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Pakistan-Iran ties blow up in border strikes; China seeks 'restraint'

Iran's airstrikes inside Pakistani territory have sparked a major diplomatic row. Pakistan has recalled its ambassador, suspended high-level visits, and condemned the violation of its airspace. Pakistan claims two civilians were killed, while Iran insists it targeted Jaysh al-Adl strongholds.

Pakistan Iran ties blow up in border strikes; China seeks 'restraint'
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First Published Jan 17, 2024, 7:32 PM IST

A major diplomatic row has erupted after Iran carried out airstrikes inside the Pakistani territory on Tuesday. Pakistan has recalled its ambassador from Tehran and suspended all high-level visits ongoing or planned between the two countries. The airstrikes came a day after the navies of two countries held joint exercises in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz. 

Pakistan recalls its envoy in Iran, warns Tehran of 'right to respond'

Strategic expert Brahma Chellany in a post on X said: "Pakistan's neighbours, all agree, that, by hosting a number of UN-designated terrorist entities that stage cross-border attacks on its neighbours, Pakistan is a state sponsor of terrorism. Iran is the latest to call Pakistan's nuclear bluff by striking terrorist sanctuaries it hosts.” 

In a statement, Pakistan’s foreign office on Wednesday condemned the "unprovoked violation of its airspace by Iran and the strike inside Pakistani territory." In the airstrike, Pakistan claimed that two civilians were killed. Pakistan’s Prime Minister’s Office has also issued a release, urging the journalists not to cover the incidents and also imposing curbs on visiting the sites. 

The strike was conducted in the border town of Panjgur in Balochistan, as reported by Iranian media. Pakistan’s foreign ministry has yet not revealed the location where the airstrike happened.

As per Iran’s news agency, two key strongholds of the Jaysh al-Dhulm (Jaish al-Adl) terrorist group in Pakistan were 'specifically targeted and successfully demolished by a combination of missile and drone attacks'.

Top Level Engagement Hours Before Strike

Hours before the airstrike, Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar had met Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Stating that the attack was a violation of international law and the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, Pakistan’s foreign office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said: "This illegal act is completely unacceptable and has no justification whatsoever."

"Pakistan reserves the right to respond to this illegal act and the responsibility for the consequences will lie squarely with Iran," Baloch said.

China Seeks Restraint

Hours after the incident, Beijing has requested Islamabad and Tehran to exercise “restraint”. In a briefing, China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning said: "We call on both sides to exercise restraint, avoid actions that would lead to an escalation of tension and work together to maintain peace and stability."

"We consider both Iran and Pakistan as close neighbours and major Islamic countries," she added.

Explained: Who are Jaish al-Adl group that was attacked by Iran in Pakistan?

Unprecedented: Iran airstrike on terrorist group in Pakistan

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