The Mand-Pishin Border Sustenance Marketplace is one of six border markets planned for the two neighbouring countries’ shared border, as agreed in an MoU signed on April 21, 2021. The marketplace will provide a thriving platform for increasing cross-border trade, fostering economic growth, and opening up new avenues of opportunity for local businesses.
Pishin is a city in the Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchestan, and Mand is a town in Pakistan’s southern Balochistan province, where the market opened.
The border market, which is set up on 10 acres (4 hectares) of land, is expected to bolster cross-border trade between the two countries and provide new opportunities for local businesses to flourish.
Raisi and Sharif also inaugurated the Polan-Gabd Electricity Transmission Line, which is expected to carry an additional 100MW of electricity from Iran to Pakistan.
This transmission line will supplement the electricity purchased from Iran for the border Makran region via the 132 KV Makran Division electricity transmission line. The additional 100 MW of electricity provided by Polan-Gabd will help offset the energy needs of Balochistan’s households and businesses.
Polan is a town in Sistan-Baluchestan’s port city of Chabahar, while Gabd is on the Pakistani side, 87 kilometres from Gwadar, a key route in the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
The joint inauguration has a manifestation of the strong commitment of Pakistan and Iran to uplift the welfare of the residents of the provinces of Balochistan and Sistan-Baluchestan
Last week, the two countries agreed to revive the gas pipeline project, expand bilateral trade, and collaborate in the field of aviation.
The 2,275-kilometre Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, which was first proposed in the 1990s to transport natural gas from Iran to Pakistan, has faced multiple delays due to US sanctions.
In September 2020, former Prime Minister, Imran Khan, approved the establishment of 18 markets, six along the Iranian border and 12 along the Afghan border.
Pakistan and Iran share a 959km-long border that begins at Koh-i-Malik Salih mountain and ends at Gwadar Bay in the Gulf of Oman. The trade volume between the two countries currently stands at around $2 billion.
‘Opening of a new chapter’
On the sidelines of the joint inauguration, Raisi and Sharif held talks on bilateral issues and reaffirmed their commitment to boost economic cooperation between the two countries.
A statement issued by the Iranian President’s office said the border market is an “important development.” It can provide livelihoods to thousands of border residents and help them “improve their economic situation”.
Later, at a joint press conference with Shehbaz Sharif, Raisi said the two countries are committed to strengthening bilateral ties and that the capacity exists to expand cooperation in the energy sector.
He said more border markets are presently under construction to facilitate cross-border trade and create job opportunities..
Shehbaz Sharif said the inauguration of the two projects marks a new chapter in the already growing trade and business relations between the two “brotherly” countries.
He said Pakistan will negotiate the signing of a free-trade agreement with Iran to increase bilateral trade and business.
While inviting Raisi to visit Islamabad, Sharif said he has also spoken with the Iranian leader and “made some proposals” regarding Tehran’s inclusion in the $64 billion dollar CPEC project.