Pakistan-Iran Cooperation – OpEd


Pakistan and Iran have had historical, political, economic, and cultural ties that have spanned several decades. These ties have been characterized by cooperation in various areas and mutual interests. Iran was the first country to officially recognize Pakistan as an independent sovereign state after its creation in 1947. The formal recognition came just two days after Pakistan’s independence on August 14, 1947. This gesture highlighted the historically close ties between the two neighboring countries and laid the foundation for their diplomatic relations.

Iran’s recognition of Pakistan was significant, as it demonstrated the strong and friendly relations that have existed between the two nations since then. Over the years, these ties have been characterized by cooperation in various fields, including politics, trade, culture, and regional affairs. The recognition by Iran was a crucial step in Pakistan’s early diplomatic engagement with the international community.

Likewise, leaders of both Pakistan and Iran have visited each other’s countries over the years, reflecting the importance of their bilateral relations. Such visits are a common practice in international diplomacy and serve to strengthen political, economic, and cultural ties between nations. Pakistan leaders paid visit to Iran to further enhance their bilateral ties. Recently, Iran’s President and Pakistan’s PM visited Pak-Iran border area jointly and inaugurated market in border area. Former Irani President Hassan Rouhani also visited Pakistan in March 2016. During his visit, he met with Pakistani leaders, and both countries discussed matters of mutual interest, particularly focusing on trade and economic ties.

Apart from the top leadership, various other officials and ministers from both countries have engaged in reciprocal visits to strengthen cooperation and promote understanding between Pakistan and Iran. These visits are essential for fostering close relationships and ensuring effective communication between the two nations. They often result in the signing of bilateral agreements, memorandums of understanding (MOUs), and joint statements on various matters of shared concern, further enhancing the comprehensive ties between Pakistan and Iran. As diplomatic relations continue to evolve, there might have been additional visits or developments since my last update in September 2021. For the latest information, it is advisable to refer to recent news sources or official government statements.

Pakistan and Iran share a border, and both countries have recognized the importance of maintaining stable relations in the region. They have collaborated on issues like border security, combating drug trafficking, and addressing concerns related to regional stability. The defense ties between two countries are increasing rapidly. Both countries are also working on intelligence sharing to curb cross border attacks and menace of extremism. 

In this regard, Pakistan’s Army chief recently paid official visit to Iran and met with senior Iranian leadership. He also had meeting with Iran’s President. During his interactions with Iranian leadership, General Asim Munir discussed various ways to enhance existing strategic partnership between both countries. Likewise, the visit of General Asim will further open the door for collaboration and cooperation between two countries. 

Trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Iran have been significant. Both countries have engaged in bilateral trade, and there have been discussions about enhancing economic cooperation further. Iran is rich in energy resources, particularly oil and natural gas. Pakistan, being an energy-deficient country, has looked towards Iran as a potential source of energy imports. There have been discussions and agreements regarding the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, though progress on this project has faced challenges due to international sanctions on Iran. Pakistan and Iran share cultural and historical ties dating back centuries. Both countries have a shared Islamic heritage, which has contributed to cultural exchanges, especially in areas like art, literature, and religious pilgrimages.

Pakistan and Iran have occasionally collaborated on regional issues, including Afghan peace talks and efforts to stabilize the region. Both countries have maintained a complex relationship regarding their involvement in Afghanistan. Both countries share a border with Afghanistan and have significant interests in the stability and security of the region. 

Pakistan and Iran have both been heavily impacted by the influx of Afghan refugees fleeing conflict and seeking better opportunities. They have collaborated on managing the humanitarian aspects of the refugee crisis and providing assistance to those in need. The two countries have worked together to address security challenges along their shared border with Afghanistan. This includes efforts to combat cross-border terrorism, drug trafficking, and other illicit activities.

Pakistan and Iran have been part of various international forums and initiatives aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the Afghan conflict. They have supported regional peace processes and participated in talks to promote stability in Afghanistan. Pakistan and Iran have explored opportunities for economic cooperation in the context of Afghanistan. They have discussed the possibility of joint development projects and trade initiatives that could benefit all three countries.

Shaikh Moazam Khan

Shaikh Moazam Khan is an Islamabad based expert of strategic affairs.

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