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Pakistan and Iran Agree to Peaceful Resolutions after Aerial Crossfire

Pakistan and Iran Conflicts

Pakistan and Iran agreed on Friday (January 19) to de-escalate tensions and re-establish full diplomatic ties after their armies this week carried out unprecedented mutual air strikes on alleged militant camps on each other’s territory.

According to Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry, the agreement originated from a phone conversation between Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

“The two foreign ministers of Pakistan and Iran agreed that working-level cooperation and close coordination should be strengthened on counter-terrorism and other common concerns. They also agreed to de-escalate the situation,” the statement said. The two top diplomats also discussed the return of the two ambassadors to their respective capitals.

Tensions erupted on Tuesday after Iranian security forces launched what they said were “missile and drone attacks” on the bases of the anti-Iran militant group Jaish al-Adl in Pakistan’s southwestern border province of Balochistan.

Map of Pakistan and Iran showing the affected area after the aerial crossfire
A map of Pakistan and Iran showing the affected area after the aerial crossfire

Pakistan condemned the attack as a “blatant violation” of its territorial sovereignty, saying it killed two children and injured several other civilians. On Wednesday, Islamabad announced it was recalling its ambassador to Tehran, asking Iran’s ambassador to leave Pakistan, and suspending all bilateral contacts with Iran in protest against “unprovoked” cross-border incursions.

Pakistan on Thursday carried out retaliatory airstrikes against “terrorist hideouts” in Iran’s southeastern border province of Sistan-Baluchistan, which were used to launch attacks against Pakistani security forces in Balochistan.

Iran said Pakistani air strikes killed at least nine “non-Iranian nationals,” mostly children and women.

The cross-border attacks between the two countries, Pakistan and Iran, mark an unprecedented escalation in an already tense bilateral relationship. Pakistan’s conflict with Iran has also raised concerns about broader instability in the Middle East since the war between Israel and Hamas broke out on October 7.

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Pakistan’s statement said Gilani stressed the “close brotherly relations” between the two countries (Pakistan and Iran) and expressed Islamabad’s “hope” and “desire” to cooperate with Tehran “based on the spirit of mutual trust and cooperation.”He “stressed that respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty must be the basis of such cooperation,” the statement added.

The Iranian Embassy in Islamabad said on its official website, Setting a new record in easing tensions… sending ambassadors back to each other’s capitals,” as well as conducting exchanges of visits between the foreign ministers of Iran and Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister, Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, chaired a meeting with the country’s top civilian and military leaders on Friday to discuss the crisis stemming from tensions with Iran.

“The meeting held a useful review of the situation and commended the Pakistan Armed Forces for their professional, precise, and proportionate response to Iran’s unprovoked and illegal violations of Pakistan’s sovereignty,” Pakistan’s National Security Council said in a statement after the meeting.

“The meeting also concluded that, in accordance with the universal principles of good-neighborly relations, the two countries will be able to mutually overcome unpleasant incidents through dialogue and diplomacy and pave the way for further deepening of historic relations.”

Between Pakistan and Iran Military tensions between the two countries prompted United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the United States, and China to urge the two neighbors to exercise restraint and ease tensions with each other.

Pakistan’s military said Thursday’s strikes hit Iranian bases run by counter-insurgency groups, the Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) and the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA). The groups regularly attack Pakistani security forces in the natural resource-rich Balochistan province.

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The United States has designated the Balochistan Liberation Army as a global terrorist organization.

Tehran said its drones and missiles hit the base of the Taliban. Iran, a predominantly Shia Muslim country, has accused Sunni Muslim militant groups of planning attacks on Iranian security forces in Sistan-Balochistan province.

Pakistan and Iran share a nearly 900-kilometer border that has been rife with separatists, militants, and smugglers for decades, and both countries accuse each other of not doing enough to address security challenges.

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