Gen Bajwa in Iran on official visit

Islamabad –  Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Sunday left for Iran on an official visit.

According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj-Genl Asif Ghafoor, the army chief will meet Iran’s civilian and military leadership during the visit.

On October 31, Iranian Ambassador Mehdi Honardoost called on Gen Bajwa at the General Headquarters and they discussed regional security, Pakistan-Iran border management, visits and exchanges in the defence realm.

“The visiting dignitary acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan Army’s contributions for peace and stability in the region and pledged to keep working for better relations between two brotherly countries,” the ISPR had said in a statement after the meeting.

Analysts are attaching great significance to the visit of the army chief as part of Pakistan’s efforts to ensure a delicate balance in its ties with Saudi Arabia and Iran.

They said that the army chief’s visit to Iran comes just weeks after Gen Qamar paid a quiet visit to Saudi Arabia.

This visit was followed by a visit of Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif and Chief of General Staff Lt-Gen Bilal Akbar to Saudi Arabia to attended a day-long conference last Sunday. Interestingly, no official statement was issued either by the Foreign Office or the ISPR about the visit.

The visit of the army chief to Tehran is also seen as important in the context of the current regional security situation. Since the US President Donal Trump administration unveiled a new strategy for Afghanistan, Pakistan is reaching out to its neighbours including Iran.

Islamabad is apparently pushing for a regional solution to the 16-year-long conflict in Afghanistan. Iran along with China, Russia and Turkey issued statements in favour of Pakistan after Trump accused Islamabad of playing a double game in the fight against terrorism.

Tehran shares Islamabad’s perspective on Afghanistan and believes a dialogue process is a key to establishing a lasting peace in the war-torn country.

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