ISLAMABAD: In one of the strongest protests made in the recent times, Pakistan on Saturday accused Iran of harbouring terrorist groups which recently killed 14 Pakistanis in Ormara, Balochistan, saying it was a very ‘serious’ incident which has compelled Islamabad despite economic restraints to fence of the Pak-Iran border.
"Killing of 14 innocent Pakistanis by terrorists groups based in Iran is a very serious incident that Pakistan protests strongly against. Pakistan awaits Tehran's response to its request for action against these groups based in Iran, whose locations have been identified by Pakistan a number of times”, Iran was told in a letter from the Foreign Office to the Iranian Embassy in Islamabad.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also telephoned his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif to protest and later told the media that, "They're criminals who have done this incident. BRA — an alliance of a number of Baloch terrorist organisations — has come forward and claimed responsibility for this ghastly event. On the basis of verified information, it is clear that the training and logistical camps of this new alliance are based inside Iran's borders. We have forensic evidence of these criminals."
In the letter sent by the Foreign Office it was pointed out that Pakistan has repeatedly shared intelligence about the information about the hubs of these Baloch terrorist organisations in Iran, having training camps and logistics bases across the border, but unfortunately, no action was taken by Iran to date. The latest low in an already tense relations came on the eve of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s first official visit to Iran where he will be accompanied by a high-level delegation, including ministers for Human Rights, Maritime Affairs and Inter-Proncial Coordination and several senior officials.
Foreign Minister Qureshi will be visiting Japan on these dates but it is expected that the new Foreign Secretary Sohail Mehmood will accompany the delegation. Taken aback by the strong reaction from Pakistan, Javad Zarif in a tweet and also in his telephonic conversation with Qureshi condemned the incident and said that it was not just an attack on Pakistan, while ensuring Qureshi of his full cooperation and assured him that Iran would help Pakistan trace the terrorists. He added that with Prime Minister Imran Khan arriving in Iran tomorrow, there would be a chance for further conversations to discuss mechanisms that could further be put into place to avoid such incidents. “Strongly condemning the recent terrorist attack in Pakistan, just as Prime Minister Imran Khan embarks on his first, historic visit to Iran. Terrorists, extremists and their sponsors are terrified by close relations between Muslim states. Iran stands with the people and government of Pakistan”, Zarif tweeted.
Pakistan has immediately announced six steps to keep its territory safe from future incidents of terror specially in Balochistan and to make it into a border of peace ensuring stability.
*A new command has been formed to create ease in vigilance and prompt action. The command will be headquartered in Turbat and has been formed so that the border can be manned more effectively than previously.
*A new Frontier Corps has been raised so that the border can be managed better than before.
*Based on the consultations between Iran and Pakistan, Qureshi said that joint border centres are being established.
*According to the foreign minister, it has been decided that the border with Iran will be fenced the way the Pak-Afghan border was being fenced. Qureshi added that the process has started and is being started from the most frequently exploited points. *Qureshi said that it was decided that border patrolling exercises would be synchronised.
*Heli-surveillance would be done between the two countries to prevent further incidents. "We also expect that our brother and friend will take visible action," Qureshi told the media hopeful that these steps would terrorism spilling into Pakistan from Iran.
The foreign minister also raised the issue of terrorism coming in from Afghanistan despite of extensive fencing and said he hoped that Kabul would help with the same spirit that Pakistan is working towards establishing peace and stability in Afghanistan.