ISLAMABAD - Iranian President Hasan Rouhani will lead a high level delegation to Pakistan this month to strengthen bilateral relations, diplomatic sources said yesterday.

Sources told The Nation that the visit of President Rouhani has been agreed and dates are being finalised. This visit will be undertaken in the current month (March). He will be leading a high level delegation that also includes senior military officials.

According to the sources, the visit was due for quite some time but gained momentum after the visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Iran in January. Government sources said the forthcoming visit of the Iranian President would help boost bilateral cooperation between the two countries in various fields.

Apart from economic cooperation, trade and investment in energy and petrochemical sectors remain high priority for the two countries.

Pakistan has already terminated the UN sanctions on Iran last month and accordingly, inter alia, the following transactions have been lifted by Pakistan including transfers of funds between Pakistani persons and entities, including financial institutions, and Iranian persons and entities, including financial institutions.

With lifting of the sanctions, the banking sector will get boost including the establishment of new correspondent banking relationships and the opening of new branches and subsidiaries of Iranian banks in the territory of Pakistan.

Similarly, the insurance sector will also get boost with the provision of insurance and reinsurance facilities to Iranian persons and entities.

Supply of specialised financial messaging services, including SWIFT CODE, for persons and entities not specified in attached list, including the Central Bank of Iran and Iranian financial institutions.

With departure of the UN sanctions, the financial support for trade with Iran (including export credit, guarantees or insurance) will increase with reciprocal commitments for grants, financial and technical assistance and concessional loans between the Government of Pakistan and the Government of Iran.

Iranian persons and entities will now be able to invest in funds in public or public-guaranteed bonds.

Pakistan will now be able to carry out import, transport, trans-shipment, etc of Iranian oil, petroleum products, gas and petrochemical products, import and export of key equipment or technology for the oil, gas and petrochemical sectors, investment in the oil, gas and petrochemical sectors. Both countries will now be able to ink bilateral air service agreements, deal in import and export of gold, precious metals and diamonds.

Bilateral development and investment in energy sector of Iran for supply of gas and electricity to Pakistan and any other commercial activity with Iran or individuals and entities not prohibited by annex b of the resolution as relating to nuclear proliferation, ballistic missile, sale and supply of conventional weaponry and other similar activity. Analysts and experts are attaching more significance to the visit of Iranian president. They believe that the visit of President Rouhani would add new dimensions to the bilateral relations between Iran and Pakistan.