PM Shehbaz and President Raisi discuss strengthening cooperation

By Asif Ali Awan

| Published Apr 22, 2024 | 11:23 a.m.

Iranian President Dr. Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi's visit to Pakistan, alongside Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, marked a significant occasion for both nations to explore avenues for deepening bilateral ties and cooperation across various sectors.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif warmly welcomed President Raisi, noting the significance of his visit as the first by a head of state since Pakistan's recent general elections.

During their discussions, Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar a

nd President Raisi delved into bilateral relations and the broader regional and international landscape, underscoring the need for intensified efforts to strengthen ties and address regional challenges through peaceful dialogue.

A ceremonial welcome was held at the Prime Minister's House in Islamabad, where President Raisi was honored with a guard of honor and the national anthems of both countries. The visit also included a symbolic tree planting by the leaders in observance of International Earth Day.

President Raisi's arrival at Nur Khan Airbase marked the beginning of his three-day state visit, where he was greeted by Federal Minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada. His itinerary includes meetings with prominent Pakistani leaders and visits to Lahore and Karachi to engage with provincial authorities.

The visit is poised to advance Pakistan-Iran relations, with discussions on trade, connectivity, energy, agriculture, and people-to-people contacts. The leaders will also address regional and global issues, including joint efforts against terrorism.

This high-level engagement follows diplomatic activities with Saudi Arabia and occurs amidst regional tensions involving Iran and Israel. Despite concerns, the situation has not escalated into a broader conflict or affected oil prices significantly.

Pakistan has expressed interest in reviving the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline project and has sought leniency from U.S. sanctions. However, the U.S. maintains a firm stance on the sanctions, which have tightened since the withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal under the Trump administration.