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Pakistan, Iran to form ‘joint reaction force’ on border

Understanding came at meeting between Pakistani Prime Minister Khan and Iranian President Rouhani in Tehran

Islamuddin Sajid   | 22.04.2019
Pakistan, Iran to form ‘joint reaction force’ on border

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan

Pakistan and Iran on Monday agreed to set up a joint rapid reaction force to protect their shared border and promptly act against militants, Pakistan’s state-run media reported.

The understanding came at a meeting between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, on the last day of his two-day visit to the capital Tehran, according to Radio Pakistan.

On April 18, heavily-armed assailants shot dead at least 14 members of Pakistan’s security forces along the main highway that connects the country’s commercial capital Karachi to the strategic Gwadar port in the Balochistan province.

On Saturday, Pakistan’s foreign minister said the gunmen had come from Iran and that Islamabad had shared all information with Tehran about the incident.

At a joint news conference with Khan, Rouhani said they will not allow anyone to harm the close relations between Iran and Pakistan.

"In recent days, we witnessed some tension in the border areas where terrorists perpetrated their nefarious acts but we will not allow anyone to harm our good relations with Pakistan," Rouhani said. 

"We want to establish links between [Iran’s] Chahbhar port and Gwadar to strengthen our commercial ties," Rouhani said. 

He said his country is ready to meet Pakistan’s oil, gas, and electricity needs. 

Resolving terrorism issue

Khan, for his part, said the countries have agreed to enhance cooperation to counter terrorism and to ensure that no country's land will be used against the other. 

"I felt that the issue of terrorist incidents affects ties between the two countries and we need to resolve this issue," he added.

Pakistan and Iran also agreed to cooperate to help find a peaceful settlement of the Afghan conflict, Khan added. 

Later, a joint statement said both sides agreed to enhance cooperation between Iran's Sistan-Balochistan province and Pakistan's Balochistan province including opening a new border crossing and establishing markets to improve economic conditions for local residents. 

Without naming any country, the statement said both sides expressed serious concerns over the unilateral application of measures by any country inconsistent with the provisions of international law and the principles of the UN Charter.

To develop connectivity and transit corridors, both sides welcomed the implementation of bilateral and multilateral agreements including the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as well as pacts to establish North-South and East-West corridors in Iran.

Khan reaffirmed the support and solidarity of the Pakistani government and people with the people of Iran over the loss of lives and material damage from recent severe floods.

During his visit, Khan was accompanied by a high-level delegation.

Khan also invited Rouhani to visit Islamabad, which the latter accepted. 

Khan later met with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to discuss ways to boost bilateral ties.

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