Close on the heels of the visit of Iran’s interior minister, Prime Minister Muhammed Nawaz Sharif will undertake an official visit to Iran from May 11 to 12 on an invitation from President Hassan Rouhani, according to an official statement on Saturday.
Of late there have been tensions between the two countries on the issue of the kidnapping of the border guards from Iran. Several steps were decided including the setting up of hotlines to smoothen coordination between the security agencies of the two countries during the Iranian interior minister’s visit earlier this week. There is also the issue of the Iran Pakistan gas pipeline which has been stuck due to US sanctions. Pakistan will have to pay a fine of $ 3 million a day if it doesn’t construct its side of the pipeline by December 2014, which has not even started so far even though the design is in place.
Mr. Sharif’s visit will be the first top leadership level visit since the formation of new governments in the two countries. A high-ranking delegation including Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Privatization, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and Chief Minister, Balochistan, will accompany the Prime Minister.
Mr. Sharif’s engagements in Tehran include a bilateral meeting with President Rouhani and he will also call on Ayatollah Ali Khamenai. The meeting will give the two sides an opportunity to review the entire spectrum of bilateral relations as well as regional and international developments of mutual interest, the statement said.
Special focus will be attached to strengthening economic ties between Pakistan and Iran. In this context, the existing potential of bilateral trade would be reinforced through initiatives aimed at enhancing physical connectivity between the sides. A number of agreements on cooperation in various fields will be signed during the visit.