Chairman Senate Defence Committee Senator Mushahid Hussain has called for early completion of the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project adding after the completion of the project bilateral relations between both countries shall further be strengthened. Senator Mushahid was speaking during the farewell reception hosted by the outgoing Ambassador of Iran Ali Hosseini to say goodbye to his friends. Asif Durrani former Pakistan’s ambassador to Tehran and senior journalist Hamid Mir also spoke on the occasion. Mr. Golriz, head of the Press Section moderated the event. Senator Mushahid Hussain further said, he was happy that in his capacity as the Chairman of the Senate Defence Committee he was able to institutionalize bilateral relations especially in the defence field. He said Iran was the first country to recognize Pakistan after its independence in 1947. Since the relations between the two countries are on the move, he added. Senator Mushahid also talked about rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia and termed it a positive development in terms of peace and stability in the region. He was of the view that China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan can surely constitute a force to be reckoned with. He also declared sanctions on Iran as unwarranted adding despite these sanctions Iran has shown phenomenal progress in all spheres. Senator Mushahid said Pakistan too had faced severe sanctions in the past. He said the world has changed altogether and those who impose such sanctions must realize the ground realities. The outgoing ambassador of Iran Syed Muhammad Ali Hosseini in his speech thanked guests for attending the event. He added, for a long time, the Islamic Republic of Iran has strengthened its relations with the neighbouring, brotherly and friendly country of Pakistan in line with its policy of close relationship with its neighbors, and still now, this goal is being followed up nonstop and despite the obstacles. ‘During my mission in the neighboring and brotherly country of Pakistan, despite the illegal and unfair sanctions against my country, and despite the restrictions that the spread of pandemics imposed on all of us, we witnessed great progress and developments in the various aspects of our relations with Pakistan including political, economic, security and trade’, he added. Talking about cooperation in the political sphere he said, high-level political exchanges and consultations and close cooperation in regional developments, kept a reasonable pace and continued appropriately. Ambassador Hosseini said in the economic field, the lack of banking and financial channel, on the one hand, the all-out economic pressures against the two countries, on the other hand and also the pandemics, could have led to an unprecedented decline and stagnation in the field of commercial and economic cooperation between the two countries. ‘However, with the great determination and efforts made by the authorities of the two countries and the great efforts of my colleagues in the Islamic Republic of Iran embassy and back in Tehran, we were able to prevent the decline and stagnation in the volume of exchanges between the two countries, and most importantly to register the unprecedented record of two billion and two hundred million dollars ($2.2 billion) in the amount of trade volume between Iran and Pakistan’. The ambassador said, the opening of two official border crossings after 73 years, agreement on the construction of 6 new border markets (one of which is completed and ready for operation and the other two are on the verge of completion), the completion of the first phase of the electricity transmission project to Pakistan and the increase in the amount of electricity export from 100 MW to more than 200 MW, which can be potentially increased to 500 MW, launching ITI cargo train (from Islamabad to Tehran and Istanbul), have been among the achievements made in this period of mission. Great progress has been made in other fields of cooperation including cultural, scientific, defense and security, about which I ignore expressing due to the time constraints, he further said. While dilating upon the future relations the ambassador said, in the current situation, priority should be given to the use of existing capacities and possibilities in the economic field, tourism and mutual investment between Iran and Pakistan. The capacities of the commonalities and links in the various areas of history, civilization, language, religion, geography, culture and so on should be availed for the betterment of the life of the people and for the development of the indigenous region which is a homeland to all of us and our next generations.