Wednesday Oct 13, 2021
RAWALPINDI/ISLAMABAD: Iran's Chief of General Staff of Armed Forces Maj Gen Mohammad Bagheri and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Nadeem Raza on Wednesday discussed ways for both countries to increase cooperation in defence, security and counter terrorism.
A statement issued by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that Maj Gen Bagheri and Gen Raza also discussed other areas of mutual interest and bilateral cooperation and the prevailing regional environment — in particular Afghanistan.
"They dilated upon measures to enhance the level and scope of military engagements between both countries and pledged to continue to forge deeper ties," the military's media wing said.
According to the statement, both sides highlighted the need for common borders to be "borders of peace and friendship”.
Gen Raza was quoted by the ISPR as saying that in pursuit of a closer military and strategic cooperation both countries share a common perception on all national and international issues.
The visit by the Iranian military leader "marks a new stage in strengthening the military, defense and security relations between the two brotherly countries", Gen Raza added.
The visiting dignitary, meanwhile, "lauded the professionalism of the Pakistan Armed Forces and acknowledged their sacrifices in fight against terrorism", the statement said.
Earlier, upon arrival at the Joint Staff Headquarters, a smartly turned-out tri-services contingent presented the Guard of Honour to the visiting dignitary.
Besides meeting Gen Raza, Maj Gen Bagheri also held a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan today.
According to a statement by the Prime Minister's Office, the premier highlighted the upward trajectory in bilateral engagement between Pakistan and Iran.
He recalled meeting Iranian President Raisi in Dushanbe on the margins of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which had imparted further impetus to bilateral cooperation.
PM Imran Khan conveyed cordial greetings for President Raisi and renewed his invitation for him to visit Pakistan.
The statement further cited the prime minister as underscoring Pakistan’s commitment "to enhance closer bilateral trade relations as well as enhanced economic and energy cooperation".
It said PM Imran Khan described the Pakistan-Iran border as a border of "peace and friendship", and underlined the importance of steps taken for enhanced security on both sides.
According to the statement, he also noted an agreement between both sides on the establishment of Border Sustenance Markets and stressed that the operationalisation of these markets would facilitate livelihood in the region.
"The opening of two additional border crossing-points in the last one year had further facilitated regulated movement on both sides," the statement said.
Among other matters, PM Imran Khan appreciated Iran’s steadfast support on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, especially by the Supreme Leader, adding that Kashmiris looked forward to Iran’s strong voice in support of their just cause.
Regarding Afghanistan, the prime minister shared Pakistan’s perspective on the latest developments in the country, stressing that as the neighbours of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran have a direct stake in peace and stability in the country.
"Pakistan wishes to see a peaceful and stable Afghanistan with a sustainable economy and promoting connectivity," the statement said.
According to the statement, the prime minister also underscored that the international community must remain positively engaged with Afghanistan, provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance, and take steps to prevent economic collapse.
He stressed particular need for the unfreezing of Afghanistan’s financial assets to help support the Afghan people at this critical juncture, especially before the onset of the winter.
In addition, PM Imran Khan underscored the importance of national reconciliation and an inclusive political settlement. He emphasised continued close coordination between Pakistan and Iran, including through the platform of six neighbouring countries of Afghanistan established last month.