Far reaching positive impact of state visit of Iranian President to Pakistan

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr. Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi undertook an official visit to Pakistan from 22 to 24 April 2024.

President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr. Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi undertook an official visit to Pakistan from 22 to 24 April 2024. This was the first visit by any Head of State to Pakistan after the general elections in February 2024. The Iranian President was accompanied by his spouse and a high-level delegation comprising the Foreign Minister and other members of the cabinet, senior officials as well as a large business delegation. During the visit, President Raisi met the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Chairman Senate, Speaker National Assembly and senior civil and military officials. He also visited Lahore and Karachi and met with the provincial leadership.

Iranian President Dr. Ebrahim Raisi’s official visit to Pakistan has been marked by a warm reception from Pakistani authorities and political elites, as reported by Iranian state-affiliated media. The city was very well decorated with flags of two countries and seasonal flowers and paintings. Fortunately, it is the peak of spring with flowers of all types in various colors and fragrance has also welcomed the foreign guests. The significance of this visit is underscored by the fact that Pakistan is Raisi’s first foreign destination in 2024 and his first visit to the country as President, drawing considerable attention from both Iranian and Pakistani media. Pakistan values it and keep high regards for honorable guests.

Bilateral and Economic Relations:

Iranian President Dr Ebrahim Raisi said a key decision to increase bilateral trade volume to $10 billion has been reached as he addressed a high-profile joint press conference with Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad on Monday. “In our meeting today, we (have) decided to promote bilateral relations between the two countries including political, economic, trade, cultural and others as far as possible,” said Raisi who arrived in Pakistan earlier during the day amid stringent security measures.

“You will probably find some individuals who do not favour expansion and good bilateral relations between us but who cares – it is not important. We believe it is important to expand relations between our countries,” added the Iranian president. “We have decided as a first step to increase trade volume between our two countries to $10 billion.”

The two sides – which currently have bilateral trade of over $2 billion – also held a meeting earlier, and agreed on joint efforts to eradicate terrorism. “The entire Pakistani nation welcomes the visit of the Iranian President,” Radio Pakistan quoted the PM as saying.

In his address, PM Shehbaz said that the two sides discussed religious, security and historic matters during their meeting. “Today is an opportunity to make this friendship a happy and prosperous one.” Both countries enjoys identical vies on most of the regional and global issues, and a complete harmony exits.

Meeting with army chief in another meeting President Raisi discussed regional stability and border security with Chief of Army Staff Gen Asim Munir. According to an ISPR statement, both sides concurred on the necessity to bolster bilateral cooperation while jointly striving for regional stability and economic prosperity. Gen Munir emphasized the need to improve coordination along the border to prevent terrorists from jeopardizing the longstanding relations between the two neighboring countries, ISPR said.

Pakistan, Iran sign eight accords:

Meanwhile, Pakistan and Iran signed eight accords on varying subjects to enhance cooperation in the different fields including trade, science technology, agriculture, health, culture, and judicial matters. PM Shehbaz and President Raisi witnessed the ceremony as the representatives from both sides signed the documents, state-run APP reported earlier.

“The two sides will have a wide-ranging agenda to further strengthen Pakistan-Iran ties and enhance cooperation in diverse fields including trade, connectivity, energy, agriculture, and people-to-people contacts,” the FO said.

“They will also discuss regional and global developments and bilateral cooperation to combat the common threat of terrorism,” it added. The economic collaboration between Pakistan and Iran comes at a critical time for Pakistan, grappling with security threats and economic turmoil. Pakistan’s Defense Minister has even acknowledged the country’s precarious economic situation. Similarly, Iran faces its own challenges, including heightened security concerns and economic sanctions from Western countries.

Raisi’s visit also included stops in Lahore and Karachi, where he engaged with provincial leadership and further cemented bilateral ties. In Lahore, he visited historical sites and emphasized the deep cultural connections between Iran and Pakistan. In Karachi, discussions focused on economic opportunities and mutual cooperation, with Raisi being awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Karachi.

However, amidst these diplomatic engagements, the United States issued warnings about potential sanctions for countries engaging in business with Iran. This underscores the geopolitical implications of Raisi’s visit and the delicate balance Pakistan must maintain in its international relations.

Overall, Raisi’s visit to Pakistan has laid the groundwork for enhanced cooperation and economic ties between the two nations. As they navigate common challenges and opportunities, the collaboration between Pakistan and Iran is poised to yield significant benefits on economic, political, and diplomatic fronts in the days to come. His visit will have far reaching positive impact on entire region and contribute toward development and prosperity of whole region.

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.