Senior officials from Pakistan and Iran agreed on Monday to take a series of measures to de-escalate tensions triggered by the recent border clashes between the security forces of the two countries.
The border skirmishes were the key talking point during the Pakistan-Iran bilateral political consultations held at the foreign ministry. The Pakistani side was led by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry and Iran was represented by its Deputy Foreign Minister Ibrahim Rahimpour.
Tensions further escalated after the two countries summoned each other’s envoys in an apparent tit-for-tat move over the border skirmishes that had left at least one Pakistani paramilitary solider dead.
Tehran accuses Islamabad of doing little to eliminate anti-Iranian militants on its side of the border – a charge denied by Pakistan.
According to a statement issued by the foreign office, the two sides reviewed the recent border incidents and reiterated their firm resolves to maintain a ‘tranquil Pakistan-Iran border’.
“It was agreed to ensure effective border controls – including through enhanced communications and coordination between the relevant focal authorities on both sides and frequent exchanges and meetings of the established mechanisms, including the Joint Border Commission (JBC),” the statement added.
It further said that the consultations focused on the entire gamut of bilateral relations, including political exchanges, trade and economic cooperation, Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, energy collaboration, and border security cooperation.
Consistent with the vision of the leadership in both countries, it was agreed to take further practical steps for comprehensive upgrade of bilateral cooperation in diverse fields. A special emphasis was laid, as already agreed by the leadership in Pakistan and Iran, on forging an economic-intensive partnership.
The Iranian delegation was briefed on the prevailing environment in South Asia and Pakistan’s efforts to promote peace and stability in the region. Pakistan’s perspective on the recent developments in Afghanistan and engagement with the new Afghan leadership were highlighted. The exchange of views also covered the situation in the Middle East.
During his visit, the Iranian deputy foreign minister called on Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi.
In these meetings, the mutual commitment to realise the full potential of the bilateral relationship was emphasised. It was agreed that the high-level exchanges scheduled over the coming months would help advance the shared goals.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2014.