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Iran, Pakistan Agree to Boost Border Security, Trade

  • Ayesha Tanzeem

Iran and Pakistan have agreed to increase border security and boost bilateral trade.

The two countries, which share a long, porous border, signed five memorandums of understanding on Monday dealing with issues of cross-border militant activity, smuggling, drug trafficking and illegal immigration.

Relations have sometimes suffered due to cross-border action by militant groups.

Saifullah Chatta, the chief secretary of Pakistan’s Balochistan province bordering Iran, said the two countries have decided to put a stop to it.

“Both sides have agreed that they will not let their respective territories be used against the other for cross-border terrorist activities,” he said.

The decisions were announced at the end of a three-day session of the Pakistan-Iran Joint Border Commission in the Pakistani city Quetta. This was the 19th meeting of the commission, which was set up more than 50 years ago.

Chatta also said that Pakistan would try to stop oil smuggling from Iran and instead import oil legally to fulfill the energy needs of Balochistan province.

The two countries also want to increase bilateral trade to $5 billion in the next five years.

Other decisions included plans to open several border marketplaces, set up a rail link between Pakistan’s port city of Gwadar and Iran’s port city of Chabahar, and for Iran to supply electricity to Pakistan’s border areas.

The deputy governor of Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province, Ali Asghar Shikari, led the Iranian delegation.The next meeting of the commission will be in Chabahar.

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