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Iran president arrives on a two-day visit to Pakistan

Hassan Rouhani

Islamabad : Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived here today on a landmark visit for talks with Pakistani leadership on improving relations and clinching key economic deals including the construction of a gas pipeline.

Rouhani, who is here on his maiden visit, will meet President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tomorrow and will discuss cooperation on regional and international issues of mutual concern.

The two-day visit has assumed significance after lifting of sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme. The withdrawal of sanctions has opened new avenues for enhancing bilateral economic interaction.

The Iranian leader is accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising ministers, senior officials and businessmen showing his keenness to deepen the ties.

The start of construction of multi-billion dollars Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and import of 3,000 MW of electricity from Iran are on the agenda, a Pakistani official said.

“The two sides will also discuss modalities to increase trade to 5 billion dollars in the coming years,” he said.

Apart from the economic cooperation, the two sides will discuss the regional security situation, with the emphasis on Saudi-led 34-nation coalition of Sunni countries to fight against terrorism, especially Islamic State.

Iran has been reportedly flustered by the move. The tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia in the wake of execution of a Shiite cleric by Saudi is another important issue which will be discussed. Sharif has been playing a role to defuse the tension.

Officials said that the situation of Afghanistan will also be discussed.

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