Dahmardeh, Owais resolve to adopt effective measures to combat terrorism, drug trafficking
By Muhammad Ejaz Khan
QUETTA: The governors of Iranian Seistan-Baluchistan province and Pakistan’s Balochistan have reiterated their resolve to adopt effective measures to combat terrorism, drug trafficking and illegal movement on the Pak-Iran border.
They have agreed to strengthen the bilateral cooperation in different sectors, including trade, commerce, energy, education, communications, besides addressing the border-related issues.
The visiting governor-general of Seistan-Baluchistan, Dr Habibullah Dahmardeh, held talks with Balochistan Governor Owais Ghani at the Governor House here on Friday.
The talks covered all the areas of bilateral cooperation, especially the bilateral trade promotion by resolving the problems faced by the traders of the two countries and extending them more facilities and incentives.
The proposals for launching an air service between Quetta and Zahidan and a ferry service between Gwadar and Chah Bahar port were also discussed. To this effect, the two governors agreed to more discussion on the proposals by the authorities concerned of the two sides in Tehran in August.
The two governors resolved to increase the bilateral trade via Balochistan to Rs 60 billion ($1 billion) in near future. They noted that the volume of the trade via Balochistan-Seistan-Baluchistan border was Rs 7.5 billion a couple of years ago, but had doubled in 2005-06 to Rs 16 billion.
Governor Ghani informed the Iranian delegation that the Pakistan government had identified 463 items for exports to Iran under preferential trade tariff while Iran had proposed some 400 items for export to Pakistan with certain tax and customs duty exemptions.
He said the number of trade facilitation centres on the Pak-Iran border would be increased to boost the bilateral trade. He added that the communication system would also be improved in future.
Ghani praised Dahmardeh’s key role in resolving the issue of the Pakistani Consulate in Zahidan, which was subjected to a 100-year-old litigation.
Dahmardeh said that Pakistan and Iran could go a long way in improving their bilateral relations in different sectors, especially in trade and border security issues. He said that Iran wanted peace, development and prosperity in Pakistan and that his country would extend all sorts of cooperation in this regard.
At a joint press conference, Dahmardeh said that all the issues regarding smuggling and border security should be resolved through mutual cooperation and understanding.
He referred to the construction of a wall along the border in Taftan, saying: “It is just meant to prevent smuggling, drug trafficking and illegal movement of the miscreants.” He added that different points would be established on the border for the legal trade activities.
Dahmardeh said terrorism needs to be addressed in the world perspective. “The two countries should not give terrorists a free hand rather combat the issue with unity.”
APP adds: Dahmardeh reiterated his government’s intentions to extend all kinds of support and cooperation to Pakistan in gas, electricity, railways, highways, universities and higher education. He suggested refurbishment of the weak and old railway track between Zahidan and Quetta for the speedy movement of goods between the two neighbouring countries.
This would increase the quantum of bilateral trade between the countries. Besides, he added, trade between Gwadar and Chah Behar ports should also be introduced.
Dehmarde further offered cooperation and joint venture between the two countries in mining and mineral development sector.