Iranian president to touch down in Islamabad today

Visit, scheduled before recent Iran-Israel tensions, intends to repair ties with Pakistan

Kamran Yousaf April 21, 2024
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. PHOTO: AFP/File


Iranian President Dr Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi is arriving here on Monday (today) on a visit that will be closely watched by the outside world against the backdrop of Tehran's ongoing tensions with Israel.

Despite the storm clouds brewing in the region, the president of Iran has decided to travel to Pakistan, suggesting the importance Tehran attaches its ties with Islamabad.

The visit was scheduled before the recent tensions between Iran and Israel and was intended as part of efforts to mend relations with Pakistan, which had been strained by tit-for-tat missile strikes in January.

The FO on Sunday confirmed the visit of the Iranian president.

"President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr. Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi will undertake an official visit to Pakistan from 22 to 24 April 2024. This will be the first visit by any Head of State to Pakistan after the general elections in February 2024," read a statement issued here by the foreign office.

It said the Iranian president will be accompanied by his spouse and a high-level delegation comprising the foreign minister and other members of the cabinet, senior officials as well as a large business delegation.

President Raisi's itinerary includes meetings with the president, prime minister, chairman Senate, and speaker of the National Assembly. Further, he will tour Lahore and Karachi, engaging with provincial leadership during his visit.

The two sides will have a wide-ranging agenda to further strengthen Pakistan-Iran ties and enhance cooperation in diverse fields including trade, connectivity, energy, agriculture, and people-to-people contacts. They will also discuss regional and global developments and bilateral cooperation to combat the common threat of terrorism.

"Pakistan and Iran enjoy strong bilateral ties anchored in history, culture and religion. This visit provides an important opportunity to further strengthen Pakistan-Iran relations," Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch remarked.

It is believed that the US is displeased with the Iranian president's visit, given its current efforts to isolate Tehran.

Despite this, Pakistan held its ground against pressure and informed the US that the scheduled visit had been arranged well in advance of the current tensions in the region.

Just days before the Iranian President, the US imposed sanctions on four firms including three Chinese companies for allegedly aiding Pakistan's ballistic and long-range missile program, a move some observers interpret as a signal to Islamabad amid its hosting of the Iranian President.In recent weeks, Pakistan has expressed interest in initiating work on the long-delayed Iran gas pipeline project. However, the US issued a warning, cautioning that Pakistan's decision could trigger sanctions.

Pakistan has often tried to tread a careful path in maintaining ties with Iran and Saudi Arabia.

However, officials here feel that this time Saudis don't have much reservations given their own relationship with Iran improved in recent months.

In March last year, China brokered a deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore their diplomatic ties. Since then both countries reopened their diplomatic missions in each other’s capitals.


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