By: Kayhan Int’l Staff Writer
Pakistan’s Prime Minister made an auspicious start to his first ever formal visit to the Islamic Republic as the Executive Head of his country by opening his account with Iran with a spectacular "Six” when he landed in holy Mashhad on Sunday and straightaway paid his respects at the sacred shrine of Imam Reza (AS) – the 8th Infallible Heir of Prophet Muhammad (AS) – and that too on the blessed 15th of Sha’ban, which both Shi’a and Sunni Muslims mark as the birthday of the Awaited Saviour of mankind, Imam Mahdi (AS) – may God hasten his reappearance to rid Planet Earth with all vestiges of oppression and corruption through establishment of the global government of peace, prosperity and justice.
Imran Khan then stroked a scintillating cover drive to score "Four” more the next day in Tehran when he announced formation of a joint Iran-Pakistan anti-terrorism border force to weed out terrorists during talks with his host, President Hassan Rouhani.
Next he showed his prowess as an all-rounder on the political pitch as well when he discussed at the two countries’ joint chamber of commerc, Pakistan’s purchase of gas, petroleum, electricity and various other goods from Iran thereby dismantling the sanctions castle of the US president, "lock, stock and barrel” with a fast-paced "Yorker” that has caught Donald Trump and his team of thugs on the wrong foot.
His brilliant captaincy of the national cricket team that had brought many laurels for Pakistan including the One-Day International World Cup, now faces an acid test in the diplomatic corridors of Islamabad as the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, granted Imran Khan and his delegation an audience, where he provided valuable guidelines for fair play in the political arena, without the least concern for the state terrorism of the US, which frequently targets Pakistan.
Holy Mashhad hosts at least 400,000 Pakistani pilgrims every year, and Imran Khan, who humbly prayed at the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS) like any other ordinary pilgrim, expressed gratitude for the local government of Khorasan for excellent facilities provided to visitors from Pakistan.
He said the guiding light for his government are the principles on which the Prophet of Islam established his state of social justice in Medina – which reached its pinnacle in Kufa, Iraq during the 4-year model government of Imam Ali ibn Abi Tale (AS).
He said Pakistanis can never forget that Iran always stood with Pakistan in
Pakistan’s relations with Iran are marked by close historic and cultural linkages and strong people-to-people exchanges. Both countries are also members of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
According to Rouhani, he and his guest agreed on the need for both sides to expand joint efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan. He also said Tehran was interested in expanding trade between Iran’s Chabahar and Pakistan’s Gawader ports by connecting them with a railway.
The Iranian president noted that Iran, Turkey and Pakistan as co-founders of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) could increase economic cooperation by connecting their railway systems. This, he said, would open a corridor from Europe to China.
Other security issues discussed in the meeting included US President Donald Trump’s recent attempt to label the famed humanitarian defence organisation, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), as ‘terrorist’ and his mischievous endorsement Israel’s illegal annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights
Addressing reports about Saudi and US pressure on Pakistan to join an Arab-Israeli front against Islamic Iran in the region, Rouhani said Imran Khan had assured him that Pakistan "has never joined and will never join any coalition.”
All said, it would be interesting how Imran Khan bats or bowls without resorting to stone-walling tactics against neighbouring Iran.