In a significant diplomatic development, Pakistan and Iran have mutually agreed to de-escalate tensions that emerged from a series of military actions along their shared border in the Baluchistan region. The recent exchange of deadly airstrikes on alleged militant targets exacerbated regional tensions, already strained by the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
The situation unfolded with Iran initiating a missile and drone attack on what it termed “terrorist” targets in Pakistan on Tuesday night. In response, Pakistan conducted precision strikes on alleged militant targets inside Iran on Thursday. The tit-for-tat actions prompted both nations to recall their ambassadors, sparking concerns about potential border closures and the impact on the local population.
International entities, including the United Nations and the United States, called for restraint, with China offering to mediate between the two countries. A phone conversation between Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has played a pivotal role in defusing the situation.
A joint statement released by Islamabad’s foreign ministry emphasized the agreement to “de-escalate the situation” and strengthen coordination on counter-terrorism and other mutual concerns. The statement stressed the importance of respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty in their cooperation.
The Baluchistan region, shared between Pakistan and Iran, has long been a hotspot for militant activities. Iran initiated a missile and drone strike on alleged “terrorist” targets in Pakistan, prompting a retaliatory response from Pakistan on Thursday. The rare military actions escalated tensions, resulting in the recall of ambassadors and heightened concerns about border closures.
A collective death count of 11, mostly women and children, was reported from both sides of the border, emphasizing the human cost of the conflict.
Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar held an emergency security meeting, cutting short his visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos. With general elections scheduled for February 8, the forum reiterated the country’s commitment to sovereignty and territorial integrity. The meeting emphasized the need for dialogue and diplomacy to address security concerns and deepen historic relations.
In the remote villages near the strike site, residents expressed fears over the potential fallout of deteriorating relations. Concerns of border closures loomed large, threatening to sever residents from vital Iranian trade, a crucial source of employment and food imports.
Experts warn that economic hardship resulting from a closed border could further fuel the Baluch separatist insurgency, which has simmered for decades.
India, maintaining a neutral stance, underlined its “zero tolerance” towards terrorism while acknowledging countries’ actions in self-defense. The US State Department condemned Iran’s actions, citing its role as a leading funder of terrorism in the region. China called on both sides to avoid actions escalating tension and jointly work towards regional peace.
Sources By Agencies