ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Wednesday called for further strengthening of   bilateral cooperation with Iran for mutual benefit saying both the neighbouring countries enjoy close and cordial relations.

“There is a need for enhanced bilateral cooperation with special emphasis on bilateral trade and economic relations,” said Prime Minister Imran Khan when Iranian Foreign Minister Dr. Javad Zarif called on him here.

On the occasion, they agreed to make joint efforts for peace and stability in the region and Afghanistan. Highlighting Pakistan’s efforts towards facilitating peace and stability in Afghanistan, the prime minister said there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict.

He reaffirmed Pakistan’s support for Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process and hoped that this historic opportunity would be seized by all Afghan parties to secure a political settlement.

Imran Khan further said that that peace in Afghanistan would be beneficial for the entire region as it would create new opportunities for trade and economic cooperation as well as regional connectivity.

He also reaffirmed Iran’s steadfast support for the Kashmir cause.

Earlier, the Iranian minister called on Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.

Their one-on-one meeting was followed by delegation-level talks.

On the occasion, Foreign Minister Qureshi underscored the importance Pakistan attaches to its relations with Iran as a fraternal country and important neighbour.

“The two foreign ministers reviewed all aspects of bilateral relations and exchanged views on regional and international issues,” said an official statement.

The foreign minister emphasized the importance of optimally utilizing the existing bilateral mechanisms to increase cooperation in the areas of trade, investment, connectivity, security and people-to-people exchanges and to strengthen mutual collaboration in multilateral fora. In this regard, he underlined the need for regular interactions at multiple levels.

On Afghanistan, the foreign minister underlined that peace in Afghanistan was paramount for sustainable stability and prosperity in the region.

Reaffirming Pakistan’s support for Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, Foreign Minister Qureshi highlighted Pakistan’s positive contributions.

He added that the intra-Afghan negotiations offered a historic opportunity which all sides must seize to secure an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement.

“The two sides agreed on close coordination to support efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan,” the statement added.

Foreign Minister Qureshi apprised Dr Javad Zarif of the worsening humanitarian and human rights situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

He also highlighted India’s illegal actions to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory.

The two Foreign Ministers exchanged views on the rising Islamophobia in different parts of the world and agreed to undertake efforts to counter this negative trend.

They exchanged views on bilateral relations, promotion of bilateral cooperation in diverse fields, and the coronavirus pandemic. They also discussed better border management, promotion of mutual contacts, and provision of better facilities to the Zaireen (devotees).

On the occasion, Qureshi said Pakistan and Iran can benefit from regional and other important forums for promotion of cooperation in bilateral trade, investment, security and other areas of mutual interest.

Earlier, delegations level talks between Pakistan and Iran were held in Islamabad. The Pakistani delegation was led by Foreign Minister Qureshi while the Iranian side was headed by Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

The two sides discussed the opportunities for bilateral cooperation in diverse fields and strengthening of contacts between the two counties.

The Iranian Foreign Minister along with Qureshi also cut the cake of birth anniversary of Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal.