Islamabad hopes to keep militants in check after attack on IRGC frayed ties with Tehran
By Zubair Qureshi
Source: Gulf News
Islamabad: In order to de-escalate tensions with its neighbour in the west, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s administration plans to fence 950km of the border linking Pakistan’s Balochistan province with Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan province.
Iran has been outraged by attacks emanating from Pakistan’s side of the border that have targeted its border security forces.
A suicide attack on an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) convoy that left 27 dead and wounded 13 soldiers saw an irate Tehran take up the matter with Islamabad, urging Khan’s government to step up surveillance along the border.
The IRGC personnel had been travelling between the cities of Zahedan and Khash, in Sistan and Baluchestan province, when their bus was targeted in a car-bomb attack.
The attack on February 13, 2019 came one day before the Pulwama suicide attack in Kashmir. Following the attack, Iran’s Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi warned that his country would exact a stern and crushing revenge on the plotters and supporters of the heinous crime.
In order to address the Iranian government’s concerns, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Quraishi immediately sent a high-level delegation to Tehran to assure the Islamic republic of a thorough investigation and all-out cooperation in hunting down the culprits.
Pakistan is keen to address the issue, particularly at a time when India and Afghanistan are blaming it for orchestrating attacks against them.
Major-General Asif Gafoor, Pakistan Army spokesperson and director-general of Inter-Services Public Relation (ISPR), said Pakistan and Iran were considering fencing the common border. He made the remarks while talking to journalists on Friday after a press conference on the Pulwama attack.
“We both are considering fencing the border so that no third party [terrorist] could sabotage the brotherly and friendly relations through any nefarious act,” Gafoor said.
He praised the media for playing what he called an exceptionally responsible role in its coverage, adding that this had not been the case with the media in India.
Gafoor said in war and peace, the media is the first line of defence and the Pakistani media was playing the same role. He added that Pakistan was a responsible state and well aware of the consequences of an armed conflict or full-fledged war.