Pakistan claims to have killed “terrorists” in Iran with “precision military strikes.”
Pakistan said on Thursday that it has launched missile strikes into Iran and that “a number of terrorists were killed during the intelligence-based operation,” codenamed “Marg Bar Sarmachar”.
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in a statement said that it had undertaken a series of “highly coordinated and specifically targeted precision military strikes against terrorist hideouts” in the Siestan-o-Baluchistan province of Iran.
“A number of terrorists were killed during the intelligence-based operation codenamed “Marg Bar Sarmachar,” it said.
Pakistan’s military action comes after it condemned Tuesday’s strike by Iran, which it said killed two children.
The Pakistan Foreign Ministry said that in its engagements with the neighbouring country Iran over the last several years, Pakistan has consistently shared its serious concerns about the safe havens and sanctuaries enjoyed by Pakistani-origin terrorists who called themselves “Sarmachars” on the ungoverned spaces inside Iran.
Pakistan said it also shared multiple dossiers with concrete evidence of the presence and activities of these terrorists.
“However, because of a lack of action on our serious concerns, these so-called Sarmachars continued to spill the blood of innocent Pakistanis with impunity. This morning’s action was taken in light of credible intelligence of impending large-scale terrorist activities by these so-called Sarmachars,” it said.
“This action is a manifestation of Pakistan’s unflinching resolve to protect and defend its national security against all threats. The successful execution of this highly complex operation is also a testimony to the professionalism of the Pakistan Armed Forces. Pakistan will continue to take all necessary steps to preserve the safety and security of its people which is sacrosanct, inviolable and sacred,” the statement said.
Pakistan said it fully respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iran and the strike’s sole objective was in pursuit of Pakistan’s own security and national interest which is paramount and cannot be compromised.
“As a responsible member of the international community, Pakistan upholds the principles and purposes of the UN Charter including territorial integrity and sovereignty of member states. Guided by these principles, and in exercise of our legitimate rights within international law, Pakistan will never allow its sovereignty and territorial integrity to be challenged, under any pretext or circumstances,” the Pakistan Foreign Ministry said.
Pakistan said Iran is a brotherly country and the people of Pakistan have great respect and affection for the Iranian people. “We have always emphasised dialogue and cooperation in confronting common challenges including the menace of terrorism and will continue to endevaour to find joint solutions,” it said.
Meanwhile, a report by Iran International, a UK based Iran-focused news website, said multiple explosions were reported near the city of Saravan in Iran’s restive Sistan and Baluchestan province.
The report quoted a deputy governor general of the province speaking to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). The official said authorities are carrying out investigations into the explosion.
However, the Iran Foreign Ministry has not confirmed the strikes officially.
The move comes a day after Tehran said it used “precision missile and drone strikes,” to destroy two “important headquarters” of Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice) in Pakistan. Following this Islamabad denounced the violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty as “completely unacceptable” and warned of serious consequences.
On Wednesday, Pakistan expelled the Iranian ambassador and recalled its ambassador to Iran.
Pakistan has decided to recall its ambassador from Iran and that the Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan who is currently visiting Iran may not return for the time being,” Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said while addressing a press briefing in Islamabad yesterday.
Pakistan’s caretaker Foreign Minister, Jalil Abbas Jilani in a phone call with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir Abdollahian underscored that the January 16 attack conducted by Iran inside Pakistani territory was not only a serious breach of Pakistan’s sovereignty but was also an egregious violation of international law and the spirit of bilateral relations between the two countries.
Expressing Pakistan’s unreserved condemnation of the attack, Jilani added that the incident has caused serious damage to bilateral ties between Pakistan and Iran.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahain said the air attacks in Pakistan targeted an “Iranian terrorist group” Jaish al-Adl and that his country had asked Pakistan several times to take action on the group.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister Anwar ul-Haq Kakar met the Foreign Minister of Iran, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, around the same time, the Iranian government announced targeting Jaish-al-Adl inside Pakistan through drone and missile strikes.
Formed in 2012, Jaish al-Adl, designated as a “terrorist” organisation by Iran, is a terrorist group that operates in Iran’s southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, Al Arabiya News reported.
Over the years, Jaish al-Adl has launched numerous attacks on Iranian security forces. In December, Jaish al-Adl took responsibility for an attack on a police station in Sistan-Balochistan that claimed the lives of at least 11 police personnel, according to Al Arabiya News reported.
Tuesday’s attacks on Pakistan comes after Iran launched missiles in northern Iraq and Syria on Monday. Iran’s foreign ministry on Tuesday defended the strikes by the Revolutionary Guards in Iraq and Syria, labelling them as a “precise and targeted” operation aimed at deterring security threats, CNN reported.
According to Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani, the strikes targeted a “terrorist headquarters” in Idlib, Syria, and a “Mossad-affiliated centre” in Erbil, Iraq. Kanaani emphasised the precision of the operation, stating that ballistic missiles were used to identify and strike the “headquarters of criminals.”