Daily ‘Dawn’ in its editorial comments said indeed, Pakistan and Iran have much to gain through the expansion of ties, and an earnest effort in that direction is possible, provided the will is there, IRNA reported.
The paper noted that a turbulent border, infested with criminal gangs and small-time insurgent groups, and alleged cross-border links of individuals are among some obstacles in the bilateral ties. “Besides, there is the matter of unfinished projects, the most obvious example being the joint gas pipeline initiative,” it said.
The paper added that international sanctions on Iran have been used as an excuse for Pakistan’s foot-dragging on work on its territory, although some in policy circles have felt that the Gas Purchase Agreement was signed prior to the sanctions, and thus lay outside their ambit.
Given the size of the other projects in the federally funded Public Sector Development Program (PSDP), it can’t even be argued that resources to finance construction on Pakistan’s side are not available domestically.
“Trade in commodities and cooperation in sectors like aviation, ports and shipping, and science and technology can help boost ties,” it said.
It said in his recent visit to Tehran; Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa assured President Hassan Rouhani that Pakistan desired an enhancement in bilateral ties.
“Iran has repeatedly called for increasing cooperation between the two ports of Gwadar and Chabahar, as well as participating in CPEC,” it said.
The paper added while Pakistan’s deepening engagement with the Saudi-led military alliance that has shunned Iran complicates the picture, the Pakistani leadership can still take an independent stance by not allowing foreign powers to dictate our foreign policy agenda.