A conversation between the foreign ministers of Pakistan and Iran, countries that in recent days have exchanged mutual attacks with drones and missiles, sealed this Friday (19) what is emerging as a new commitment to reduce tension in the region, said Islamabad.
In a statement, the Pakistani government said it had expressed its willingness to work with Iran on “all issues”. The announcement comes after offensives were carried out by both countries, in the biggest cross-border intrusions that the two have experienced in recent years.
The episodes raised tension in the Middle East region, already unstable due to the war between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist faction Hamas that has been raging in the Gaza Strip for more than a hundred days. Furthermore, Iran and Pakistan have a history of troubled relations.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry statement on Friday said that Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani had spoken to his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amirabdollahian, on the same date, a day after Islamabad carried out airstrikes in Iran.
Tehran said that the bombings the day before, Thursday (18), left at least nine dead in a village on the border of its territory, including four children. Pakistan said that the initial Iranian attack, on Tuesday (16), killed at least two children.
The contact comes after Jilani made another call, this one with his Turkish counterpart, in which Islamabad said that “Pakistan has no interest or desire for escalation.”
Amirabdollahian, in turn, stated according to the Iranian regime’s state media that “Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are of great interest” to Tehran and that “bilateral cooperation is essential to neutralize and destroy camps of terrorist groups that operate on Pakistani soil”.
The diplomatic contacts took place in parallel with the convening, by the interim Prime Minister of Pakistan, Anwaar ul Haq Kakar, of a meeting of the National Security Committee, with all the heads of the military services present. He cut short his visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and returned to his country on Thursday.
The meeting concluded that “the two countries would be able to overcome setbacks through dialogue and diplomacy and pave the way to further deepen their historic relations,” according to a statement from the prime minister’s office.
However, it was also determined that any attempt to violate Pakistan’s territory “will be met with the full force of the State”.
The Pakistani prime minister said it was in the “interests of both countries” for relations to return to what they were before Iran’s attacks. As soon as the offensive took place, Islamabad recalled its ambassador in Tehran to the country and did not allow the representative to remain Iranian on its territory. Actions of this type are seen with great concern at a diplomatic level, as they usually mean the imminence of an official rupture of ties between countries.
The UN Secretary-General, Portuguese António Guterres, had urged nations to contain the attacks. The United States also made a similar request, although US President Joe Biden said the clashes showed that Iran, Washington’s longtime enemy, “is not well-regarded in the region.”
Islamabad said it hit bases of the separatist group Balochistan Liberation Front and Balochistan Liberation Army, while Tehran said its drones and missiles hit members of the radical group Jaish al-Adl.
The fighter groups operate in an area that includes Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province and Iran’s southeastern Sistan-Balochistan province. Rich in minerals, both are generally considered unstable and largely underdeveloped.
The groups attacked by Islamabad have waged an armed insurgency against the Pakistani state for decades, including attacks on Chinese citizens and investment projects in Balochistan.
Jaish al-Adl, which Iran attacked, has a Sunni Islamist base seen as a threat by Iran, dominated by a Shiite regime. The group, which has links to the Islamic State (IS), carried out attacks in Iran against its powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
In the context of the war in Gaza, Iran and its allies from the so-called “axis of resistance” have sought to show their strength in the region. This same week, Iran launched attacks in Syria, against alleged IS bases, and in Iraq, where it said it had hit an Israeli spy center.