Iran-Pakistan: Resolved disputes amicably

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani met with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, in Islamabad.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani met with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, in Islamabad. Senior Officials from both sides were present in the meeting. Foreign Minister Abdollahian is on an official visit to Pakistan at the invitation of Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Jilani.

Underscoring the brotherly relations between Pakistan and Iran, Foreign Minister Jilani reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to deepen and broaden the existing wide-ranging cooperation with Iran. He underlined the imperative for collective and collaborative approaches to confront terrorism that posed a common challenge to both Pakistan and Iran. He stressed that robust institutional mechanisms between the two countries on security cooperation should be fully leveraged. The two Foreign Ministers agreed to immediately appoint liaison officers in Turbat (Pakistan) and Zahidan (Iran) to further strengthen ongoing security and intelligence cooperation.

Noting that security and development are intrinsically interlinked, the two Foreign Ministers agreed to expand initiatives for economic and development cooperation including through early operationalization of the joint border markets to uplift the socio-economic status of the people of both countries, especially those residing in the border regions.

The two sides also decided to establish a Joint Coordination Mechanism at the level of Foreign Ministers to oversee and steer progress on common agenda for prosperity and development of the two peoples. Regular high-level engagements provide a leadership driven impetus to the bilateral relations between Pakistan and Iran. In this backdrop, the Foreign Minister renewed invitation to honorable President of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi to undertake a visit to Pakistan.

Iran and Pakistan established relations on 14 August 1947, the day of the independence of Pakistan, when Iran became the first country to recognize Pakistan. Both sides continue to cooperate economically where possible and have formed alliances in a number of areas of mutual interest, such as fighting the drug trade along their border and combating the insurgency in the Balochistan region.

During the Cold War (1945–1991), both countries were part of the Western Bloc against the Eastern Bloc. They were founding members of the anti-communist alliance CENTO. Iran aided Pakistan in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 and Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Both countries shared a common animosity towards Baloch separatists and cooperated in the 1970s Balochistan operation. Iran backed Pakistan in the Bangladesh Liberation War and Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Following the Iranian Revolution (1978–1979), which overthrew the Pahlavi dynasty, Pakistan recognized the Islamic Republic of Iran. During the Soviet–Afghan War (1979–1989), Iran backed the Pakistan-funded Afghan mujahideen and Pakistan supported Iran in the Iran–Iraq War (1980–1988).

Following the September 11 attacks, Iran and Pakistan joined the war on terror. Pakistan has often served as a mediator in the Iran–Saudi Arabia proxy conflict. Iran has also expressed an interest in joining the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor as part of the larger Belt and Road Initiative. After the U.S. complete withdrawal of its troops and the Taliban return to power in 2021, Pakistan has stepped up cooperation with Iran to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan, with both sides arguing that it should not be used for geopolitical rivalry.

Pakistan is one of the few countries where Iranian influence is positively received as per polls conducted by the Pew Research Center. Polls have consistently shown that a very high proportion of Pakistanis view their western neighbour positively. Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Khamenei has also called for the sympathy, assistance, and inter-cooperation of all Muslim nations, including Pakistan.

Both countries share same religions, similar culture, similar traditions, and even similarities in languages exists. Urdu is written in Persian script and uses many worlds in common. The National anthem of Pakistan is in Persian. Most of famous Urdu poet and writers used Persian for their scholarly work. Most of intellectual of literature understands Persian very well. Some of food and cuisines are similar too. Inter-marriages is a strong bond between the two nations.

Both countries are also linked together under Belt and Road Initiatives. China is common friend of both countries. Iran is expected to join Shanghai Cooperation Organization soon, where Pakistan is already a member. Pakistan has also applied for BRICS membership, where Iran is already a member. In regional cooperation both countries are partner and very active. On international issues, both nations having identical views and common strategies. Both countries support each other on most of issues at domestic or international platforms, especially in the UN.

In January, both countries quarrels and became hostile for a while, but, the visionary leadership on both sides communicated with each other and settled all disputes amicably. It was just a family matter, where two children quarrels for a while, and restore normal relations quickly. We are like one family and can settle our disagreements internally.

There are hidden hands on both sides which serves the interests of a third party. Both sides has agreed to cooperate and collaborate deeply and over-come any future misunderstandings. Fortunately, leadership on both sides is mature, wise, smart and visionary. We are united and stand with each other on all issues. Both nations are facing similar challenges and willing to assist each other in overcoming their problems jointly. The relations between two brotherly nations are expected to deepen and strengthen further in the days ahead.

Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.