Every year, hundreds of thousands of Pakistani pilgrims travel to holy sites in Iran, especially in the months of Muharram and Safar so the ferry service proposed by the government of Pakistan five years ago between the two states should be materialized as early as possible to facilitate the pilgrims.
Due to volatile situation of Pakistan's Balochistan province and terrorist attacks on Shia pilgrims going to Iran, the government of Pakistan in 2014 had proposed a ferry service from Pakistani ports to Iranian ports of Chabahar and Bandar Abbas to ensure safe travel of Pakistani pilgrims.
According to facts and figures each year at least 120,000 Pakistani pilgrims travel to Iran especially in the months of Muharram and Safar and many of them after their pilgrimage to Mashhad and Qum also visit holy sites in Iraq.
Despite the fact that large number of Pakistanis travel to Iran for religious and commercial purposes, there is no ferry service available between the two countries and the people have to use road and air links for the travel which is quite expensive.
The government of Pakistan in recent years at times has stressed the need to finalize the ferry service between Iran and Pakistan however it seems that there is no progress on the project so far.
Local media quoting Pakistan’s Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi on Saturday said that due to recent developments in Middle East ferry service between Iran and Pakistan is not possible.
The minister said that currently Iran, Pakistan ferry service is not on our agenda but Pakistan is interested to start ferry service for pilgrims with Iraq but the project is halted due to situation in Middle East.
It is pertinent to mention that few months ago Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi had informed a parliamentary panel that the government soon is going to launch a ferry service for pilgrims to Iran.