QUETTA: Pakistan and Iran have reiterated their resolve not to allow anyone to use their soil for terrorism against each other and agreed to launch joint efforts to make the border safe for increasing the volume of trade between the two countries.

This was resolved during a three-day meeting of the Pak-Iran Joint Border Commission which concluded here on Saturday.

Balochistan Chief Secretary Saifullah Chattah and Deputy Governor of the Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchestan, Ali Asghar Mirshekari, said that during the meeting the two sides inked memorandums of understanding (MoUs) on stopping border crossing by illegal immigrants, strengthening border security, jointly fighting against terrorism, curbing drug trafficking and discouraging illegal trade between them.

Efforts to be made for stopping illegal border crossing, strengthening border security and fighting terrorism
The MoUs were signed by Mr Chattah and the Iranian deputy governor, they said at a press conference.

The meeting decided to increase the volume of trade between Pakistan and Iran to over $5 billion by stopping smuggling, Mr Chattah said.

Oil smuggling from Iran to Pakistan would be curbed but the Iranian government would fulfil the requirement of the border areas of Balochistan, he said.

The meeting discussed different issues pertaining to border security, trade and terrorism, in a cordial atmosphere with each side understanding the point of view of the other, he said.

It was decided that at least five markets would be set up in the border areas of Balochistan — in Gabd (Gwadar), Taftan, Panjgur, Washuk and Mand — to boost bilateral trade.

Mr Chattah said the meeting approved a proposal about the laying of a railway track between Gwadar and the Iranian port city of Chabahar. “Survey on the project will start soon.”

He said the two countries had decided to increase patrolling in areas along their border.

In response to a question, he said there was no suggestion to erect a wall at the border. “We are opening borders with Iran through establishing border markets and providing other facilities instead of erecting walls.”

The Iranian official said the successful meeting had provided an opportunity to the two sides to discuss important issues. The two sides agreed to increase coordination to enhance bilateral ties and boost trade.

Many issues pending between the two countries were also discussed in detail and decisions were taken with mutual agreement to resolve them, he said.

“Linking Gwadar to Chabahar through railway line will provide Pakistan (an easy) access to Europe for trade,” Mr Mirshekari said, adding that Iran would help in providing electricity to the border areas of Balochistan.

He said the situation in the border areas was quite normal. “We (Pakistan and Iran) have 900km border with each other and people living on both sides are its guards.”

Mr Mirshekari said the enemies who had tried to pit the two countries against each other had failed in their nefarious designs.

It was also decided that the 20th meeting of the joint border commission would be held in Chabahar.