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Khan meets Rouhani in Tehran today

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TEHRAN: On Monday, Prime Minister Imran Khan met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the Presidential Palace in Tehran during a two-day official visit to Iran.

According to Radio Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran and President Rouhani discussed their bilateral relations at length, and ways to further ties in diverse fields during their meeting.

Earlier today, the prime minister arrived at the Presidential Palace where he was welcomed by the Iranian president. The national anthems of both countries were played during the welcoming ceremony, after which Prime Minister Khan inspected a guard of honour.

Upon the invitation of Rouhani, premier Khan is visiting the neighboring country to strengthen ‘trust’ between the two countries.

He is to meet Supreme Leader Sayyid Ali Khamenei and other top government functionaries today.

“BRAS” — an alliance of three terrorist organizations — claimed responsibility for Ormara killings

The premier reached Iran on Sunday and paid his respects at the shrine of Imam Raza during a brief stopover in Mashhad. He also met the leadership of the Khorasan-i-Razavi province, and told them that maintaining good relations with neighbours was the cornerstone of his government policy.

The premier is accompanied by two ministers, an adviser and three special assistants holding portfolios of human rights, maritime affairs, commerce, overseas Pakistanis, health services, and petroleum.

Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Adviser to PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Special Assistant to PM on Overseas Pakistanis Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, Special Assistant to PM on National Health Services Dr Zafarullah Mirza and Special Assistant to PM on Petroleum Nadeem Baber constitute the Pakistani delegation.

Mr Khan was initially scheduled to visit Iran in January, but it was reportedly postponed at the eleventh hour due to unexplained reasons though the Foreign Office did issue a statement highlighting that Pak-Iran relations were “marked by close historic and cultural linkages and strong people-to-people exchanges”.

The relations have, however, had a bad patch as well due to security issues along the border. There was a brief bonhomie in ties after Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Bajwa’s unprecedented visit to Iran in November 2017.

According to diplomatic sources, border security issues will be on top of PM Khan’s agenda in Tehran, especially the April 18 terror attack in Ormara in which 14 armed forces personnel were killed. Following the massacre, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) lodged a strong protest with Iran over its lack of action against the terrorists involved in Ormara killings.

In a letter written to the Iranian embassy on Friday, the MoFA stated: “Killing of 14 innocent Pakistanis by terrorist groups based in Iran is a very serious incident that Pakistan protests strongly.”

Media sources reported that on April 18, terrorists dressed as Frontier Corps fenced the road and stopped the buses travelling from Ormara to Gwadar on the coastal highway at Buzi Top before dawn.

On the identification of the passengers, 14 personnel belonging to the armed forces were shot dead, including Navy, Air Force and Coast Guards personnel.

According to the ministry’s letter, “BRAS” — an alliance of three terrorist organizations — claimed responsibility for the terrorist act. The government said the terrorists had arrived from the border region and returned to the area following the incident.

Among other important issues, including border security, the long impending Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline project is too scheduled to come under discussion.

 

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