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PM’s Iran visit: Combating extremism on both sides must for regional security


News Analysis |

Prime Minister Imran Khan in a joint press conference with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday has said that the purpose of his maiden visit to the country was a discussion on terrorism-related issues. Imran Khan, while reiterating Pakistan’s resolve to fight extremism from within the country, said that the country had suffered more than anyone else and it had been categorically decided that no group would be allowed to use the territory of Pakistan against any other country.

“We have been facing [the impact] of terrorism since long. In Pakistan, we have suffered more terrorism than probably any other country. In the past [few years] we have lost around 70,000 lives. Full appreciation must be made for our security agencies, with the way they tackled terrorism in Pakistan,” the premier said.

The effort from Prime Minister Imran Khan and the subsequent response from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in which he underscored that no third country should be allowed to harm the brotherly and close relations between the two countries.

“We are committed to not let it happen again. We will not allow any militant group to operate from our soil. We will not allow our soil to be used by anyone against anyone.”

Calling a Spade a Spade

While speaking at the press conference, Pakistan’s prime minister clearly stated that Iran has also been the victim of terrorism by the hands of groups using Pakistan’s soil. It is audacious and needed admission which is certainly a need of the hour. In the past, incumbent governments have brushed the security issues pertinent to the border with Iran under the carpet for way too long due to various reasons.

And gradually the discord between both sides grew to such as extent that India swept in and used Iran’s territory against Pakistan. The apprehended Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadhav revealed that it was Pakistan-Iran border region which RAW used for espionage in Pakistani mainland. And to underscore the fact, the most recent, the Ormara massacre where 14 security personnel were shot dead.

Read more: Peace in Afghanistan in interest of Pakistan, Iran: PM Imran Khan

Pakistan Seeks Action Against Ormara Perpetrators

Pakistan’s foreign ministry issued an official dossier to Iranian embassy asking for swift action since the perpetrators came from Iran. It was certainly not the first and single-sided communication between the countries regarding the operation of such groups. But unfortunately, both sides were reluctant to decisively act against the groups inflicting terror across the borders.

Rapid Reaction Force

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit and statement in the joint press conference should be seen as a change in policy discourse on part of Pakistan that it has become absolutely essential for broader interest of both the sides that such issues must be resolved without further ado. Otherwise, it creates a wedge which is then used by the third country to achieve its strategic objectives via proxy war.

The prime minister also addressed the business community in Iran and emphasized the importance of bilateral trade in carrying forward the relations between both the countries.

The effort from Prime Minister Imran Khan and the subsequent response from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in which he underscored that no third country should be allowed to harm the brotherly and close relations between the two countries is commendable. To oversee the issues regarding border security, both countries have agreed to the formation of a joint force. “We agreed to create a joint rapid reaction force at the borders for combating terrorism,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said.

Improving Bilateral Trade Ties  

The prime minister also addressed the business community in Iran and emphasized the importance of bilateral trade in carrying forward the relations between both the countries. He expressed the desire that both Iran and Pakistan should tap into the huge potential for mutual trade with each other which will be beneficial for everyone.

Read more: Won’t allow anyone to use our soil against Iran: PM

It is true that both countries are undergoing a rough patch as far as the economy is concerned that there are multiple avenues for bilateral trade. But first, it is important that both countries should work their ways in building the much-required trust by making sure that no side is responsible for the loss of lives across the border to help prevent unfortunate incidents such as Ormara from happening in the future.

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