Pakistan PM leaves for official visit to Iran

The two sides will discuss the regional situation and other matters of mutual interest during Gilani`s visit.

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Sunday left for an official visit to Tehran to hold
talks with the Iranian leadership to strengthen bilateral
relations and cooperation in diverse fields.

The two sides will also discuss the regional situation
and other matters of mutual interest during Gilani`s visit,
officials said.

The premier`s entourage includes Foreign Minister Hina
Rabbani Khar and Textiles Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin.
Before his departure, Gilani told reporters at Chaklala
airbase that his visit was aimed at strengthening ties with
Iran, with special focus on enhanced cooperation in
infrastructure and energy.

He said that during the talks with Iranian leadership,
his focus will be on expediting the Iran-Pakistan gas
pipeline, a project for importing 1000 MW of electricity from
Iran and the development of rail and road links for enhanced
regional connectivity.

Gilani described the launching of the Islamabad-Istanbul
freight train service in 2009 as a milestone in regional
connectivity and said it would lead to the integration of
Pakistan`s railway tracks with the region`s networks and open
up a trade corridor between Europe and Central Asia.

Since Pakistan has already proposed the opening of a
consulate at Bandar Abbas to the Iranian government, this
issue will figure during meetings with the Iranian leadership,
he said.

Responding to a question about the situation in
Afghanistan, Gilani said Pakistan desires a stable, peaceful
and independent Afghanistan as peace and stability in that
country is in its interest.

He said his visit will provide an opportunity to discuss
with the Iranian leadership the regional situation, with
particular reference to peace in Afghanistan.