• Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

Shehbaz, Raisi inaugurate key projects for border areas

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Iran’s President Seyed Ebrahim Raisi at inauguration of 100MW Polan-Gabd electricity transmission line project on May 19, 2023. PID
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Iran’s President Seyed Ebrahim Raisi at inauguration of 100MW Polan-Gabd electricity transmission line project on May 19, 2023. PID

GABD (Gwadar): In a step aimed at boosting bilateral trade, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Iran’s President Seyed Ebrahim Raisi Thursday jointly inaugurated the Mand-Pishin border sustenance market.

The two leaders also inaugurated 100MW Polan-Gabd electricity transmission line project from Iran to Gwadar at Mand-Pishin crossing point of Pakistan-Iran border, and electricity started flowing to Pakistani area immediately after ceremony.

The border marketplace is expected to provide a thriving platform for increasing cross-border trade, fostering economic growth, and opening up new avenues of opportunity for local businesses.

It should be noted that this is one of the six border markets which has been constructed along the Pak-Iran border.

The two leaders also planted a sapling on the premises of the border market as a gesture to stride forward in the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

The bilateral ties and cooperation were discussed in a meeting between PM Shehbaz Sharif and President Ebrahim Raisi after the two leaders inaugurated the border market.

Following the “very productive and positive” meeting, the prime minister told a gathering of local elders that the two sides had decided to move forward in the areas of trade, investment, information technology, agriculture and other sectors.

The two leaders also decided to exploit the potential for cooperation in the power transmission.

PM Shehbaz said an agreement for independent mutual trade between the two countries would be given final shape soon. Shehbaz told the gathering that on his suggestion, the Iranian president also assured to move forward for enhancing cooperation in the solar energy sector.

The PM said that during the meeting, he also put forward the suggestions regarding the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and that the two sided would take measures for implementation of the decisions taken in the meeting.

Regarding the inauguration of Mand-Pishin border market, the prime minister said the facility would enhance trade activity in the surrounding areas and would get an uplift as trade centres would be constructed there.

PM Shehbaz also invited the Iranian president to visit Pakistan which he accepted. He told President Raisi that the tenure of the current assembly would end on August 6, and it would be pleasure for him to receive the Iranian president before that date. President Ebrahim Raisi promised to undertake his visit as per invitation of Premier Shehbaz Sharif.

Shehbaz Sharif was accompanied by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Power Minister Khurram Dastagir, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb. Senior officials of Pakistan and Iran were also present.

About the 100MW Polan-Gabd electricity transmission line project, the PM said the project faced immense delay in the past, but the incumbent government ensured its completion in the record time. Iranian President Raisi also took keen interest in the project. Shehbaz said the matter related to the power tariff had also been settled amicably with Iranian government.

“This is a great day for Pakistan-Iran friendship and will prove a milestone for development of the two countries,” the prime minister remarked.

President Ebrahim Raisi expressed his belief that the power projects would create more job opportunities for peoples of the two countries.

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said the project was pending since 2009 and it had been completed in record time of four months under the leadership of PM Shehbaz Sharif. She said the project would unleash development, trade, business and employment opportunities contributing to future prosperity of people of Gwadar and Balochistan.

Separately, in an exclusive interview with Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), PM Shehbaz Sharif stressed the importance of enhanced cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran, terming energy projects and border markets “emblematic of the vitality of Pakistan-Iran friendship”.

Shehbaz Sharif made the remarks in a written interview sent to the Bureau office of IRNA in Islamabad. The PM was of the view that the Mand-Pishin border marketplace and the Polan-Gabd electricity project are “tangible manifestations” of this joint resolution.

He added the border markets including Mand-Pishin would not only ameliorate the socioeconomic conditions of the border regions but also foster new opportunities for local businesses. “They would also serve as a stepping stone for greater cooperation between our two countries, especially in the economic domain,” the premier maintained.

Shedding light on trade, he noted there was tremendous scope and mutual desire for the actualisation of our trade potential. “Both Pakistan and Iran are deeply committed to achieving an annual trade volume of $5 billion. In this regard, the operationalisation of the barter trade mechanism is a significant step,” he said. 

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