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Iran Press TV

Eyeing closer ties, Pakistan's new premier invites President Raeisi to Islamabad

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 19 April 2022 10:09 AM

Pakistan's newly-appointed Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has invited Iran's President Ebrahim Raeisi on an official visit to Pakistan, hoping to establish closer relations with Tehran.

In a tweet on Monday, Pakistan's embassy in Tehran said Sharif has thanked President Raeisi for his congratulatory message on his election.

"He hoped that they will work together to enhance close ties between the two countries & also extended an invitation to Mr. Raeisi to visit Pakistan," it said.

In an earlier message, Raeisi offered his congratulation to the Pakistani prime minister, expressing readiness to boost bilateral relations in all fields, hoping to reach a desirable level of cooperation.

Pakistan is one of Iran's most important neighbors hoping for stronger trade ties with Tehran, whose ties with other countries have been severely undermined under brutal US sanctions.

Back in January, the Pakistani parliament voiced its dissatisfaction over the low level of trade relations between Tehran and Islamabad, with lawmakers criticizing the government for its inaction in circumventing the sanctions to boost bilateral trade ties.

According to a report by the Express Tribune, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Commerce in Pakistan's National Assembly Naveed Qamar had demanded explanations from senior trade officials in the country about why trade ties with Iran were extremely low.

Pakistan, with its large consumer market, holds immense potential for trade with regional countries, particularly Iran. The two countries, in an attempt to remove obstacles in the path of bilateral trade and investment, have stepped up efforts to tap the vast potential that exists between them.

Last September, during the ninth joint trade committee meeting between Iran and Pakistan in Tehran, the two sides agreed to revive the stalled talks on the free trade agreement and raise the volume of annual trade from less than $1 billion to $5 billion by 2023.

Iran and Pakistan, sharing borders in Iran's southeast, have also collaborated to ensure and improve security along common borders. The two countries have agreed to improve security along common borders and made great efforts to create border barriers, control border traffic, fight drugs smuggling and human trafficking, and combat other factors causing insecurity at borders.

Sharif's Cabinet takes oath

Meanwhile, Sharif's 34-member Cabinet, made up of allied political parties, was sworn in on Tuesday, state television reported.

The portfolios for the cabinet members have not yet been announced.

The ceremony was scheduled for Monday, but media reports said President Arif Alvi refused to administer the oath to the legislators, compelling the government to postpone it.

Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani administered the oath to new ministers after President Arif Alvi excused himself from attending the ceremony.

The swearing-in comes a week after parliament elected Sharif to replace Imran Khan, who was removed through a no-confidence vote on April 9.

In protest, Khan said he was the subject of a "foreign conspiracy" aimed at dislodging his government and that funding was being channeled into Pakistan from abroad - making a clear reference to the United States.

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