Pakistan Expects Uptick in Bilateral Relationship
EghtesadOnline: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday briefed lawmakers on recent developments in Pakistan's relations with Iran, saying the two neighbors recently experienced an uptick following the sharing of information regarding border developments and Pakistani Premier Imran Khan's visit to Tehran.
Speaking to lawmakers in the National Assembly, Qureshi said some governments do not want positive relations between Pakistan and Iran, Dawn reported.
"Geopolitics comes into the mix. There are many elements involved who don't wish matters to improve, so now and then there is some sort of incident and they try to breed misunderstandings between Iran and Pakistan. Our government has tried to remove these misunderstandings," Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.
The foreign minister said lawmakers may already know that Iran and some other regional Muslim countries have “a sensitive relationship”, while "they have good ties with us".
"It's a delicate balance that we have to maintain and the house must understand those sensitivities and concerns," the top diplomat said.
Steps to Boost Engagement
Qureshi explained the measures taken by Pakistan and Iran to engage with each other.
"I held meetings with the Iranian foreign minister four times—twice in Islamabad, once in Tehran and once in Istanbul. During that, we discussed the overall situation, border challenges, ways to maintain peace on the border, ways to manage it by agreeing to create a joint center, so that if there are any attacks, there are procedures in place to deal with them," he said.
"We have cooperated with each other, some steps have been taken. We are increasing some of our Frontier Corps regiments, we are building a headquarters in Turbat so that there is a rapid response, our helicopter surveillance has increased and we have agreed on the formation of a joint border center and border fencing," he said.
"The prime minister, during his visit to Iran, spoke to Iranian leadership and laid matters out before them. The misunderstandings between our security officials were removed and a more positive and enabling environment has been created."
Qureshi recalled two recent instances near the border with Iran—the first in which at least 12 Iranian border guards were abducted by Jaish ul-Adl militants and the second in which some 14 Pakistanis were killed on the Makran Coastal Highway by terrorist groups allegedly based in Iran.
He said when the Ormara massacre happened, Pakistan told Iran it is a "sensitive matter" and asked them for cooperation in the matter instead of accusing them.
"We told them where the camps are, according to our intelligence, and what their linkages were," he said, describing the process of sharing information so that cooperation could take place.
Regarding the abductions of Iranian border guards, Qureshi said Pakistan cooperated at once and “our forces acted and recovered their people and handed them over immediately, which created goodwill".