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Pakistan-Iran agree to set up Joint Rapid Reaction Force to fight terrorism

Lahore : Pakistan and Iran on Monday agreed to
boost security cooperation and set up a Joint Rapid Reaction Force to
fight terrorism and guard the common border between the two countries.

Leadership of both the countries also agreed to further strengthen
bilateral trade and economic ties.

Prime Minister Imran Khan while speaking at a joint press conference
with the Iranain President Hassan Rauhani said both the countries
would not allow terrorists activities from each other sides and
security chiefs of the two countries would set to discuss ways of
cooperation.

The prime minister expressed the hope that this would build confidence
between the two countries to reach the conclusion that they would not
allow their soils to be used against each other.

“This government in Pakistan for the first time is dismantling any
militant group in the country and this is not done from any outside
pressure, it is a decision made through consensus across the political
spectrum that we will not allow our soil to be used by anyone against
anyone, “ the prime minister said.

 In the last 12 to 13 years Pakistan had suffered a lot from terrorism
where 70,000 of our people lost their lives in terrorists activities.
“ We are much lucky than Afghanistan which despite NATO’s strength and
Afghan security forces could not tackle militancy as Pakistan did.”

Prime Minister Imran Khan, along with a delegation was on his maiden
two-day official visit of Iran, at the invitation of Iranian President
Hassan Rouhani, to strengthen bilateral and commercial relations.

He said few days back 14 of Pakistan security personnel were killed by
terrorists in Urmara, Balochistan, adding that he knew Iran had also
suffered from terrorism.

Imran Khan said that four decades of war in Afghanistan had affected
both Pakistan and Iran, adding peace in Afghanistan was in the
interest of both the countries.

“We will cooperate with each other in helping political settlement of
Afghan issue as peace in the war torn country will help both Pakistan
and Iran,” Prime Minister Imran Khan said once there was peace, there
would be trade in the region and it would bring prosperity to its
people.

About the Palestine issue, the prime minister said a great
amount of injustice was being done to the Palestinians. The illegal
occupation of Golan Heights by Israel, making Jerusalem its capital
and violating the international law would lead to further uncertainty
in the Middle East.

Similarly, he said, the United Nations Security Council Resolution
about Kashmir clearly says that the people of Kashmir shall be allowed
to decide their own destiny. However,  unfortunately in the last 30
years the brute Indian forces were oppressing the Kashmiris.

He said over 70,000 people had been killed by the Indian
occupation forces in held valley. The only way was dialogue and
political settlement and not the use of force.

Once the Kashmir issue was settled, the whole
Sub-continent would move forward, the prime minister said. Iran and
the entire region would also benefit from it, he added.    He said
only justice would bring peace in the region and not the use of force.

The prime minister said his visit would be certainly a
turning point to further strengthen bilateral relations between
Pakistan and Iran. He also extended invitation to President Rouhani to visit
Pakistan which the latter accepted.

Imran Khan said in 1972 he saw a big difference between
the rich and the poor in Iran but since yesterday he had seen that
Iran had become a very egalitarian society and all that was possible
due to the Iranian Revolution.

The revolution he wanted to bring in New Pakistan was to
end the difference between the rich and the poor, he added.

Earlier, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran was determined to
strengthen bilateral ties with Pakistan and no third country could
harm their brotherly relations.

He said during his talks with Prime Minister Imran Khan,
they discussed border security and agreed that any group, which was
involved in inhuman activities, would be treated as terrorist.

            He said both the countries were also agreed to share
intelligence cooperation in border areas and to set up a Joint Rapid
Reaction Force to fight terrorism and guard the common border.

            Rouhani said the two sides were agreed to expand trade and
commercial ties, and take necessary measures to connect gas pipeline
to Pakistan. Iran was ready to increase electricity export to Pakistan
tenfold, he added.

He said import and export balance could be ensured as both
the sides had agreed  to set up a Barter Committee to exchange goods
by the two countries.

The Iranian President said Chabahar and Gwadar ports
would be connected through railways network to benefit the people of
the two countries.

He said both the sides discussed bilateral, regional and
international issues, and peace and security in Afghanistan.

He said they also discussed that Iran, Pakistan and Turkey
were founders of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and they
were keen to revive railways line from Istanbul to Islamabad so that
Europe could be connected with China through Iran and Turkey.

Earlier, Pakistan and Iran signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU)
to cooperate in the health sector. The MoU was signed by Special
Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza and Iranian
Health Minister Dr Saeed Mamaki. Prime Minister Imran Khan and Iranian
President Hassan Rouhani  witnessed the signing ceremony.

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