Pakistan-Iran trade ties

The successful talks between Pakistan and Iran on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and reaching of their commitment to raise the volume of annual trade to $5 billion can give tangible results only if these paperwork items are given practical shape. All talk and no action creates doubts about the sincerity of an initiative. Undoubtedly, an increase in bilateral trade with Iran and other neighbouring countries can boost our national economy; however, agreements without action are of no use. Pakistan needs to build better trade ties with its immediate neighbour Iran as well as other South Asian states by addressing their concerns and developing stronger ties. Pakistan already enjoys deep cultural, religious and friendly relations with Iran and it needs to expand economic cooperation with Iran while the latter is offering every possible help to Pakistan to have good relations. Besides energy and gas projects, there are numerous opportunities to increase bilateral ties by establishing road and rail infrastructure in the border areas of both countries.

Cooperation among regional countries is the only way forward for prosperity and well-being of the people. Take the example of the European Union (EU) where the masses of member states are enjoying the benefits of this common bond while the South Asian states need to follow the footprints of the EU. Although South Asia does have platforms like SAARC and ECO, yet they have failed to deliver due to prevailing trust deficit among major countries like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. There are many challenges that can be addressed by jointly working and it is high time South Asian states got rid of their hostility and resolved all conflicts. These states need to promote cooperation in areas like climate change, water scarcity, agriculture and other fields of mutual interests. Intelligentsia and the business community from these countries can play an effective role in promoting peace. There are examples in the world that hostility between two or more nations has not brought any good. Rather warfare has caused widespread destruction and loss of thousands of precious lives. The process of establishing a strong South Asian block, desired by many, can be completed by developing people-to-people contacts and improving diplomatic relations.

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