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Seminar on Pak-Iran Relations PDF Print E-mail

IPS seminar stresses stronger ties with Iran

Good bilateral ties between Iran and Pakistan are critical for the region’s peace, stability and economic growth and for both the brotherly Muslim countries and they should proactively overcome the challenges in their way.

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This was the crux of the seminar ‘Pak-Iran Relations’ held at Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad on November 11, 2014.

Ghani Jafar, Editor & Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies, addressed the roundtable as the key speaker while Ambassador (r) Khalid Mahmood, Chairman, Institute of Strategic Studies chaired the session, which was attended by a number of former diplomats, policy researchers and subject matter specialists from the academia.

The experts looked at the subject through the spheres of security, politics, economy and culture, and studied the security and political dimension of Pak-Iran bilateral relations under four contour fault-lines, i.e., the situation of Afghanistan, sectarian conflicts, anti-state elements in Baluchistan and Iran’s perceptions on Pakistan’s relations with the United States.

The participants discussed the bilateral issues between the two brotherly countries, which has seen ups and downs over last few decades in view of regional and global scenarios and called for removing apprehensions about the competitive factors – such as the recent incidents at Pak-Iran border, illegal trade and smuggling, drug trafficking, and the perceived competition between Gwadar and Chahbahar port, relationships of both the countries with Saudi Arabia, US, and India – through high level diplomatic efforts.

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The experts revealed woefully low documented bilateral trade between the two countries and also lamented any significant cultural exchanges or people-to-people contact in the recent times worthy of a mention despite the two countries having historical social, cultural, linguistic, ethnic and religious linkages.

The Pak-Iran gas pipeline project, with its projected extension to India and China, was termed by the experts, Mirza Hamid Hassan, as one of the potential areas to capitalize upon on war footings. He stressed that Pakistan was in dire need of energy and it is in its utmost national interest to go ahead with the project without paying heed to the US sanctions on Iran or other regional pressures.

The southeastern Iranian port of Chahbahar was also discussed at length in the sitting. The speakers said that though the project was still at a very rudimentary stage, it held great trade potential for Iran. They however didn’t see it posing much threat to the port of Gwadar which had its own significance and strengths as a deep sea port.

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