02.05.2024 Author: Abbas Hashemite

Analyzing the Significance of the Iranian President’s Visit to Pakistan Amidst Geopolitical Tensions

Analyzing the Significance of the Iranian President's Visit to Pakistan Amidst Geopolitical Tensions

The visit of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to Pakistan, days after the Israeli attack on Iran, holds immense significance for multiple reasons. Iran is considered the strongest rival of Israel in the Middle East. However, Israel’s aid by regional countries in neutralizing Iranian missiles and drones fired by Iran posits that Iran does not enjoy significant relations with the regional countries. Four months back, Iran also attacked Pakistan. Nonetheless, both sides agreed to resolve the issue peacefully after the latter’s retaliation. Pakistan is also one of the few countries in the world that does not accept Israel as a legitimate state. The founding father of Pakistan Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah opposed the creation of Israel and labelled it as an illegitimate state. Moreover, Pakistan is the only Muslim nuclear power in the world and the West has always seen its nuclear program through the lens of religion. Therefore, Iran finds Pakistan one of the best regional allies against Israel and its allies.

Iran and Pakistan enjoy deep-rooted historic relations. Iran was the first country to recognize the independence of Pakistan. Similarly, the latter was the first country in the world to recognize the legitimacy of the Iranian revolution. Both sides have religious affinities as well. Iran is one of the few Shia-majority countries in the world. Pakistan also holds a significant amount of Shia population. Therefore, the religious bond between the two sides is also strong. Religious tourism from Pakistan to Iran provides an opportunity for people to people contact. Both countries also revere each other’s historic leadership. On the maiden visit of the Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Pakistan renamed the 11th Avenue in Islamabad as Iran Avenue as a goodwill gesture. Iran has already named a highway in Tehran named after the founding father of Pakistan, Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Pakistan’s national poet Allama Iqbal is also revered in Iran for this exemplary poetic work in Persian. Universities in Iran maintain Iqbal chairs, which demonstrate their reverence for Allama Iqbal. This marks the sincerity and will of both sides to enhance cooperation and cordial ties with each other.

Cultural and traditional similarities also bolster the relationship between the two sides. Hospitality style, family norms, cuisines, and dresses are also similar on the two sides. A huge number of doctors in Iran are qualified from Pakistan and are fluent in Urdu. Both sides share a border of 909 kilometers. Baluch ethnicity lives on both sides of the border. Cross-border marriages among the Baluch people are common. Moreover, cross-border trade is also a common practice. Pakistani rice, oranges, and mangoes are cherished in Iran. Likewise, many Iranian products are also preferred in Pakistan. However, border clashes between the two sides are also common due to the presence of terrorist outfits on each side. These terrorist organizations regularly conduct terrorist attacks on the other side of the border to destroy peace and stability between the sides. A foreign hand behind these organizations is also reported by the two governments. Recently, Pakistan decided to revive the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline. This gas pipeline project and border management issues were among the top agendas of the recent visit of the Iranian President to Pakistan. Both sides also seek to diversify their trade relations. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi stated to the Pakistani Prime Minister that the two sides need to increase their bilateral trade by at least up to 10 billion USD. Due to the stagnant economy, Pakistan seeks to diversify its trade relations with the neighboring countries. Recently, a Senior Pakistani politician of the government party hinted that the government is mulling to resume trade with India. But Pakistan-India trade is impossible under current geopolitical scenarios. Therefore, Iran is considered a great option for Pakistan to increase its trade. However, the United States is hostile to the revival of the gas pipeline or increasing trade between the two sides. The US State Department warned Pakistan of “the potential risk of sanctions” if it considered doing business with Iran. Despite warnings from the US, both sides signed 8 MoUs to bolster cooperation in different sectors including trade, politics, culture, and economy.

There is a growing suspicion around the world that the United States uses terrorist organizations against its rivals, as it did in the recent Crocus City Hall attack. There is an alleged role of the United States behind rising attacks on the Chinese engineers on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). There are chances that the United States use the terrorist outfits, present in the bordering areas of Pakistan and Iran, to sabotage the cooperation on both sides and to hamper any development on the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project. Iran is already suffering from the US sanctions, and Pakistan is relentlessly dependent on the US-sponsored Western institutions to support its grappling economy. Therefore, the US can pressure Pakistan to sever ties with Iran. However, these increased sanctions and limitations by the United States are only hastening the decline of the US hegemony in the world and is further strengthening the influence of Russia and China over the developing world. Pakistan needs to shun the US pressure to pursue its goal of shifting towards geoeconomics and to follow an independent foreign policy. BRICS provides a great opportunity for both the South Asian nations to fulfill their economic and political need without relying on the Western Institutions.


Abbas Hashemite – is a political observer and research analyst for regional and global geopolitical issues. He is currently working as an independent researcher and journalist, exclusively for “New Eastern Outlook”.

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