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Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari Concludes Successful Three-Day Trip to Iraq


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Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has returned home after a productive three-day visit to the Republic of Iraq. Accompanied by a delegation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bilawal aimed to strengthen the relationship between Pakistan and Iraq, focusing on areas such as economic cooperation, enhanced travel facilities, and security collaboration.

The primary objective of the visit, as stated by PPP Information Secretary Faisal Karim Kundi, was to foster stronger ties between the two nations, enabling the Pakistani people to benefit from increased economic cooperation, streamlined travel procedures, and improved security cooperation.

Iraq, being a major oil exporter, presents economic opportunities for Pakistan during a time of energy price challenges. Moreover, it offers employment prospects across various sectors for Pakistani nationals. Recognizing this potential, Bilawal signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enhance cooperation between Iraqi and Pakistani businesses. The MOU also established a new forum for private-sector collaboration, creating additional income-generating avenues for Pakistani workers and entrepreneurs.

The visit also addressed the significance of Iraq as a destination for religious pilgrimages, particularly for Shia and Sunni communities. Bilawal announced measures aimed at facilitating easier and more affordable travel for Pakistani pilgrims, including the opening of assistance facilities in Karbala, the establishment of a new consulate in Najaf, and the relaxation of visa requirements for official passport holders. Furthermore, plans were unveiled for the construction of a new embassy in Baghdad, all with the aim of making the journey to Iraqi pilgrimage sites more accessible to Pakistanis.

Regarding security cooperation, Bilawal acknowledged the shared challenges faced by both Iraq and Pakistan in combating terrorism. He emphasized the need for deeper cooperation to prevent violence against innocent civilians.

Throughout the trip, Bilawal engaged in fruitful meetings with prominent Iraqi political leaders, including the President, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Interior Minister, Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, and the President of the Al-Hikmet party. Additionally, he met with religious leaders, including the Head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq and Grand Ayatollah Sheikh Bashir Al-Najafi.

The visit received praise from both the Pakistani delegation and Iraqi hosts, who emphasized the significant potential and tangible impact of the visit. Bilawal’s trip has laid the groundwork for strengthened economic ties, improved travel facilitation, and enhanced security cooperation between Pakistan and Iraq.

As Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari returns to Pakistan, the positive outcomes of his visit pave the way for increased bilateral cooperation, benefiting both nations and promoting mutual understanding and collaboration in various spheres.

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