Pak FM Iran visit to deepen understanding on regional issues: Diplomat

Islamabad, Sept 11, IRNA – The current visit by Pakistani foreign minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif to Iran is expected to deepen and promote mutual understanding between Tehran and Islamabad on regional issues, including Afghanistan, said a Pakistani diplomat.

In an interview with the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), former Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan, Rustam Shah Mohmand, said that the current visit by foreign minister Khawaja Asif to Iran is crucial.

In addition to discussing new US strategy with Iranian top officials, the Pakistani foreign minister should talk on all bilateral issues, including trade and Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, Shah Mohmand said.

Foreign Minister of Pakistan Khawaja Muhammad Asif led a high level delegation to Tehran on Monday to discuss new US policy for Afghanistan and south Asia with top Iranian officials.

During his one-day visit, Khawaja Asif is expected to meet with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani. Bilateral ties would also come under discussion.

The former ambassador also said Iran is a big county and possesses great resources but the trade volume between Iran and Pakistan is very low.

“Except new US strategy in Afghanistan, Pakistan foreign minister should discuss trade, tourism, cultural exchanges, exchanges of parliamentarians, teachers, students, journalists, IP project [Iran–Pakistan gas pipeline] during his visit to Iran,” he said.

Shah Mohmand said Iran and Pakistan should take joint measures to make the border more secure and safe and people should be allowed to cross the border without any difficulty.

“This would promote trade and cultural cooperation between the two countries,” he said.

The diplomat said that as long as the foreign forces are deployed in Afghan territory, insurgency would continue in the war-torn nation and it would be too difficult to bring peace for Afghanistan.

The analyst went on to say the new US policy for Afghanistan is like an old wine in new bottle, there is nothing new in it and the only emphasis of the policy is that Americans are not going to leave.

He noted the situation in Afghanistan would aggravate after the new US policy and would add to more suffering of common people.

“There is no emphasis in the strategy for the dialog and resolving the conflict,” he said.

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