Major developments in Pakistan Iran bilateral ties
Islamabad, March 30, IRNA -- The past Iranian year 1397 which ended on March 20 saw major developments in Iran-Pakistan ties and the relations between the two neighboring states improved in different fields.
Iran and Pakistan have been enjoying strong brotherly relations since the creation of Pakistan way back in 1947. Since then the two countries have always been supporting each other on world issues. The past Iranian year was no exception to this rule:
During the first month of the year, Farvardin, (March 21-April 20, 2018) Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) of Pakistan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Iran’s Tehran University in Islamabad to promote collaborative partnership in the educational fields. ****** In the same month the then Iranian cultural attaché in Islamabad Shahabeddin Daraei and the then Advisor to Pakistani prime minister on national history and literary heritage Irfan Siddiqui held a meeting and emphasized development of bilateral cultural cooperation. ****** In the month former Foreign Minister of Iran and Head of Strategic Council on Foreign Relations Seyed Kamal Kharazi visited Pakistan and delivered useful lectures at various think tanks on importance of Iran-Pakistan ties. He also met with former president of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari, the then governor of Pakistan’s southern Sindh province Muhammad Zubair and the then Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Lieutenant General (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua. ****** During Farvardin Pakistan’s ministry for foreign affairs hosted an event for the first time to celebrate the Norouz Festival with active participation of the embassy of Iran in Pakistan. ****** In the month Consulate General of Iran in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi organized a traditional Iranian food festival with a purpose of highlighting the Iranian culture and to celebrate the New Iranian Year. ****** In the same month the then Iran's Minister of Road and Urban Development Abbas Akhundi, heading a high-ranking delegation, paid a three-day official visit to Pakistan. He met senior Pakistani officials and also visited Karachi Port Trust (KPT) to explore avenues of cooperation with Pakistan. ****** In Ordibehesht (April 21-May 21) the then Governor of Khorasan Razavi Province Dr. Ali Raza Rasheedian visited Pakistan. He met with Managing Director, Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor to enhance cooperation between Iran and Pakistan in tourism sector. ****** Pakistan Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi visited Iran in Ordibehesht to represent Pakistan in the 6th Indian Ocean Naval Symposium. ****** In the same month Pakistan’s first-ever “Super Kabaddi League” (SKL) was held with the presence of Iranian players. ****** In the month Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost met with the then Chief Minister of Pakistan’s Punjab Province Shahbaz Sharif and discussed bilateral cooperation and international political situation. ****** In Ordibehesht, an Iranian delegation led by chairman of National Foreign Policy Committee Ardeshair Nourian visited Pakistan to attend a session of drafting committee of Speakers Conference in Islamabad. ****** In the same month two-day International Conference of News Agencies (ICNA) was held in Pakistan’s Islamabad. Fardin Pazouki, Director General, Foreign News Desk at Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) led the Iranian delegation in the conference. ****** In Khordad (May 22- June 21), Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost met with Chairman of Senate Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani. Both sides agreed to enhance parliamentary cooperation and exploit potential for increasing economic collaboration to boost bilateral ties. ****** In Khordad Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the then Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain met on the sidelines of 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) two-day summit meeting in the Chinese city of Qingdao. Rouhani during the meeting said Iran welcomes development of all-out relations with its brotherly and friendly neighbor, Pakistan. ****** In the same month Pakistan Navy Sea King helicopters successfully rescued crew members of an Iranian boat stuck in the North Arabian Sea (NAS) due to engine failure. ****** During the month Iranian and Pakistani surgeons performed seven successful liver transplants at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) of Pakistan in Karachi. ****** In Khordad Iranian Director of Asia and Pacific Center for Development of Disaster Information Management (APDIM) visited Pakistan to attend the 6th meeting of regional technical group of Disaster Management Confidence Building Measures (DM-CBM) of Heart of Asia, Istanbul Process in Islamabad. ****** In the same the then chief minister of Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province Abdul Quddus Bizenjo conferred medal of excellence on Iranian Consul General Mohammad Rafiee in Quetta for his efforts to enhance Iran-Pakistan ties in all fields especially the economic sector. ****** In Tir (June 22-July 22) Pakistan’s Under 19 volleyball team visited Tehran to participate in Asia-Pacific championship. ****** Former Chief of General Staff of Pakistan Lieutenant General Bilal Akbar visited Iran in Tir and held important meetings with Iran's Army Commander Brigadier General Abdolkarim Mousavi and Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Ground Force Mohammad Pakpour. ****** In the same month Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardost met with Acting Chairman of Pakistani Senate Saleem Mandviwalla to discuss bilateral ties. Saleem Mandviwalla on the occasion said that his country is keen to see rapid progress on the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project and the government should pursue the project as it is in the interest of the country. ****** In Tir Iranian Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri along with a high level delegation paid a three-day-long visit to Pakistan. He met with Pakistan Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the then President Mamnoon Hussain, and the then former Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Abdullah Hussain Haroon, Naval Chief Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat. He also paid a visit to Pakistan-Afghan Torkham border to examine border management mechanism between the two countries. ****** In Mordad (July 23- August 22) Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost met Pakistan Tekreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Chairman Imran Khan to congratulate him over his party’s victory in general elections of the country and said that Iran desires strong multi-dimensional ties with Pakistan. ****** In the same month President Hassan Rouhani phoned Prime Minister-designate and Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Imran Khan and said that relations between Iran and Pakistan are beyond normal level and both sides will spare no effort to further broaden their ties. ****** In Shahrivar (August 23- September 22) Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif paid a two-day official visit to Pakistan to explore new avenues of cooperation with the new government in Pakistan. The Iranian minister was the first top foreign diplomat to visit Pakistan after the new government came into power. During his tour to Pakistan, Zarif held talks with Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Finance Minister Asad Umar. He also held a meeting with Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the army headquarters. ****** In the same month during a meeting with Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost, Pakistan’s Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs (EAD) Asad Umar said Pakistan is committed to enhance economic ties with Iran and remove the trade barriers. ****** In the month a three-day Health Asia International Exhibition and Conference was held in Pakistan’s Karachi with Iran’s presence. ****** In Shahrivar Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami in a phone call congratulated his Pakistani counterpart Pervez Khattak on his appointment as the new defense minister of Pakistan. Both ministers urged promotion of mutual cooperation for regional stability and security. ****** In the month Pakistan Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Ghulam Sarwar Khan said Pakistan is fully committed to implement Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project without any foreign pressure. He said this while speaking to Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost who called on him at his office in Islamabad. ****** In the same month Speaker of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Assembly Mushtaq Ghani invited Iranian investors to invest in the northwestern province of Pakistan. He said this during a meeting with an Iranian delegation led by the Consul General of Iran in northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, Muhammad Baqir Beigi. ****** In Mehr Pakistan strongly condemned terrorist attack on military parade in Ahvaz, Iran, which killed at least ten people and injured more than 20 others. Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal in his tweet message said, 'Our deepest condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones in this heinous attack. “Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations”, he said. Pakistan National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser also said the Parliament and Pakistani nation express complete solidarity with the people of Iran and Parliament of Iran and strongly condemn the gruesome terrorist attack on a military parade in Ahvaz. He expressed these views in a letter written to Speaker of Parliament of Iran, Ali Larijani. ****** In the same month Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost met with Pakistan’s Minister of Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi and discussed ways to expand their bilateral cooperation in maritime affairs. ****** In Mehr Chief Minister of Pakistan’s Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan and Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost met to further strengthen trade between the two countries. ****** In the same month three-day International Tourism Expo 2018 was held in Pakistan’s Karachi with the participation of Iran. ****** In the month Iranian 57th naval flotilla docked at the Pakistani port of Karachi for goodwill-cum-training visit. Captain Amir Hosseini Aranai, the commander of the Iranian flotilla in an interview with the Islamic Republic News agency (IRNA) said the visit was in line with great maritime tradition and to further strengthen the existing warm and cordial relations between Iran and Pakistan. ****** In the Mehr (September 23- October22) Governor of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province Shah Farman during a meeting with Consul General of Iran in Peshawar, Muhammad Baqir Beigi emphasized on expansion of ties with Iran in all sectors especially in economic area. ****** In the same month Pak-Iran trade session was held in Pakistan’s southwestern city of Quetta. Representatives of customs, security forces and other officials from Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan and Pakistan’s Balochistan Provinces took part in the two-day meeting. ****** In the month of Aban (October 23- November 21) (Commander of the Ground Forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour visited Pakistan to discuss with Pakistani officials the fate of abducted Iranian border guards. Earlier Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) had said terrorists had kidnapped the Iranian forces, including local Basij volunteer forces and border guards, near the town of Mirjaveh on the Pakistani border. ****** Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli in a telephone conversation with his Pakistani counterpart Shehryar Afridi in Aban soon after the incident called for suppression of terrorists' bastion along Iran-Pakistan borders. ****** In the same month Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a phone conversation with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi traced the fate of the border forces of Iran. ****** Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also visited Pakistan in Aban to discuss border guards’ incident with Pakistan. Zarif during the visit had meetings with Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa. ****** In the month Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost met with Speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly Asad Qaiser to invite him for the Speakers Conference on Terrorism and Regional Connectivity, which. ****** In the same month Pakistan Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad during a meeting with Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost had said that railway link between Iran and Pakistan through Quetta-Taftan section is imperative for bilateral ties. Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad added that upgrading Quetta-Taftan railway would further enhance Pakistan-Iran relations. Iranian Ambassador also stressed upon importance of Quetta-Taftan section. ****** Pakistan’s Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry in Aban had also stressed the need for strengthening cultural cooperation with Iran. Talking to the Iranian ambassador Mehdi Honardoost, he said cultural exchanges are not only vital for understanding each other's values and traditions but also instrumental to promoting people-to-people contacts. ****** In the month Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal said that five abducted Iranian guards have been safely recovered with the concentrated efforts of Pakistani law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and armed forces. ****** In Azar President of Payame Noor University Professor Mohammad Reza Zamani visited Pakistan. During the visit he signed MoUs with various universities of Pakistan in fields of science, technology, language and literature. ****** In the month Iranian stall established at Pakistan’s foreign ministry charity bazaar drew a large number of crowd due to putting on display the rich Iranian culture and delicious cuisine. ****** In the month of Azar (November 22-December 21) the Deputy Coordinator of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Army, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, visited Pakistan to lead an Iranian delegation at four-day 10th International Defense Exhibition and seminar, IDEAS 2018 in Karachi. He held important meetings with Pakistan’s top military leadership and discussed ways to enhance defense cooperation. ****** In the same month Pakistan's Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan at a press briefing in Islamabad in December said that his country is willing to complete Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project. ****** In Azar Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Syed Abbas Araqchi visited Pakistan to participate in the tenth round of Iran-Pakistan Political Consultations in Islamabad. ****** In the same month Pakistan’s Adviser to Prime Minister for Commerce met with Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost and discussed ways to increase bilateral trade. ****** Speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly of Pakistan Asad Qaiser, heading a parliamentary delegation participated in the second conference of heads of the six countries’ parliaments to counter terrorism, in Tehran in Azar. ****** In the same month Pakistan hosted first Ever Global Women in Media Conference in Karachi with the presence of representative from Iran’s official news agency IRNA. ****** In Azar Pakistan hosted 13th Senior Officials Meeting of the Triangular Initiative on drug control in Islamabad. Iran's Anti-Narcotics Police Chief Brigadier General Mohammad Masoud Zahedian led the Iranian delegation in the two-day meeting. ****** In the month a three-day 14th Build Asia Exhibition was held in Karachi. Eight Iranian companies took part in the event held at Karachi Expo Center. ****** In Dey (December 22-January 20) Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi paid an official visit to Iran. He conferred with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on bilateral ties. The Iranian and Pakistani foreign ministers also discussed the latest regional and international developments. ****** In the month Pakistan Kabaddi Federation (PKF) hosted a Triangular International Kabaddi Series featuring kabaddi teams of Iran, Pakistan and India. ****** During outgoing year religious tourism between Iran and Pakistan witnessed unprecedented surge as during the months of Muharram and Safar this Islamic year over 75,000 Pakistani pilgrims visited religious places in Iran. ****** In Dey Pakistan Ambassador to Tehran Riffat Masood said that Islamabad wanted expansion of economic and cultural relations as well as reopening of border markets between the two countries. Pakistan ambassador said in a meeting with member of Majlis Foreign Policy and National Security commission Morteza Saffari Natanzi. ****** In the same month Iranian envoy in Pakistan's Quetta Mohammad Rafiee said that Iran-Pakistan free economic zone is expected to be inaugurated in the city of Mirjaveh in Iran's Sistan-Baluchestan Province in the coming days. He made the remarks during a meeting with the Pakistani Province of Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan at his secretariat. ****** In Dey Iranian Consul General in Eastern Pakistani city of Lahore Mohammad-Reza Nazeri called on Chief Minister Punjab Province Sardar Usman Buzdar and exchanged views on bilateral relations. Both sides in Lahore discussed promotion of cooperation in different fields, including trade and economy. ****** In the month Managing Director of Tourism Corporation of Pakistan’s north western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province had said that a memorandum of understanding (MOU) would be signed with Iran in near future to promote tourism and culture ties. In an exclusive interview with IRNA Mushtaq Ahmed Khan, said the bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries in the field of culture and tourism will be improved. He added in near future Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Tourism Corporation will be holding an event in which we will invite Iran, Afghanistan and side by side Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan. ****** In Dey Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost met with Pakistan Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), General Zubair Mahmood Hayat to discuss matters of mutual interest ****** During the month Pakistan Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan said that Pakistan is willing to further enhance its existing cooperation with Iran in power sector. He said this during a meeting with Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost in Islamabad. ****** In Bahman (January 21- February 19) Pakistan Speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly Asad Qaiser said that Islamabad wants to enhance bilateral relations with Iran for economic and regional prosperity. Pakistan shares a bond of friendship with Iran rooted in religion and culture, Qaiser said during a meeting with the Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost in the Pakistani capital. ****** During the month Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) of Pakistan’s interior ministry announced that Iranian businessmen can get a 30 day visa on arrival to Pakistan. ****** Iran's exports to Pakistan increased by around 45 percent during first nine months of outgoing Iranian year (started March 21, 2018) as compared to the previous fiscal year. According to the figures of Iranian embassy and Trade Promotion Authority of Iran, trade between Iran and Pakistan has witnessed a considerable growth. ****** In the same month Pakistan’s Ambassador Riffat Masood after formally presenting her credentials to the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani became Pakistan’s first woman envoy to the Islamic Republic of Iran. ****** In Bahman Deputy Speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly Qasim Khan Suri said that Iran and Pakistan need to make collective efforts to overcome challenges for restoration of peace at both ends of the border. The Deputy Speaker made the remarks during a meeting with Iranian Consul General Mohammad Rafiee in south western city of Quetta. ****** In Bahman an exhibition of Iranian calligraphy by Iranian artists was held in Pakistan’s Islamabad to mark the 40th anniversary of the Glorious Victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran. ****** In the same month a Friendship Food Festival was held at the Iranian Cultural Centre in north western Pakistani city of Peshawar to mark the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. ****** In the month Pakistan’s Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination Fahmida Mirza said her country fully supports Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and would continue to endorse Iran’s principled stance on this issue. “The JCPOA represents a good example of negotiated settlement of complex issues through dialogue and diplomacy,” she said. She was speaking as a chief guest at a ceremony in Islamabad to mark the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. ****** In Bahman Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost stressed upon the need for removal of trade barriers between Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan and Pakistan’s Balochistan provinces to promote economic ties. He made the remarks during a meeting with Balochistan Assembly Speaker Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo in south western city of Quetta. ****** In the same month a high level Pakistan delegation visited Iran to address the concerns of the Islamic Republic of Iran over terrorist attack near Zahedan. Meanwhile Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi urged the need for serious consultations with Pakistan to strengthen the border security between the two countries. ****** In Bahman Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said his country respects sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iran. Talking to media he said that Islamabad will extend all out cooperation to Iran over the terror attack in its Sistan-Baluchestan Province. ****** In Esfand (February 20-March 20) Spokesperson of the Pakistan Army said that Iran and Pakistan have excellent cooperation at all levels to strengthen the security of joint border. Director General (DG) of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor said this while responding to a question of IRNA's Correspondent on Zahedan terror attack at a press conference with local and international media at army headquarters in Rawalpindi. In another major development Major General Asif Ghafoor welcomed the recent offer by the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to help achieving a peaceful resolution of dispute between Pakistan and India. ****** In the same month Pakistan’s Minister for National Food Security and Research Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan emphasized that Iran and Pakistan could cooperate in innumerable ways and it is in their best interest to enhance interaction and expand trade volumes. During a meeting with Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost, the minister said: We could promote bilateral relations through tangible means – trade and business. ****** In Esfand Pakistan Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad visited Iran to attend the opening ceremony of Qazvin-Rasht-Astara railway route. During the visit he also met with Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei's advisor Ali-Akbar Velayati and Iranian Minister for Roads and Urban Development Muhammad Eslami. Earlier during a meeting with Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost he said that Quetta-Taftan-Zahedan rail track will be upgraded on fast track basis. ****** The most important development of the month was a phone conversation between Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. The Iranian president during conversation said, “the terrorists, who are the instruments of other countries, should not be allowed to create distance between Tehran and Islamabad.” The Pakistani prime minister, for his part, vowed that his country’s government and army will do every effort to annihilate the terrorists and not allow them to use the Pakistani soil against the neighboring countries, Iran in particular. ****** In Esfand Dr. Hadi Soleimanpour, Iranian Secretary General Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) paid a three-day official trip to Pakistan. This was his maiden visit since he assumed responsibilities as the Secretary General ECO. During the visit the Secretary General met with Pakistani President Arif Alvi and the Prime Minister Imran Khan. He also held separate meetings with Foreign Minister, Minister for Railways, Minister for Planning, Development & Reforms, Prime Minister’s Advisor for Commerce, Textile and Industry and the Chairman Board of Investment (BOI). He also met with Federal Secretaries for Finance, Communication and Science and Technology. ****** In the month Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua spoke to Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister on Political Affairs Seyed Abbas Araghchi and discussed issues of mutual interest. ****** In the same month Iran’s Tavanir delegation visited Pakistan and met with Pakistan’s Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan. ****** During the outgoing year many classical Iranian films were screed in Pakistan which attracted good number of crowd. ****** The outgoing year Iranian year also saw a lot of changes in Pakistan from general elections to turbulent ties with the US and India. In Tir the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) formally placed Pakistan on the grey list due to ‘strategic deficiencies’ in its anti-money laundering. ****** In the month Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Safdar Awan were given prison sentences of 10, 7 and 1 years respectfully on corruption charges. Later all of them were granted bail; however, Nawaz Sharif was sentenced in another corruption case and was arrested by the police again. ****** In the same month a suicide bombing at a political rally of the Awami National Party in Peshawar left 22 people dead. ****** In Tir two suicide bombings, one in Bannu town and one in Mastung town, left 5 and 131 people dead respectively. The former targeted the vehicle of former Chief Minister Akram Durrani, while the latter targeted a political rally of the Balochistan Awami Party. ****** In Mordad Pakistani general elections were held and in the result Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) under its chairman Imran Khan won the elections. On same day a suicide bombing at a polling station in Quetta left 31 people dead. ****** In the same month Pakistan's parliament elected Imran Khan as new prime minister after his party swept the general elections. ****** During the same month US cut military training program for Pakistan. ****** In Shahrivar Pakistani presidential election was held and Dr Arif Alvi became new President of the country. ****** In the same month US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Joseph Dunford visited Pakistan which was an attempt to end stalemate between Pak-US ties. ****** In Mehar Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi traveled to US where he met with US National Security Adviser (NSA) John Bolton and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. ****** In the month Pakistan and Russian armies held joint military drills showing strengthening of ties between the two states. ****** In Aban US President Donald Trump’s tweet that Pakistan does not do “a damn thing” for the US drew a strong reaction from the Pakistani politicians. Prime Minister Imran Khan reacting to the tweet said the US was making Pakistan scapegoat of its failure. ****** During the month Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan visited China leading a high level delegation to further improve ties between the two countries and discuss China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). ****** In the same month Pakistan and India agreed to open Kartarpur corridor for the facilitation of Sikh pilgrims. The move was welcomed internationally which could lead to end tensions between the two countries. ****** In Dey Pakistani police repelled an armed attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi, suffering two casualties. ****** In the same month a suicide bombing in Orazkai District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province killed 33. ****** In Dey Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Muhamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan visited Pakistan on a one-day visit. During his visit, he met Prime Minister Imran Khan and held delegation level talks wherein the two sides discussed the strengthening of bilateral ties and cooperation. ****** In Bahman with an objective to promote tourism Pakistan government announced new visa policy offering visas on arrival to visitors from 50 countries and electronic visas to 175 nationalities. ****** In the same month Pakistan Navy hosted a five-day naval exercise organized, Aman-2019, in which 45 nations took part. ****** During the month a delegation of Saudi led-military alliance headed by Pakistan’s former army chief General (retd) Raheel Sharif visited Pakistan on its first-ever visit to the country. ****** In Bahman Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman paid a two-day official visit to Pakistan. During the visit he met with countries top civil and military leadership top discuss bilateral ties. ****** In the same month tensions between Pakistan and US decreased as Islamabad helped to facilitate direct talks between Taliban and the US. ****** Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi did not participate in the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of OCI being held in Abu Dhabi in Esfand. He said Pakistan took the decision in protest to inviting Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj as guest of honour at the inaugural session of the OIC conference. ****** In Esfand tensions between Pakistan and India reached to an alarming level prompting the international community to ask both countries to exercise restraint and make efforts to de-escalate tensions. Relations between Pakistan and India got tensed after a suicide bombing in Indian-Kashmir which killed over 40 Indian soldiers. New Delhi blamed Pakistan of being complicit in the attack, a charge that Islamabad has denied vehemently.