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Iran Vs Pakistan: Islamabad and Tehran Exchange Missile Strikes

Pakistan accused Iran of an “unprovoked violation of its airspace” after Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) bombed border areas in Balochistan province using precision missiles and drone strikes. This action followed previous missile attacks by the IRGC on targets in Iraq and Syria. These strikes were aimed at a separatist militant group, Jaish-al-Adl, which operates from Pakistani soil in the Border areas of Sistan-Balochistan. Unfortunately, as per reports, the strikes resulted in the fatalities of two children and injuries to three others. Pakistan has responded in kind by launching its missile strikes on Iran. 

What is Jaish-Al-Adl? Why did Tehran Attack Them?

Also known as the Army of Justice, Jaish-al-Adl is a separatist Sunni militant group that was formed in 2012 and has a significant presence in Pakistan. Iran has been struggling with the group that is notorious for launching surprise attacks along the border regions; the recent India-like surgical strikes on Pakistani soil represent a more aggressive approach to dealing with the group.

The attacks are being seen as a retaliation against the group that raided a police station in the south-eastern province of Sistan-Balochistan, resulting in the deaths of multiple police officers. Iran’s state media did not provide any details or evidence of the strikes, and a few reports on their website were soon removed. 

Pakistan and Iran share a 995-kilometre-long border in the unstable area of Sistan-Balochistan. Tehran has been fighting terrorism in its Sistan province against the separatist group Jaish-Al-Adl, targets symbols of the state and seeks to establish a Sunni-majority country of its own.

The Shia-Sunni conflict

Pakistan is a Sunni-majority country, while Shia Muslims dominate Iran, which is the main friction point in Sistan, where the Sunni minority faces discrimination and repression by the Shia-dominated regime. Iran accuses Pakistan of harbouring militant groups responsible for cross-border attacks, while Islamabad denies these allegations.

Defence Overshadows Diplomacy in the Islamic Brotherhood

In the wake of these attacks, Pakistan recalled its ambassador to Tehran on Wednesday and asked the Iranian ambassador who was visiting Tehran not to return.

Pakistan conducted “military strikes” in the Sistan province of Iran after the Iranian air strikes in Balochistan, further raising tensions between the neighbours. On Thursday morning, according to a statement from its Foreign Ministry, Pakistan conducted an “intelligence-based operation” code-named “Marg Bar Saramchar” (Death to Saramchar) against terrorist hideouts in the Sistan-Balochistan province. Calling Iran a “brotherly country”, Islamabad said that the action was a “manifestation of Pakistan’s unflinching resolve” to protect and defend its national security against all threats.

New Delhi and Beijing React, Release Statements

China has asked both countries to show restraint and avoid actions that could escalate tensions. Beijing is in a dilemma because Pakistan is an all-weather ally, whereas Tehran has recently warmed up to the dragon, allowing it to expand its influence in West Asia.

In a late-night reaction on Wednesday, the Indian external affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said it was understandable if a country took measures to defend its security. He was quoted as saying. “This is a matter between Iran and Pakistan. Insofar as India is concerned, we have an uncompromising position of zero tolerance towards terrorism. We understand actions that countries take in their self-defence

Islamabad Playing with Fire

The attack by Iran on Pakistani soil raises concerns about the relations between the two countries, which have been historically wary of each other. It also increases the risk of further escalation and instability in a region already affected by various conflicts. The exchange of blows between Iran and Pakistan comes amid global tensions fuelled by the Ukrainian war, the Israel-Palestine conflict and the crisis in the Red Sea. 

If not kept in check, these tensions can escalate and overflow, causing a global crisis. Iran has the will and means to destabilise the region through its proxies in Yemen and Lebanon. The Houthi rebels in Yemen have been behind the Red Sea crisis. At the same time, the Hezbollah in Lebanon, in coordination with Hamas in Gaza, can deal a massive blow to Israeli ambitions. Hence, Iran’s potential for destabilising the region cannot and should not be underestimated. 

Playing with Iran can prove to be disastrous for Pakistan as its economy is already under a lot of stress. Rather than playing missile man, Islamabad should focus on economic growth and weeding out terrorism in its country, which has become a safe haven for multiple terror outfits.

 

Read More: Diplomatic Row Erupts as UK Envoy Visits Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir

Andrew s

Andrew has been in the online publishing industry. After receiving his degree in professional journalism from the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, he contributed to multiple websites as a freelance writer and feature editor. Mostly, Andrew tackles controversies and theories that lead to a specific conclusion that either debunk or justify a particular claim. Further, Andrew participates in social developments that aim to simplify every individual's way of life and fight for peace. He is the new Editor-in-Chief of Pressroom Today.

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