Iranian President Arrives in Pakistan for Three-Day Visit Amid Tensions

Iranian President Raisi visits Pakistan to boost economic and security cooperation, amid recent tensions and regional developments in the Middle East.

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Nitish Verma
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Iranian President Arrives in Pakistan for Three-Day Visit Amid Tensions

Iranian President Arrives in Pakistan for Three-Day Visit Amid Tensions

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi arrived in Islamabad, Pakistan on Monday for a three-day official visit, the first by an Iranian head of state since Pakistan's general elections in February. Raisi was received by Pakistan's Housing and Works Minister and is accompanied by his wife and a high-level delegation, including the foreign minister, other cabinet members, senior officials, and a large business delegation.

During his stay, Raisi is scheduled to meet with Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, President Asif Ali Zardari, Senate Chairman Yousaf Raza Gillani, and National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq. He will also visit the cities of Lahore and Karachi to meet with provincial leadership.

The two sides are expected to discuss strengthening Pakistan-Iran ties and enhancing cooperation in areas such as trade, connectivity, energy, agriculture, and people-to-people contacts. Regional and global developments will also be on the agenda, as well as bilateral cooperation to combat the common threat of terrorism.

Why this matters: The visit comes amid recent tensions between the two countries, following tit-for-tat strikes targeting militants in January. It is seen as an important opportunity for Pakistan and Iran to mend ties and boost economic and security cooperation in the region.

Raisi's trip to Pakistan is significant as it comes on the heels of recent developments in the Middle East. In March, Iran launched missile strikes against what it said were Israeli targets in Iraq, following an apparent Israeli attack on a military facility in central Iran. Pakistan has called on all parties in the Middle East to exercise restraint and work towards de-escalation.

Pakistan and Iran are also counting on a joint gas pipeline project to help alleviate Pakistan's long-running power crisis. The $7 billion Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline has faced delays due to U.S. sanctions on Iran's energy sector. Pakistani officials say they are working to resolve the remaining issues to advance the project.

In a statement ahead of the visit, Pakistan's Foreign Office said, "The visit of President Raisi is expected to further strengthen bilateral relations and enhance cooperation in various fields for the mutual benefit of the two brotherly countries." Iran's Ambassador to Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Hosseini, expressed hope that the visit would "open new horizons" for strengthening ties.

Key Takeaways

  • Iranian President Raisi visits Pakistan for 3-day official trip, first since elections.
  • Raisi to meet Pakistani PM, President, and other top officials to boost cooperation.
  • Discussions to focus on trade, connectivity, energy, agriculture, and regional issues.
  • Visit aims to mend recent tensions and advance stalled Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline.
  • Both countries hope the visit will open new horizons for strengthening bilateral ties.