Pakistan, Iran to ink MoU on maritime search, rescue operations

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ISLAMABAD: Setting aside increasing conflict coupled with international pressure in Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, Pakistan has finally decided to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Iran for maritime search and rescue operations, it was learnt on Tuesday.

Documents reveal that the cabinet has considered a summary dated May 29, 2019, submitted by Defence Division for MoU on maritime search and rescue between Pakistan and Iran and gave approval to the proposal.

Sources said that the MoU with Iran was pending from last three years. They said that this MoU was to be inked during the visit of Iranian President Dr Hassan Rouhani to Pakistan.

However, this MoU could not be inked owing to the absence of necessary measures from the Iranian side.

The sources also told that Qatar had played an important role in establishing the relation of trust and confidence between Iran and Pakistan.

Also, Iran had been actively pursuing to build good relations with the neighbouring countries after the May 12 incident, when an attack on Saudi and United Arab Emirate’s oil tanker took place.

It was also learnt from the document that government of Iran had proposed a draft MoU on maritime search and rescue between Pakistan and Iran with Pakistan Maritime Security Agency, an attached department of Ministry of Defence.

Similarly, the proposed draft MoU was processed in consultation with all relevant stakeholders and vetted by the Ministry of Law and Justice.

Later, special approval of the prime minister was obtained for exemption of the cabinet’s approval for signing the said MoU during Iran’s president visit to Pakistan in March 2016.

However, the signing could not be undertaken due to awaited concurrence from the Iranian side.

It was informed that the Iranian side has conveyed their agreement and asked for a meeting to sign the MoU.

Accordingly, the approval of the cabinet was solicited to sign the MoU in terms of Rule 16(1)(h) of the Rules of Business, 1973, said the document.

Experts were of the opinion that MoU between Iran and Pakistan has great importance.

They said that following the attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman coupled with increasing pressure and conflict in the region, Iran has realised to sign the agreement with Pakistan for the maritime search and rescue operations and to build cordial relations with the neighbouring countries.

Similarly, they said Pakistan has always been pursuing to build friendly relations with the regional countries and also to decrease conflict among the friendly countries for good.

However, they feared that signing on this MoU between Iran and Pakistan can face some delay only if Pakistan’s friendly Arab countries expressed concerns and reservations over this agreement.