Chief Minister Balochistan Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo on Thursday termed the inauguration of the Border Market on the Pak-Iran border and Iran-Gwadar Power Project in Gwadar a ‘positive sign’ for both countries. “Today is a historic moment, Pakistan and Iran are standing shoulder to shoulder with each other for the employment of their people and their prosperity,” he said during the inauguration of the border market and the Iran-Gwadar Power Project. He said, “Iran is our brotherly neighboring Islamic country with which we have historical cultural, religious, commercial and diplomatic relations.” The CM said that there were immense opportunities to promote bilateral regional trade with Iran, including crude oil, gas, food commodities and energy sectors, adding that annual trade between Pakistan and Iran was worth billions of rupees. “To formalize this trade, it is necessary that this trade be done through banking channels,” he said and added that legalization of this trade would bring about a significant change in the economic development of both countries. He said that the provincial government was ensuring the provision of maximum facilities to the people involved in border employment, adding that more markets were being established on the Pak-Iran border for increasing trade between both countries which would help to decrease poverty in border areas. The CM said that the Pakistan-Iran border market project was completed with the cooperation of Pakistan-Iran at the border town of the Recko-Diq border. He stressed that the Pak-Iran border was a historic trade corridor that was of unique importance not only to the two countries but also to the entire region. The chief minister said that despite the international sanctions, the Iranian economy made exemplary progress, for which the people of Iran and their leaders deserve to be praised. “The joint border market to be built in collaboration with Pakistan and Iran will prove to be the gateway to the economy not only in Makran but also in Balochistan,” he added. He said that there was a need to expedite joint efforts on the part of the two brotherly countries to improve the law and order situation on the border and prevent cross-border terrorist incidents. “Pakistan-Iran Joint Border Commission is an important forum in which issues related to the border are decided,” he said, adding that a large part of Pak-Iran trade was based on informal trade. He said that steps were required to formalize this trade, unfortunately, due to informal and illegal trade, the employment of people associated with the border faced several problems and many families were affected by the closure of border trade. Bizenjo said that the provincial government was well aware of the problems of people associated with this trade. A long-standing demand of people associated with this trade for better flow of border trade was the abolition of unnecessary check posts, he noted. The CM said that the government had eliminated many other barriers to border trade by removing unnecessary check posts to solve the problems of trade and traders and promote border trade. “For economic development, it is necessary to take measures to make border trade more efficient”, he said, adding that there was a need for steps that positively impact the people there and Pakistan’s economy as a whole. He said that the Balochistan government was determined for Gwadar’s development saying that the project to supply an additional 100 MW of electricity from Iran has been completed to meet the current and future electricity needs of Gwadar. To implement the project, a 138 km long transmission line had been laid from the Iran border to Gwadar, he said. The chief minister assured that an uninterrupted supply of electricity would be ensured to the domestic and industrial consumers of Gwadar after the inauguration of the project.