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Pakistan and Iran agree to pace up work on free trade agreement: Joint Statement

ISLAMABAD: In a 28-point joint statement, Pakistan and Iran reaffirmed their commitment to pace up work to finalize a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Both countries also decided to enhance energy cooperation and electricity trade despite potential sanctions hinted at by the United States following Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi’s visit to Pakistan.

Shortly after President Raisi departed from Karachi, the Foreign Office released a joint statement detailing bilateral agreements, including plans related to the Pak-Iran gas pipeline project.

The statement came a day after the US State Department warned of potential sanctions related to business deals between the two nations.

Both countries agreed to finalize a free trade agreement (FTA) and increase bilateral trade to $10 billion over the next five years through joint economic projects, setting up joint border markets, economic free zones, and new border openings.

During delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and President Raisi, the leaders discussed bilateral ties, emphasizing cooperation in the energy sector, including electricity trade and the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.

Both sides agreed to turn the common border into a ‘border of prosperity’ and highlighted the importance of cooperation in energy, including power transmission lines and the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, particularly for socio-economic development in Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan and Pakistan’s Balochistan provinces.

The joint statement also emphasized strengthening fraternal relations through academic, cultural, and tourism activities, and enhancing tourism to historic religious sites.

Both countries condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, expressing a commitment to combat threats such as terrorism, narcotics smuggling, and human trafficking.

Additionally, Pakistan and Iran reaffirmed their commitment to the development of Afghanistan as a peaceful, united, sovereign, and independent state, free from the threats of terrorism and drug trafficking.

They condemned attacks on the Consular Section of the Iranian Embassy in Damascus and called for preventing illegal acts attacking diplomatic facilities.

Pakistan and Iran also condemned rising incidents of Islamophobia and welcomed the adoption of the UN General Assembly Resolution 78/264 titled “Measures to Combat Islamophobia,” calling for the appointment of a United Nations Special Envoy to combat Islamophobia.

PM Shehbaz and President Raisi welcomed cooperation between the two countries in various multilateral fora, including the UN, ECO, SCO, OIC, and others.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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