QUETTA/ISLAMABAD - A Pakistani paramilitary officer and two Iranian border guards were killed in a shooting incident, sources on the two sides said Friday.
“Several rebels” also died in the fighting Thursday night, Iran’s news agency ISNA quoted a military official as saying, adding that a car and weapons were seized.
Meanwhile, a Pakistani official said a Frontier Corps officer was killed and four soldiers wounded when their vehicle came under fire by Iranian border guards .
“The FC patrol was chasing two suspects in a car when the Iranian border guards opened fire from across the border , killing one junior commissioned officer and wounding four soldiers,” spokesman Wasey Khan told AFP.
Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani, confirmed the incident and the casualties.
It was not clear if the car being pursued by the Pakistanis was the same one seized after the shooting incident across the border .
Balochistan is adjacent to the Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchistan, where ISNA said the shooting occurred and where rebel attacks earlier this month killed five people, four of them security forces.
Iranian media said 14 people were arrested in connection with those attacks.
Iran has repeatedly asked Pakistan to act to “stop the infiltration of terrorists” and has tasked the elite Revolutionary Guards to monitor the restive border region.
According to a Pakistan TV channel, Iranian border guards attacked the FC vehicle inside Pakistani territory.
Khan Wasey said the Iranians have been violating Pakistani territory since the past two days. He said the FC’s vehicle was also damaged during the attack. The injured personnel were rushed to Quetta for medical treatment.
Wasey said that Iranian border guards entered inside Pakistani territory and attacked the FC vehicle in Mand Tehsil of Kech district.
In another incident, Wasey said 30 Iranian border guards entered into Nokundi which borders Iran and made the residents of a nearby village hostage for six hours.
FC Inspector General Maj-Gen Ejaz Shahid, strongly condemned the infiltration of Iranian guards and vowed to defend the border in the case of future violation.
Additional FC personnel were called in the area to avoid occurrence of another untoward incident and overall security was tightened at the porous 900km border between the two countries.
Earlier, the Foreign Office cautiously responded to Iran’s warning of stepping inside its territory, arguing that Tehran should give evidence about elements from Pakistan that it believes are involved in activities against the neighbouring country.
Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam, while replying to a query regarding the fresh threats by a senior military officer of Iran during a news briefing in Islamabad, said that Pakistan’s information is that the incidents in question took place inside Iranian territory and those involved were Iranians which is corroborated by their own accounts.
Deputy Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Hossein Salami had warned on Thursday: “Terrorists, wherever they may be, even on the soil of neighbouring countries, we will find them, and if they do not give up acts of terrorism, we will deal with them without reservation”.
Hossein Salami had warned that Iran will step in to contain terrorists if Pakistan refuses to take action to secure its borders and prevent the terrorists from slipping into the Islamic Republic.
But Pakistani spokesperson said Pakistan was fighting terrorism and “our forces were taking comprehensive and determined action to eliminate it from our soil”. “In this endeavour, we need cooperation from our neighbours. There may be cross border activities or other transnational crimes like narcotic and drug trafficking. But if Iran has some evidence , it should share with us,” she maintained.
Ms Tasnim Aslam said Pakistan was very clear that it will not allow its territory to be used against any other country, adding Pakistan and Iran had mechanisms which could investigate such events as was done in the past when the Iranian guards were kidnapped and released inside Iran .
To another question, FO spokesperson said recently an incident happened inside Iranian territory and some statements were made hinting at the possibility that the terrorists had come from Pakistan or the guards may have been taken to Pakistan.
“And we responded promptly. There was a visit to the reported site of their abduction inside Iran . No proof was found that guards were brought to Pakistan. In this case also, the terrorist act happened inside Iran ... We have a border management mechanism in place with Iran ... and if our help is sought, the border management committee can meet and investigate the matter,” she explained.