Pakistan’s Minister for Communication and Works Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province Akbar Ayub Khan, in a meeting with Consul General of Iran in Peshawar Mohammad Baqer Beigi, expressed his country’s desire to benefit from Iran’s vast experience to develop the country’s infrastructure.
Ayub Khan said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province wants to cooperate with Iran in technical and engineering sectors to develop its infrastructure especially in building of roads and bridges.
Referring to close ties between Iran and Pakistan, the minister said Islamabad is willing to send a team of experts to Iran to see the progress of the country in building roads, tunnels and bridges.
Mohammad Baqer Beigi said for his turn that both countries would overcome problems in bilateral ties, if any, adding that his country is willing to cooperate with Pakistan in infrastructure development.
He said the visit of team of experts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to Iran would be finalized soon and that close cooperation between Iran and Pakistan in economic sector would benefit the two neighboring states.
Earlier on Monday, Pakistan’s Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan, in a meeting with Tehran’s Ambassador to Islamabad Mehdi Honardoost, underlined his country's interest in boosting power supplies from Iran.
He said that Pakistan is ready to hold negotiations on the renewal of the agreement on 100MW electricity import to its border province of Baluchistan.
The two sides stressed the need to continue joint efforts in the power sector on both power generation and transmission.
Honardoost, for his part, noted that Iranian companies and contractors are ready to take part in the neighboring country’s power sector.
Last year, Iran expressed readiness to provide up to 3,000 MW electricity to Pakistan.
However, according to Ayub Khan, there is a problem on Pakistan side because importing such quantity of electricity requires a robust transmission system, which requires a lot of investment.
Earlier on Saturday, Ambassador Riffat Masood said that Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is keen on increasing bilateral ties with Iran, adding that the premier has ordered solution of all economic problems with Tehran.
Masood made the remarks a meeting with the provincial governor of Iranian Sistan and Baluchistan province Ahmad Ali Mohebati in Zahedan.
She said that Iran and Pakistan share a lot of commonalities that need to be tapped into to develop bilateral relations between the two countries.
The Pakistani ambassador also said that Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is keen on increasing bilateral ties with Iran, Afghanistan and India, adding that the Pakistani prime minister also stresses that any economic problems with Iran should be resolved.
Masood pointed to border trade at shared border crossings, saying that the two border gates of Rimdan and Pishin need to start work as soon as possible to boost border trade between Iran and Pakistan.
Meanwhile, she emphasized the need for an increase in the number of flights between Pakistani Quetta and Karachi and Iran’s Zahedan airports to allow the expansion of bilateral trade.
Mohebati, for his part in this meeting, stressed the need for expansion of bilateral relations through joint investments on the both sides of the shared borders.
He also said that Iran can contribute to Pakistani Gwadar port by providing natural gas and electricity to the petrochemical plants in the port, calling for accelerating the opening of two border gates of Rimdan and Pishin to help the Pakistani port.
He further said that operating the three border crossings of Rimdan, Pishin and Kouhak can also be of great help to the people living on both sides of the borders.
The governor further said that the border gates need to be made official in a bid to tackle the problem of border smuggling.
The Iranian senior official also said that the work on the infrastructure of border gates Rimdan and Pishin is advancing according to plans on the Iranian side of the border, calling on the Pakistani authorities to take the work on the border gates more seriously.
He further expressed Iran’s readiness to provide Pakistan with construction materials needed to the build border markets.
The 3rd Mirjava-Zahedan rail line for Pakistani trains will be inaugurated by next year, he said.
He also emphasized that boundaries and limits of the Pakistani consulate in Zahedan will soon be established.
In a relevant development earlier on December 24, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Pakistani counterpart Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in a meeting in Tehran, exchanged views on the latest regional and international developments and called for joint efforts to boost stability.
Zarif and Qureshi stressed the importance of making joint efforts to boost stability, security and constructive cooperation in the region, particularly in Afghanistan.
The visit by Qureshi and his accompanying delegation to Tehran was part of the government's policy of outreach in the neighborhood, Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in a statement on Monday.
It added that the Iranian and Pakistani foreign ministers held "detailed" talks on "strengthening the already close bilateral relations rooted in common history, culture and people-to-people ties" and reaffirmed the necessity to increase cooperation.
"The (Pakistani) Foreign Minister elaborated that Prime Minister Imran Khan envisions strengthening ties with Iran in diverse fields with emphasis on expanding mutually beneficial economic cooperation and development," the statement said.
According to the statement, Zarif reaffirmed Iran's commitment to deepen relations with Pakistan in trade, investment, connectivity and border management.