The 17th Pakistan-Iran Joint Border Commission on Friday formed a committee on reported border violations and agreed on joint efforts for tracking down the missing Iranian border guards.
“We have formed a joint committee comprising officials from both sides which will review violation of border and keep an eye on elements opposed to peace across the border,” said Balochistan Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad.
He was leading the Pakistani side at the third day of the high level meeting, held in the aftermath of the abduction of five Iranian border guards on February 6 and to discuss issues of firing of rockets and mortar shells by Iranian forces into the border areas of Balochistan.
The Pakistani side also included Balochistan Home Secretary Asad Gilani and Balochistan Police Inspector General Mushtaq Sukhaira, while Iranian side was represented by Sistan-Balochestan Deputy Governor Ali Asghar Shikari. Iranian Consul General in Quetta Syed Hasan Yehyavi was also present.
Muhammad said the committee would further present its recommendation to the Joint Border Commission. “Consensus has been developed to ensure joint patrolling on the borders and take stern action against the elements causing law and order problems,” he added.
“The lack of communication caused confusion between two brotherly countries Pakistan and Iran,” Balochistan Chief Secretary said, adding that both sides had decided to meet on regular basis to discuss issues to avoid any confusion in the future. Here it must be noted that the 16th border commission meeting was held four years back.
He said Pakistan shared deep concern with Iran over the kidnapping of its border guards, and was ready to assist it in this connection.
Iranian Sistan-Balochestan deputy governor lauded the goodwill of the Pakistani delegation, which assured them of their full cooperation in resolving the border issues and recovery of the missing guards.
“Matter of increasing trade between the two countries has also been assigned to the trade commission,” he said, adding that the 18th meeting of Joint Border Commission would be convened on August 24 in the Zahidan city of Sistan-Balochestan.
Iranian ambassador calls on Nisar
Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Alireza Haghighian called on Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to discuss Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s upcoming visit to Iran and other border security related issues, the ministry of interior said in an official statement on Friday.
“Government of Iran is looking forward to the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Iran which will help in further bolstering relations between the two countries,” the statement quoted the Iranian ambassador as saying.
The ambassador said the government of Iran was looking to work closely with the government of Pakistan in further strengthening relations in all fields including closer economic, cultural and security relations.
Talking to the ambassador, Nisar urged that the two nations must rise above the current irritants and endeavour to protect the fundamentals of Pak-Iran relations.
“Instead of airing views through the media it will be more appropriate if issues are discussed across the table,” said Chaudhry Nisar, adding that no militant or terrorist should be allowed to negatively influence the very close relations between the two countries.
“Pakistan-Iran relations are important for the region and also for the whole Muslim ‘ummah’. We must rise above the difficulties to totally nullify the designs of our enemies,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2014.