Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Iraqi counterpart, Fuad Hussein sat down to discuss the potential of enhanced bilateral relations between Pakistan and Iraq. Being key players within the Middle East and Asian region, both countries have promised to embark upon a mutually beneficial partnership that relies on productive exchanges within the realm of trade, security, agriculture, infrastructure, technology and politics.
High-level bilateral exchanges were talked about during the meetings and both Foreign Ministers identified areas of potential collaboration. On its own, Pakistan promised to help Iraq out with problems of food insecurity, donating medical supplies particularly relating to the pandemic, encouraging tourism, exporting manpower and aiding infrastructural development in the region. We even expressed our desire to strike up an oil deal with Iraq. This holistic approach will only prove to be bountiful if each side stays true to their promise of exchanging tangibles. Throughout history, we have made it a point to support Iraq in whatever way we could afford and this must continue given its importance in the geographical area.
There are lessons to be learnt from Iraq’s history considering that it suffered through a similar fate as Afghanistan. US troops were deployed back in 2003 to fight against Saddam Hussain but were later, successfully, withdrawn by 2011. Perhaps we could take note of how the process was completed, what countries like Pakistan do to aid it and what proactive measures must be taken to ensure that the power vacuum left behind does not empower the aggressors once again.
Pakistan decided to adopt a pivotal role when it comes to the Afghan peace process and part of fulfilling our responsibilities is ensuring that countries like Iraq stand strong with us. Already, the Iraqi official commended our stance on Kashmir and Palestine and reaffirmed the integral role we have in Afghanistan. The aim now is to extend the longevity of this collaboration to secure mutual benefits in all areas of operations.