April 21, 2021
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday and discussed trade, connectivity and border management.
Earlier on Monday, state-run Radio Pakistan reported Qureshi briefing members of his country’s diplomatic mission in Tehran about the establishment of trade centers on the Pak-Iran border, saying they would increase commercial activity between the two countries and bring positive change to the lives of people living on the frontier region.
According to Radio Pakistan, Qureshi said Iranian authorities had agreed to his proposal and were willing to set up the markets. The countries are now expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on the opening of the centers during Qureshi’s visit.
In recent years, relations between Iran and Pakistan have been strained with both sides accusing each other of not doing enough to stamp out militants allegedly sheltering across their 900-km border.
In 2019, the two nations said they would form a joint quick reaction force to combat militant activity on their shared border, frequently used for trade and by minority Shia Muslims who travel from Pakistan to Iran for religious pilgrimages. The border is also the entry point of a lucrative, illegal fuel trade that authorities have struggled to crackdown on for decades.
“Called on President @HassanRouhani and happy to convey the best wishes of President @ArifAlvi and PM @ImranKhanPTI,” Qureshi said in a tweet, “along with sharing Pakistan’s vision and commitment to deepen relations with Iran in trade, investment, connectivity and border management.”
Called on President @HassanRouhani and happy to convey the best wishes of President @ArifAlvi and PM @ImranKhanPTI along with sharing Pakistan’s vision and commitment to deepen relations with Iran in trade, investment, connectivity and border management for mutual eco devpt. pic.twitter.com/fT98SxN530
— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) April 21, 2021
Pakistan has set aside about $20 million to fence its border with Iran.