Imran Khan Calls For Closer Iran-Pakistan Cooperation Against Terrorism

"We agreed to step up security cooperation between the two countries and to form a joint rapid reaction force on the shared borders to fight terrorism", Rouhani was quoted as saying by the state TV.

The trip comes as some Iranian officials have recently criticized Pakistan for providing shelter for the terrorists attacking the Iranian border guards.

In February 2019, a suicide bomber targeted a bus carrying Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps members in southeastern Iran, killing 27 and wounding another 13. The Army of Justice claimed responsibility. "Pakistan awaits Iran's response to its request for action against the groups based in Iran, whose locations have been identified by Pakistan a number of times", the Foreign Office said in a protest letter to Iran. The attack took place in Gwadar district in the sparsely populated largest Pakistani province of Baluchistan.

"In the current state, the independent countries in the region must stand together like Iran and Pakistan and plan and act based on the stability and security of the region", Rouhani added.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday that he would not hesitate to make more changes to his cabinet if required a day after a major reshuffle that saw the appointment of a new finance minister and nine other ministerial switches.

The relationship between Pakistan and Iran has often been strained by incidents of cross-border militant action.

The US has exerted extensive pressure on Iran's neighbors, including Pakistan, to cut energy ties with Tehran.

"We have authentic information about the Baloch terrorists groups who have their training camps and hideouts in border areas of Iran near Pakistan border which they are using against Pakistan", Shah Mahmood Qureshi said at a press conference, aired by state-run PTV News.

In a statement, Saifullah Nyazee termed the prime minister's visit to Iran significant in mobilising bilateral ties between the two Countries.

Iranian authorities have yet to comment on the development.

"Pakistan has maintained a delicate balance in relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran", said the analyst.

Irrespective of the fact that Iran is facing sanctions and Pakistan is also going through a hard period, the two countries should start developing bilateral trade, he said, and told the business community that only 10 percent of rice is exported directly from Pakistan and the rest is done indirectly.

"We could not sleep, work and live there because of mortars and rockets fired into our villages, so we left our homes for peace", said a former resident of Garbun, in Kech district, who moved to Turbat, the district capital.

  • Jon Douglas