Iran’s uncalled-for attack on the air space of Pakistan on Tuesday targeted the alleged bases of a militant group in the border town of Panjgur in Balochistan. Iran’s attack inside Pakistan’s territory is worrisome. It has badly hurt the affability between the two states.
Pakistan issued a strongly worded condemnation. Protesting with Iran, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked the Iranian ambassador to Pakistan to head back home. The Iranian government, IRGC, and Iranian intelligence are fully responsible for this attack. The attack was a breach of international law and norms and an unjustifiable violation of Pakistani sovereignty.
There has been a tense relationship between Pakistan and Iran because of the activities of Baloch separatists and religious militant groups in their border regions.
The strain between the two neighbors flickered suddenly after Iranian forces made a surprise intrusion into Pakistani territory in a false bid to attack Iranian separatist groups allegedly based on the Pakistani side of the border.
Both countries have over 900 kilometers of common border that lacks proper fencing, border wall, or any geographical separation between the two nations. Both neighbors have fought low-level Baloch insurgencies in their areas on both sides of their common border.
Pakistani LEAs every so often face attacks by the terrorists from Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) and Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) after which they return to their sanctuaries on the Iranian side of the border. Jaish Al-Adel cast the same episode with Iranian security forces and often tried to elude the Pakistani side.
Because of the resemblance of challenges and issues, wide-ranging mechanisms are in place between the two countries at military-to-military and government-to-government levels, for mutual liaison and coordinated action against militant groups, drug peddlers, human traffickers, and others.
The flag meetings of local military commanders take place at regular intervals to resolve local border issues, take away misconceptions, and promote cooperation. The Iranian leadership has acted carelessly out of frustration following the incident of January 3 that cost over 80 lives.
The attacks in Pakistan came less than a day after Iranian forces launched missile strikes in Syria and Iraq, part of a string of reprisals against Tehran’s enemies including Islamic State bases and proposed Israeli Spy agency Headquarters in Arbail, Kurdistan.
Islamabad has many misgivings because Baloch militants used Iranian soil, for logging, planning, and carrying out attacks inside Pakistan. Pakistan has always said terrorism is a common threat to all countries in the region that requires teamwork and cooperation.