Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has praised security agreements on "fighting terrorism" reached during his visit to Pakistan, following recent political tensions between the two countries.
“We reached very good agreements in the field of fighting terrorism. Terrorists who have targeted the government and people of two countries. In this context, we reached a good conclusion regarding the implementation of previous agreements, especially the security agreement signed between the authorities of the two countries,” Amir-Abdollahian said during a meeting with Pakistan Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar on January 29, according to a statement published by the Iranian Foreign Ministry.
The Iranian minister was in Pakistan for a two-day official visit following recent political tensions triggered by Iran's missile strikes on the Sunni militant group Jaish al-Adl bases in Pakistani territory on January 16.
Pakistan launched retaliatory strikes against bases of the separatist Baloch Liberation Front and Baloch Liberation Army in the Iranian southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan. The Pakistani strikes inside Iran reportedly killed nine people, including four children, while the Iranian attack had killed two children.
Pakistan recalled its ambassador to Tehran and did not allow his counterpart to return to Islamabad, as well as cancelled all high-level diplomatic and trade engagements. However, the two neighboring countries fully restored ties on January 26.
During his visit, the Iranian minister held a meeting with Pakistan's Army Chief Gen Asim Munir, and the two sides agreed to deploy military liaison officers on their joint border, aiming to improve response to potential threats.
Both sides identified terrorism as a shared threat, highlighting the necessity for "joint efforts, better coordination, and sharing of information" to counter it, and reaffirmed their dedication to peace, stability, and prosperity in border areas.
For his turn, the Pakistani general emphasised the importance of "sustainable interaction and the utilisation of existing communication channels to address mutual security concerns".
Amir-Abdollahian said during a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Jalil Abbas Jilani that he visited Islamabad to convey a message that "our friendship and cooperation is strategic and steady and nothing would change it".
Tehran and Islamabad will never allow the terrorists to jeopardize the security of the two nations, the Iranian foreign minister underlined, noting that the terrorists along the border areas are undoubtedly supported by the third countries.
Expressing Pakistan and Iran’s determination to broaden their political and security relations, Jilani said the two countries have agreed to adopt collective and concerted stances based upon cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
Iran has long suspected Pakistan of providing a haven for insurgents and fostering instability on Iran’s southeastern border. Situated on the borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan, the impoverished province of Sistan-Baluchestan is home to some Sunni militants, and an entry point for smuggled arms and drugs.
For over 20 years, Baluch nationalists have engaged in a prolonged, low-intensity insurgency within Sistan-Baluchestan, seeking independence. The militant groups, Ansar al-Furqan and Jaish al-Adl had increased skirmishes with Iranian armed forces in this province, in recent years.
Jaish al-Adl (“Army of Justice”), designated as a terrorist group by Iran, was founded in 2012 and operates in southeastern Iran and across the border in Pakistan. On December 15, 2023, Jaish al-Adl attacked a police station in Rask city, resulting in the loss of at least 11 police officers’ lives. In response to similar attacks, Iran had warned of potential cross-border raids into Pakistan.
On January 27, 2024, nine Pakistani workers were shot dead by unidentified attackers in Sistan-Baluchestan near the border with Pakistan. On January 30, Iranian border guards killed a member of the Sunni militant group Ansar al-Furqan in an armed clash in the Rask County of this province.