Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has arrived in Pakistan on his first landmark visit since the implementation of a nuclear agreement between Tehran and the P5+1 group of six countries.
Heading a high-ranking politico-economic delegation including 60 Iranian businessmen, Rouhani was officially welcomed by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif upon his arrival in Islamabad on Friday. A 21-gun salute was performed in Rouhani’s honor.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (2nd L) is welcomed by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad on March 25, 2016. (AFP Photo)
Rouhani’s two-day trip is aimed at discussing ways to further strengthen trade and economic relations and holding consultation with senior Pakistani officials on the latest developments in the region.
Iran and Pakistan are expected to sign documents for cooperation in the fields of electricity export, insurance, commerce, media, science and academy, health and tourism.
President Rouhani plans to hold meetings with Sharif, President Mamnoon Hussain and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif among others during his stay, Pakistani media said.
A police vehicle patrols near the portraits of (L-R) Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, displayed along a road during Rouhani’s visit to Islamabad, Pakistan, March 25, 2016. (Reuters Photo)
The two sides are also expected to discuss resuming work on a stalled Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, a project designed to help Pakistan meet its energy needs.
Iran has completed its part of the gas pipeline project with more than USD 2 billion of investment, but Pakistan has fallen behind the target to take delivery of gas, initially scheduled for 2014 .
The energy crisis in Pakistan which suffers everyday loadshedding has worsened in recent years amid 4,000 megawatts of electricity shortfall.
Islamabad and Tehran are also expected to discuss threats posed by terrorist groups to the region and potential cooperation in combating extremism and terrorism.
Intelligence, security and border cooperation between Tehran and Islamabad will be also on the agenda during the visit.
On January 16, Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia – plus Germany started to implement the nuclear agreement, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), that they reached on July 14, 2015 following two and a half years of intensive talks.
After JCPOA went into effect, all nuclear-related sanctions imposed on Iran by the European Union, the Security Council and the US were lifted. Iran has, in return, put some limitations on its nuclear activities.