Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian with caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan Anwar ul Haq on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
New Delhi: A storm of unrest has been blown out of Middle-East affecting other regions of the world with Iran attacking “militant” sites in Iraq, Syria and now in Pakistan. With Islamabad replying with similar airstrikes, it seems Tehran’s actions would further propel the troubles in the region.
Interestingly, hours after Iran’s attack, Pakistan caretaker PM Anwar ul Haq Kakar met Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian on the sidelines of World Economic Forums in Davos, Switzerland.
“#Iran FM met with caretaker #Pakistan PM at the #DavosForum, termed Tehran-Islamabad relations as deep-rooted & age-old. Anwar ul Haq Kakar said: Pakistan & Iran face common challenges in the region.. keen to further boost mutual cooperation with Tehran,” a post on X by Iranian foreign ministry shared a photo of the two leaders.
Pak PM has now cut short his Davos trip amid an intense situation between the two countries.
Iran Strikes ‘Militant Bases’ In Pakistan
On Tuesday (Jan 16), the world woke up to the news of Iran striking several targets on Pakistan soil in Balochistan out of the blue. Iran reportedly used drones and missiles for the strike and said it targeted the bases of the militant group Jaish al-Adl.
The state-run IRNA news agency and state television confirmed the development, but later removed the reports without any explanation. This was a day after Iran targeted similar sites in Iraq and Syria further escalating the conflict in the region.
Iran has claimed that it targeted “Iranian terrorist group” and “none of the nationals of the friendly and brotherly country of Pakistan were targeted by Iranian missiles and drones”, reported the Dawn.
Pakistan’s Airstrikes Reply To Iran’s Attacks
On Wednesday, Pakistan responded with retaliatory firing on Iran killing a total of nine people. An official statement by the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Pakistani army and military carried out the air strikes as part of “Operation Marg Bar Sarmachar”
Pakistan’s caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani dialled his Iranian counterpart and stressed on Pakistan’s right to respond.
“This morning Pakistan undertook a series of highly coordinated and specifically targeted precision military strikes against terrorist hideouts in Siestan-o-Baluchistan province of Iran,” the Foreign Office said in a statement on Thursday, reported PTI.
“Over the last several years, in our engagements with Iran, Pakistan has consistently shared its serious concerns about the safe havens and sanctuaries enjoyed by Pakistani origin terrorists calling themselves Sarmachars on the ungoverned spaces inside Iran. Pakistan also shared multiple dossiers with concrete evidence of the presence and activities of these terrorists,” the official release read.
“However, because of a lack of action on our serious concerns, these so-called Sarmachars continued to spill the blood of innocent Pakistanis with impunity. This morning’s action was taken in light of credible intelligence of impending large-scale terrorist activities by these so-called Sarmachars,” the Pakistan ministry added. Menawhile, Pakistani authorities have claimed that the strikes killed a number of terrorists.
Why Did Iran Target Jaish al-Adl?
Jaish al-Adl, or the Army of Justice, emerged in 2012 and mainly comprises members of the Sunni militant Jundullah group, which was weakened after Iran arrested most of its members.
The anti-Iranian group wants independence for Iran’s eastern Sistan and Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan provinces. These goals make it a common target for both governments.
The members of these group are from the ethnic Baluch community and live on both the sides of the border. Pakistan says the group has no organised presence in the region or elsewhere but acknowledges that it was possible that some militants might be hiding in remote areas
Both Pakistan and Iran have been engaged in brawls over the years. Pakistan says it has shared information with Iran about the presence of Baluch separatists in Iran, accusing them of launching cross-border attacks on Pakistani troops.
Iran, on various occasions, reportedly warned that the Jaish al-Adl militant group operates from Pakistani soil in the border town of Panjgur in Balochistan to launch terror attacks on Iran’s forces, reported PTI.
Iran-Pak Conflict Amid Israel-Hamas War
The conflict rises amid an ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip that has already witnessed attacks on ships in the red sea by Iran-backed Houthi rebels. The US, UK and Australia among others joined forces to push back Houthis, but the latter continues to targted the ships in the region.
On Pakistan claiming two children died in Iranian attacks, foreign minister Abdollahian said the airstrikes targeted an “Iranian terrorist group”.
“On Pakistan, none of the nationals of the friendly and brotherly country of Pakistan were targeted by Iranian missiles and drones,” Abdollahian said, reported ANI.
India’s Stance On Iran-Pak Tussle
Responding to queries on Iran’s action on Pakistan, Indian said the concern matter is between the two countries and emphasised its position of zero towards terrorism
“This is a matter between Iran and Pakistan. Insofar as India is concerned, we have an uncompromising position of zero tolerance towards terrorism. We understand actions that countries take in their self defence,” Randhir Jaiswal, official spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs said.