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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Iran ties downgraded in wake of cross-border attack

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Islamabad: Pakistan on Wednesday downgraded its diplomatic relations with Iran, recalling its ambassador from Tehran and expelling the Iranian envoy in Islamabad in the wake of an Iranian missile in Balochistan.

Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said Pakistan reserved the right to retaliate against the attack, which she described as an “illegal act” and without any justification.

In both statements issued after the attack, Baloch warned Iran of the consequences of its action.

“Pakistan has decided to recall its ambassador from Iran, and the Iranian ambassador to Pakistan who is currently visiting Iran may not return for the time being,” she said.

Besides the diplomatic response, a senior official, in a telephone conversation with Dawn News, did not rule out a military response, saying that “our response was still evolving.” Similarly, high-level bilateral visits, both ongoing and planned, were cancelled.

The Iranian charge d’affaires in Islamabad was also summoned to FO to convey Pakistan’s condemnation of the incident, according to Dawn News.

The Iranian strikes are perceived by Pakistan as not only a breach of sovereignty but also a potential catalyst for broader regional conflict, which is particularly alarming in the current tense regional climate.

Diplomatic sources also suggested that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) was responsible for the breach and that despite the existence of multiple channels of communication between the two countries, the operation was carried out contrary to international law, which clearly violated Pakistan’s airspace.

The Iranian strikes, which Tehran claims targeted militant bases of Jaish al-Adl in Pakistan, were part of a series of attacks carried out by Iran in recent days in Syria and Iraq as part of its response to recent terrorist attacks on its territory.

Last month, Iran claimed that militants from Jaish al-Adl, having crossed over from Pakistan, launched an assault on a police station in Rask, a town in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province, leading to the deaths of 11 Iranian security officers, Dawn News reports.

The missile and drone strikes, which occurred just a day after the Pakistani and Iranian navies conducted joint exercises in the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf and only hours after caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar’s meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Davos, caught Islamabad off guard.

There was no official word from the PM’s Office about the meeting, but Iranian media had said the two discussed terrorism, among other issues.

Meanwhile, Beijing urged both Pakistan and Iran to exercise restraint and work collaboratively to maintain peace and stability in the region.

The United States condemned recent Iranian strikes in Pakistan, Iraq, and Syria, which Tehran has claimed were carried out against “anti-Iranian terrorist groups.”.

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