PR No.236 Islamabad: March 26, 2016

President Mamnoon Hussain has that Iran is not only Pakistan’s good friend and neighbour but a brother state adding that friendship between the two countries is deep-rooted in shared history, culture and faith.

The President said this during a meeting with the President of Iran Mr. Hassan Rouhani here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, Islamabad on Saturday. Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz, Minister for Petroleum Khaqan Abbasi, Minister for Climate Change Zahid Ahmed, among others, were also present during the meeting.

Welcoming the lifting of international economic and financial sanctions against Iran, President Mamnoon said that it would pave the way for greater economic, trade and business relations between the two neighbours. The President emphasized that we should make all possible efforts to enhance Iran-Pakistan trade and economic relations and expressed optimism that the two countries would achieve the bilateral trade target of $ 5 billion for mutual benefit of the two countries. President Mamnoon hoped that the visit of Iranian President would be a milestone in our relations and lead to further strengthening of ties in diverse areas between the two countries.

The President said that energy deficit is a major issue in Pakistan and it is top priority of the Government to overcome electricity shortage as soon as possible and called for increased cooperation in energy sector. The President observed that after lifting of economic sanctions on Iran bilateral collaboration in the field of energy would enhance at a faster pace.

The President suggested that the two brotherly countries should increase their cooperation in the fields of defence, science and information technology to take their relationship to new heights.

The President highlighted the importance of better connectivity in the region and urged for air, road and rail networks for regional integration.

The President reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to eradicate extremism and terrorism and said that the Zarb-e-Azb operation will continue till elimination of the last terrorist which will help to establish peace not only in Pakistan but the whole region. The President said that Government of Pakistan is implementing National Action Plan to get rid of terrorism and to have peace not only in Pakistan but the whole region.

The President informed that Pakistan is sincerely pursuing the vision of peaceful neighbourhood and wish to have friendly relations with all neighbours, including India. The President underlined that resolution of Jammu & Kashmir dispute is essential for improvement in ties with India and urged that sustained and uninterrupted dialogue is the best way to promote bilateral relations and address each other’s concerns.

The President emphasized that peace in Afghanistan is necessary adding that Pakistan is trying its utmost to facilitate reconciliation in Afghanistan in the format of Quadrilateral Coordination Group comprising Afghanistan-Pakistan-China and the US.

The President felicitated President of Iran on the successful and peaceful conduct of elections of the Parliament (Majlis) and the Assembly of Experts of the Islamic Republic of Iran adding that his election to the Assembly of Experts reflects confidence of the people in his sagacious leadership.

President Mamnoon congratulated President of Iran on Nowruz and apprised that Nowruz is also celebrated with great zeal and zest in some parts of Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, President of Iran Mr. Hassan Rouhani said that Iran is ready to assist Pakistan in overcoming its energy needs and expand economic cooperation to the benefit of both the countries. President Rouhani expressed his happiness on being in Pakistan and said that both brotherly countries should cooperate with each other in every sphere.

Earlier, Mr. Hassan Rouhani President of Iran was warmly received on his arrival at the Aiwan-e-Sadr by President Mamnoon Hussain and children clad in traditional dress presented bouquets to him. President Mamnoon Hussain also hosted a luncheon in honour of President of Iran and his delegation at the Aiwan-e-Sadr which was also attended by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, Services Chiefs, Federal Ministers, parliamentarians, diplomats, and high ranking government officials. After the luncheon, a band of Pakistan Army played delightful tunes which were appreciated by the visiting dignitary.