Pak-Iran transit trade strengthening through enhanced road-rail connectivity: Ahsan Iqbal

Mar 27, 2024

 Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Dr Raza Amiri Moghaddam paid a courtesy visit to Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Prof Ahsan Iqbal and congratulated him on assuming the office.

During the meeting, potential areas of cooperation for the upcoming visit of Iran’s President to Pakistan came under discussion, a Planning Ministry news release said on Wednesday.

Minister Ahsan Iqbal highlighted the historical ties between Pakistan and Iran and emphasized the importance of enhancing connectivity through trade routes, considering the 900-kilometer shared land and maritime border.

He urged the need for effective road-rail transit routes to boost economic cooperation, aiming to increase the current $2.5 billion trade volume between the two countries manifold.

Acknowledging Iran’s energy as a vital resource, the minister proposed leveraging it to alleviate Pakistan’s energy crises, particularly considering the cost-effectiveness of Iranian energy resources.

He also advocated reviving the cargo train service between Pakistan, Iran and Turkey initiated in 2009 under the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).

The ambassador commended the strategic significance of Chabahar, Gwadar and Karachi ports for trade and expressed Iran’s commitment to connecting Chabahar port with the Zahidan railway network, potentially extending connectivity to Russia and Central Asia countries.

The Gabd-Rimdan border crossing was identified as a more viable option than Quetta-Taftan, given its proximity to Gwadar and Chabahar.

Ahsan Iqbal proposed adopting Iran’s vocational and technical training mechanism to empower unemployed youth in Balochistan.

During the meeting, both sides agreed that strengthened bilateral ties could contribute to reducing tendencies of terrorism and extremism in the region.