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17 Jan, 2024 12:28

Pakistan recalls ambassador from Iran

The rift between the Middle Eastern neighbors was triggered by an attack on Balochistan province, which Islamabad has blamed on Tehran
Pakistan recalls ambassador from Iran

Islamabad has decided to recall its ambassador in Tehran, following a reported Iranian attack on Pakistani soil overnight. A statement by the Foreign Ministry called the incident a “blatant breach” of the nation’s sovereignty that “has no justification whatsoever.”

Iranian officials did not publicly take credit for the strikes. The IRGC-owned news outlet Tasnim reported that a combination of drone and missile strikes destroyed the bases of a group internationally known as Jaish ul-Adl.

The militant group, which is considered a terrorist organization by Tehran, seeks independence for the Pakistani province of Balochistan. A series of explosions on Tuesday night was reported in Panjgur, a city near the Iranian border. The Baloch people predominantly live in Iran and Pakistan, with large diasporas present in Afghanistan and Oman.

In addition to recalling its own diplomat, Pakistan has refused to allow his Iranian counterpart to return to Islamabad following his current trip to his home country, the ministerial statement said. All high-level bilateral visits have been suspended.

Islamabad said it reserves the right to respond to the incident and considers Tehran fully responsible for the escalation of tensions.

An earlier Pakistani statement claimed that two children had been killed in the strikes.

The diplomatic rift happened a day after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) launched airstrikes targeting Iraq and Syria. The paramilitary organization claims that it was targeting Israeli spies and terrorists from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in retaliation for recent attacks on Iranian forces.

Commenting on those attacks on Wednesday, Iranian Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtian said there were “no limits” to measures that the country would take to safeguard its national security.

Some reports in the Iranian press initially claimed that the attacks in Pakistan were conducted by the IRGC, but the attribution later vanished.