Shadow of Extra-Regional Determination over Tehran-Islamabad Relations

02 April 2013 | 15:59 Code : 1914487 Review General category
Summary of an essay by Masha’allah Shakeri, Iran’s former ambassador to Pakistan
Shadow of Extra-Regional Determination over Tehran-Islamabad Relations


Serious developments took place in Iran-Pakistan relations in the last year. Of course, these developments were neither unexpected nor surprising. Last year we had great achievements. In the political sphere, our cooperation with Pakistan still continued. The heads of both countries repeatedly visited the other country. A security agreement was signed between Iran and Pakistan. In the area of controlling drug trafficking, Iran, with the cooperation of Afghanistan and Pakistan, has been greatly successful. Cultural cooperation between the two countries has been going on. There have been considerable activities in the economic field but Iran’s most significant achievement was the execution of Iran’s gas transfer pipeline to Pakistan, known as the Peace pipeline. This project will have positive economic, security, and political impacts on our country.       

Today, relations between Iran and Pakistan have returned to normalcy. Of course, international circumstances have created certain obligations for Iran. They have also created obligations for Pakistan. But the Pakistanis are frustrated with having to provide all their needs from beyond their borders and the region and have reached the conclusion that not only do they not gain much from the other side but they are also sometimes damaged by them.  Therefore, under such conditions, the Pakistanis believe that they can benefit more from their neighboring country. That is why it has shown more seriousness in making its decisions and has managed its behavior to be more compatible with Iran’s expectations. Thus, we have been able to draw a win-win situation for both countries due to this closeness. For example, in the area of energy, Pakistan has been suffering from an energy crisis since many years ago, and none of the promises made by other countries to Pakistan have been fulfilled. At the present time, providing 21 million cubic meters of gas can feed Pakistan’s reactors well in order to increase its capacity to produce electricity.

Obstacles in Bilateral Relations

The only problem is the illegitimate extra-regional determination to intervene and destroy brotherly relations between Iran and Pakistan. The same illegitimate determination exists in other parts of the world as well. It seems that this is the biggest problem in bilateral relations. But in practice, numerous examples can be mentioned, including the tribal conflicts in Pakistan, the Shiite-Sunni disputes, border issues and the thugs who once caused great damages to our country, and some regional issues upon which agreements should be made. But the same illegitimate determination does not allow Iran and Pakistan to better get along with each other.

Prospect of Relations in the New Year

Pakistan’s election will be held on April 9th, the results of which will draw the formation of the federal and provincial governments. But, in general, if the train of developments moves on the same path, it does not seem that the politicians who would come to power in the future would have doubts about the continuation of relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, for Pakistan benefits greatly from Iran. Nevertheless, there are lost links in Iran-Pakistan relations which must be found. The issue of the pipeline connected the two countries but there are still other issues in the field of railways, roads, and commercial relations, upon which agreements have not yet been reached. Sea and shipping lines between the two countries have the capacity to become more developed. These connections can find new forms and relations can reach the optimum level.

Pakistan’s Domestic Developments

The cycle of political stability and domestic security in Pakistan are two sides of the same coin. These two can be the cause and effect of each other. Nevertheless, the pre-requisite of a sustainable and continuous democracy and political stability of a country is its security stability inside its borders. On the other hand, political stability can also help security stability.

Unfortunately, the reality of today’s situation in Pakistani society is security instability. This can be an obstacle in the continuation of political stability and might result in economic chaos. It means that it might have multi-dimensional impacts. The response to the question of whether the Pakistani officials have enough determination to control these insecurities can be given by future developments. But whether this situation would cause the army to once again be allowed to intervene in the political affairs of the country seems to be a more serious question today. It seems that the army is still not determined to control the situation.

tags: Pakistan security iran peace pipeline energy