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

APP37-22 TEHRAN: April 22 – Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Hassan Rouhani holding joint press talk on Monday. APP

TEHRAN, Apr 22 (APP):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,” the prime minister said.

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 Chahbahar 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.