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Pakistan: Mobile services suspended on 'specific routes' as Iranian president Raisi arrives in Karachi

Elaborate security measures have been set up in Karachi as Iranian President Ebraham Raisi arrived in the port city on Tuesday. This is the first visit by any leader since the February 8 elections in Pakistan after the two countries exchanged tit-for-tat airstrikes in January.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Karachi Published on: April 23, 2024 21:13 IST
iran, ebraham raisi, karachi, pakistan
Image Source : X Iranian President Ebraham Raisi arrives in Karachi on Tuesday.

Karachi: Mobile phone services were suspended on "specific routes" in Karachi as part of elaborate measures to ensure security as Iranian President Ebraham Raisi arrived in the port city on the third leg of his visit to Pakistan on Tuesday. Raisi was welcomed by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, First Lady Aseefa Bhutto and other members of the provincial cabinet upon his arrival, according to Geo News.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said the cellular services will remain suspended on specific routes in Karachi from 3 pm (April 23) till 8 am (April 24) on the directions of the Interior Ministry. "This decision is being taken to ensure the security of the dignitary’s visit to Karachi," the authority added.

Authorities in Karachi also shut down several roads to the public and declared a public holiday in the city. A comprehensive security plan was drawn up that involved a substantial deployment of law enforcement personnel across Karachi. At least 3,847 police officers and officials have been mobilised in the city to ensure peace. Snipers have been strategically positioned at sensitive locations throughout the city.

Raisi arrives in Karachi amid strict security

The Iranian President landed in Karachi on Tuesday after wrapping up his visit to Lahore, where he highlighted a “special connection” with the Pakistani people, according to Dawn. Raisi later offered prayers with provincial officials and his delegation. He met Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz during the second day of his visit.

“On behalf of the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, I say my greetings to the people of Pakistan and Lahore,” Raisi said, appreciating the “revolutionary spirit” present in the people here. He also praised the Pakistani government and people for the strong stance taken against the "Zionist forces (Israel)".

His visit was the first by any head of state after the February 8 elections in Pakistan. The Iranian president is accompanied by his spouse and a high-level delegation comprising the foreign minister and other members of the Cabinet and senior officials, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. Raisi is visiting Pakistan months after the cordial ties between the two neighbours suffered a setback when Tehran shocked Islamabad by carrying out airstrikes against alleged militant hideouts in the restive Balochistan province in January.

Raisi is scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka on Wednesday to unveil the multi-purpose Uma Oya hydroelectric power project developed with Tehran's assistance in the south-eastern Uva province of the island nation. Raisi will arrive at the Mattala International Airport at 9:30 am (local time) and proceed to unveil the project whose construction started in 2011 under Iranian development assistance of $500 million.

Kashmir issue raised during meeting with Shehbaz Sharif

During a meeting with the Iranian President, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif once again raked the issue of Kashmir, applauding Tehran's "support" for the disputed territory and saying he voiced concerns over the so-called situation in Jammu and Kashmir which Islamabad dubbed as the "India-occupied region".

Notably, both India and Iran share good diplomatic relations. However, Iranian leaders, have always supported Pakistan's side on matters related to Kashmir. The Leader has often issued statements of support and solidarity with the people of Kashmir and he mentions the "just struggle" of Palestinians and Kashmiris in every sermon (a speech on a religious or moral subject). 

According to a report by Tehran Times, Iran's position on Kashmir, clearly spelt out by Imam Khomeini, has been consistent since the Islamic revolution of 1979. Imam, who according to some historians traces his roots to Kashmir, had once made it categorically clear to a visiting Indian delegation that the ties between the two countries would not improve until the bloodletting in Kashmir continued. His successor has followed the same line on Kashmir, which is reflected in his statements and sermons.

(with PTI inputs)

ALSO READ | Pakistan: PM Shehbaz rakes up Kashmir issue with visiting Iranian President Raisi I DETAILS

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