The reciprocal visits paid by senior Iranian and Pakistani officials to the two countries' capitals during the last ten days heralded a new era of ties and cooperation between the two Muslim neighboring nations.
Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was in Islamabad at the head of a ranking politico-economic delegation last week to attend a meeting of the two countries' joint economic cooperation commission in a bid to explore new avenues for cooperation, pursue implementation of agreements, and prepare the grounds for the Pakistani premier's visit to Tehran which took place a few days later.
Pakistani analysts believe that the country's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani's two-day visit to Iran has proved to be a highly productive one as it has brought the two brotherly countries still closer in different fields. Apart from greater understanding on political and regional issues, the leadership of the two countries had fruitful exchange of views on cementing ties in various sectors to the mutual advantage.
The outcome of the visit amply proved that the Prime Minister had done the necessary homework to get maximum benefit out of his interaction with the Iranian leadership, Pakistan Observer said in a commentary.
Right from the moment he talked to media before embarking on the plane for Iran, Mr. Gilani conveyed a lot of optimism about the prospects of increasing cooperation with the neighboring country, specially in the field of commerce, industry and trade, and his talks in Tehran demonstrated his sincerity of purpose.
He categorically declared that under a policy revamp, Islamabad wants a very close relationship with Tehran and intends to give fresh impetus to the existing bilateral ties in line with their proximity and potential in trade, security and other fields.
It appeared that the two sides are determined to move swiftly towards this direction, as was visible from the understanding they reached during their talks. Their resolve to increase the bilateral trade from the existing just $1.2 billion to $10 billion and expedite completion of gas and power projects is manifestation of the desire of the two countries to take their relationship to new heights.
We would, however, expect that while sorting out details of how to boost their trade, they would give due consideration to strike a balance as currently Pakistan's exports to Iran constitute just 20% of the total volume of trade between them because of a number of barriers. Similarly, Iranian interest in expediting implementation of the gas pipeline project and power transmission lines is highly appreciable but Pakistan is still caught in bureaucratic rigmarole despite the fact that it needed completion of energy projects on fast track in view of the prevailing crisis, the paper said.
The world is today focusing on consolidating trade with neighbors and regional economic cooperation because of the advantages of proximity and we too should focus on this strategy in letter and in spirit, the commentary concluded.