in the trade cooperation plan spanning from 2023 to 2028. This agreement establishes a clear goal of increasing bilateral trade to $5 billion. Such a target demonstrates the commitment of both countries to fostering economic ties and capitalizing on their shared strengths. The focus is not only on enhancing trade volume but also on removing obstacles that hinder the flow of goods and services between the nations. Key to achieving this goal is the finalization of a Free Trade Agreement, a crucial step towards facilitating smoother trade interactions.

Economic Consultations and Sectoral Discussions

The bilateral economic consultations, which involved comprehensive discussions on various sectors, lay the groundwork for a more robust economic partnership. Sectoral discussions held during this engagement offered insights into the potential areas of collaboration that can benefit both nations. This approach reflects a strategic understanding of leveraging mutual strengths to promote economic growth and shared prosperity. Such an approach not only fosters economic integration but also bolsters diplomatic ties through practical cooperation.

Beyond economic considerations, the agreements also address humanitarian concerns. The issue of prisoners and fishermen languishing in each other’s jails has been a point of contention in the past. Both countries have shown their commitment to resolving this issue by agreeing to repatriate all sentenced prisoners and releasing all detained fishermen. This compassionate gesture not only highlights a commitment to human rights but also serves as a testament to the positive intent of the bilateral engagement.

The discussions between the foreign ministers also underscore the significance of regional integration and peace. By prioritizing the operationalization of border markets, both nations aim to enhance trade and connectivity. This step aligns with a broader vision of creating a more integrated and peaceful region. The reaffirmation of their commitment to sharing their border in peace and friendship reflects a shared understanding of the importance of regional stability for mutual progress.

The Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project

One of the most crucial topics of discussion was the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project. Both sides emphasized the importance of completing this project, highlighting its potential to serve the national interests of both countries. The gas pipeline not only symbolizes energy cooperation but also underscores the strategic significance of energy security for sustainable development. This project can play a pivotal role in deepening the economic partnership between the two nations.

Acknowledging the challenges that have occasionally strained their relations, Pakistan and Iran are working towards finding practical solutions. The discussions have encompassed banking and financial issues, which are often obstacles in cross-border trade and cooperation. By prioritizing these discussions and exploring solutions within the framework of international rules, both countries demonstrate their commitment to overcoming challenges for the greater good.

While bilateral agreements dominate the discussions, both countries also recognize the importance of a regional framework. The Iranian foreign minister’s assertion that solutions to regional challenges lie within the framework of regional initiatives highlights a shared understanding of the interconnected nature of regional issues. This perspective reflects a strategic vision that extends beyond their bilateral relationship to encompass a broader approach to regional stability and development.


The recent agreements between Pakistan and Iran mark a significant milestone in their diplomatic ties. As they commit to boosting bilateral trade and addressing mutual concerns, both nations demonstrate their willingness to navigate challenges and leverage opportunities for shared growth. This engagement not only holds economic significance but also underscores the importance of mutual respect, cooperation, and peace. As they work towards a future of strengthened relations and enhanced cooperation, Pakistan and Iran set an example of how neighboring countries can collaboratively address challenges and seize opportunities for the betterment of their peoples and the region as a whole. 

Muhammad Imran

Muhammad Imran is a Karachi based columnist and has a MPhil in international relations from the University of Karachi, Pakistan.

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