Normalization is on But What about Murder of 9 Pakistanis? Anything about Electricity, Fuel Gas, Petroleum Import from Iran?

    Tazeen Akhtar
    Foreign Minister of Iran, HE Amir Abdollahian visited Pakistan after unfortunate incidents of cross border attacks and murder of 9 Pakistanis in Iran. He called on Prime Minister Caretaker Anwaar ul Haq Kakar, FM Jalil Abbas and General Syed Asim Munir, NI (M) Chief of Army Staff separately on 29th Jan 2024. He was invited by Pakistani counterpart in connection with normalization of relations and return of ambassadors to their respective places in Tehran and Islamabad.
    Irani FM’s visit to Islamabad has further paved the way toward complete restoration of bilateral cooperation but in the meanwhile the murder of Pakistanis in Iran has again raised questions about how long the normalization will sustain? Pakistanis were murdered after the normalization was started already. 2 among the murdered were brothers. They belonged to Muzaffar Garh and Lodhran districts of south Punjab.
    Caretaker Prime Minister, Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar underscoring the close relations  reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to further consolidate bilateral ties.He also emphasized the need to address common challenges through collaborative and cooperative approaches, rooted in the respect for international law and the principles of the UN Charter, in particular, territorial integrity and sovereignty of both Pakistan and Iran.
    The Prime Minister conveyed his warm sentiments for President Ebrahim Raisi and extended an invitation to President Raisi to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience.

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    In meeting with Army Chief ,realizing the historical, religious and cultural ties that bind Pakistan and Iran, both sides emphasized on strengthening bilateral ties and fostering greater understanding of each other’s concerns.
    COAS underscored the centrality of respecting the other state’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, calling it sacrosanct, inviolable and the most important cardinal of state-to-state relationship.
    The two sides observed that terrorism was common threat that needed to be tackled through collaborative efforts, better coordination and intelligence sharing.
    COAS emphasized the need for sustained engagement and utilizing available communication channels to address security concerns.
    Both sides agreed to operationalize the mechanism of deployment of military liaison officers in each other’s country at an early date to improve coordination and efficiency of response against common threats.
     Both sides reaffirmed the resolve to remain closely engaged and not allow any spoilers to drive a wedge between the brotherly nations. Pakistan and Iran are fraternal neighbours and the destiny of both nations are intertwined.
    Both sides reiterated their commitment to peace, stability and prosperity in the border region which was identified as an indispensable requirement for the well-being of people living on both sides.

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    Meeting between the Foreign Ministers of Pakistan and Iran
    In meeting of both FMs, senior officials from both sides were present.Underscoring the brotherly relations between Pakistan and Iran, Foreign Minister Jilani reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to deepen and broaden the existing wide-ranging cooperation with Iran.
    The Foreign Minister underlined the imperative for collective and collaborative approaches to confront terrorism that posed a common challenge to both Pakistan and Iran. He stressed that robust institutional mechanisms between the two countries on security cooperation should be fully leveraged.
    The two Foreign Ministers agreed to immediately appoint liaison officers in Turbat and Zahidan to further strengthen ongoing security and intelligence cooperation.
    Noting that security and development are intrinsically interlinked, the two Foreign Ministers agreed to expand initiatives for economic and development cooperation including through early operationalization of the joint border markets to uplift the socio-economic status of the people of both countries, especially those residing in the border regions.
    The two sides also decided to establish a Joint Coordination Mechanism at the level of Foreign Ministers to oversee and steer progress on common agenda for prosperity and development of the two peoples.
    Regular high-level engagements provide a leadership driven impetus to the bilateral relations between Pakistan and Iran. In this backdrop, the Foreign Minister renewed invitation to honourable President of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi to undertake a visit to Pakistan.
    Both countries already have military attaches at the capitals while a system is already working on border areas. The trade trucks from Iran were crossing border into Pakistan even after two three days when the cross border attacks were conducted. Security and intelligence network is already working on both sides. The terrorists are still at large and dozens of Pakistani soldiers had to sacrifice their lives in the same areas in last few months only. Lets see what betterment can be achieved with appointment of some more officials only.
    The murder of Pakistanis in Iran clearly demonstrates presence of terrorists in Iran. The murder after the normalization started shows there are elements on Irani side that are not happy on de-escalation between two countries.

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    Another point to be noted is , there was nothing on the murder of Pakistanis in any press release issued from the government side regarding meetings of Irani FM. Apparently , this matter has not been addressed. If it has been discussed , the details should be shared with press. Otherwise , people are justified to conclude that nothing will happen on the cold blooded murder of Pakistanis. The culprits will never be arrested and punished.
    May be Pakistan is giving concessions to Iran on murder of Pakistanis for the sake of bilateral relations. In that case , the families of the murdered and people of Pakistan will be disappointed. This should be a test case to be settled by both states for the safety and security on both sides. The anti state elements can exploit this situation against Pak Iran Relations as well as against the Irani citizens.
    Another question for Pakistani side is about the needs of the public of Pakistan. This visit of Irani FM remained focused on security only and nothing could be heard about the import of electricity, fuel gas and petrol from Iran.
    Highly inflated bills and multiplied taxes with charging the price again and again after the months of consumption and payment have exhausted the people of Pakistan. Electricity, Fuel Gas and Petroleum from Iran can bring the prices down and an end to load shedding of these daily commodities but unfortunately it was not on the agenda. People of Pakistan are justified to ask the what this normalization brings for them ?

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