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July 19, 2019

Pakistan, Iran agree on border fencing

National

July 19, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Iran have decided to manage more than 900km common border some of the ‘appropriate’ measures included physical installations such as fencing.

This was decided in a meeting held at the Foreign Office Thursday. Pakistan has already unilaterally fenced off a large portion of its common border with Afghanistan while India has fenced off most of the Line of Control (LoC).

Pakistan describes the border “as a border of peace and friendship”. Both countries reaffirmed their commitment to expedite opening new border crossing points with mutual understanding.

The Second Session of Pakistan-Iran Higher Border Commission (HBC) was held at the Foreign Office in which Pakistan’s delegation was led by Director General (Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey) Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry, and Iranian delegation led by Director General of International Legal Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abbas Bagherpour Ardekani.

The Foreign Office in a statement pointed out that HBC is a mechanism for consultations between the two countries to discuss all border related issues for enhanced coordination at different levels.

The first session of the Commission was held in Tehran on 17 July 2017. The second session on Thursday was held in follow up of the decision taken by the leadership of the two countries during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Iran in April this year.

There have been tensions between Tehran and Islamabad over incidents at the Pak-Iran border which has seen not only non-state actors entering Iran to abduct and harm Iranian security officials. Though Pakistan has investigated and recovered some Iranian border security guards, but some still remain untraced which has seen the Iranian foreign minister to visit Pakistan and demand an end to these abductions.

Smuggling is also a common occurrence resulting in loss of revenues to the government. Both parties emphasised the necessity of updating border maps and border pillar descriptions and carrying out joint border surveys. “During the Session, the two sides held constructive discussions for effective implementation of existing border mechanisms within the relevant frameworks including agreement for administration of Pakistan-Iran border of 1960. They agreed to further strengthen mutual cooperation in these areas”, the Foreign Office said in a statement. Pakistan says that it enjoys brotherly relations with Iran which are deep rooted in historical, religious, cultural ties and strong people-to-people contacts.

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