The recent visit of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to Pakistan is an important step for improving bilateral ties between Tehran and Islamabad, parallel to emphasizing various unexplored dimensions of multileveled cooperation between the two nations. The visit of President Raisi to Pakistan is primarily an effort by both states’ leaders to strengthen their bilateral collaboration in the fields of trade, connectivity, energy, and agriculture.

The enhancement of a consensus-based mechanism for the ongoing formats of people-to-people contacts is also part of the wide-ranging agenda of this visit.

This three-day visit has drawn the attention of two-sided leaders to the extension of their bilateral interaction in various fields through signing several Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) in different areas. During this visit, the MoU for establishing the Rimdan-Gabd Joint Free-Special Zone was signed between Pakistan’s Secretary Board of Investment and Iran’s Advisor to the President and Secretary of the Supreme Council of Free Trade Industrial and Special Economic Zones.

The MoU on the Mutual Recognition of the Standards of Pakistan and Iran has also been signed by Pakistan’s Ministry of Science and Technology and the Iranian Ministry of Road and Urban Development. Different ministries of both states have signed several other MoUs to explore new avenues of bilateral cooperation. The first day of the visit has resulted in eight accords covering a wide range of areas such as trade, science, technology, agriculture, health, culture, and judicial matters.

The two-sided high official showed a willingness to connect their formal governmental frameworks by multiplying their existing collaborations with several new initiatives.

This visit has a greater significance for both states in the changing regional and global world order, where the entire international system faces various threats of a non-traditional nature, such as terrorism. While having an appreciable record of counterterror efforts, the Iranian and Pakistani state leaders have shown their commitment to remain active in addressing the challenges of terrorism and organized criminal groups.

The objective of addressing major security threats could be a practical step in enabling Iran and Pakistan to augment their existing trade volumes by increasing the interconnectedness of their respective business communities. In this way, formulating a joint comprehensive mechanism to deal with the menace of non-state actors would guarantee the extension of trading connections between the two-sided business communities. It will further increase the chances of Foreign Direct Investment in both states by supporting existing cultural and religious Pakistan-Iran ties at the societal level.

The improved people-to-people connections in the areas explicitly adjoining their shared borders could be an adequate measure that led the two-sided leaders to flourish their trading ties. A formal consensus-based mechanism to address the shared security issues will enable the formal state authorities of both states to keep their territorial connections safer from any misperception at the strategic, political, and diplomatic levels. Witnessing the ongoing multileveled political communication and diplomatic support of both states to each other.

The leading government authorities from Islamabad and Tehran are required to pragmatically understand each other’s positions in the changing regional and international power dynamics, especially in the strategic domain.

The increasing trading connections between Tehran, Islamabad, and Beijing could be considered a supporting factor that could help the leaders of the two states become active contributors and supporters of China’s emerging global trading designs. The Chinese role in the ongoing trading designs of Pakistan and Iran is an important factor encouraging Islamabad and Tehran to use their maritime potential without raising any critical apprehension against each other, especially in the matters of port buildings.

Moreover, Pakistan’s role in territorially connecting Iranian and Chinese business connections results from Islamabad’s increasing reliance on the geo-economic dimensions of the international system. Pakistan’s increasing trading ties with its territorially adjoining Iran and China could let Islamabad strengthen its position in the emerging multilateral framework of BRICS, which is intended to expand its network to members located in different regions.

Apart from paying special attention to the shifting power dynamics of the international geo-economic landscape, the Iranian and Pakistan leaders could not ignore the problems of the Muslim world in which the issues of Kashmir and Palestine are seeking the active role of Islamic countries. Therefore, the intense security environment of the Muslim world needs a non-traditional approach of Islamic countries where Pakistan and Iran could play an effective role by adopting a more practical and less theoretical approach.

Adopting a pragmatic approach to the Muslim world would let Iran and Pakistan improve the roles of multilateral inter-governmental frameworks of the Muslim world in addressing the longstanding issues of the Muslim world. 

Based on the features mentioned above of the Pakistan-Iran bilateral ties, it can easily be maintained that the leaders of both nations are still committed to upholding their bilateral cooperation in their respective models of foreign policies while addressing the role of potential challenges to their shared vision of improved cooperation.

A brief history of multileveled collaboration between both states and the undeniable presence of cultural, historical, and religious connections in their bilateral interactions proved that the recent visit will significantly achieve the desired levels of Pakistan-Iran cooperation.

The improvement in state-level political communication between the governments of both states could facilitate their leaders’ altering the conventional patterns of their foreign relations by exploring world politics beyond their fixed visualizations of international systems.

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