There are tensions across all borders, and we seem to diplomatically be at a loss to resolve problems with our neighbours. After an attack by Afghan soldiers that killed 50 Pakistani civilians, Iran has threatened to hit ‘terror safe havens’ in Pakistan. Major-General Mohammad Baqeri made the statement on Monday, two weeks after 10 Iranian border guards were killed in clashes near Mirjaveh, a town near the Iran-Pakistan border. Jaish ul-Adl (Army of Justice), a Sunni armed group fighting for independence in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province, claimed responsibility for the attack.

At the face of it, the situation is quite drastic. We have three countries accusing us of being a safe-haven for militants, and two out of these three have threatened surgical strikes. While it can be argued that the situation has been blown out of proportion, or that India and Afghanistan are being aggressive for the sake of India’s hegemonic designs, Pakistan’s image does not look good from the outside. Even a country like Iran, that is constantly derided internationally for its human rights violations and is openly anti-America, is pointing fingers at Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office has summoned the Iranian ambassador over an ultimatum by the head of Iran’s armed forces. On Tuesday, Pakistan’s foreign office said the comments went “against the spirit of brotherly relations”, and it is true. Just last week the Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was in Islamabad and agreed to enhance cooperation on the border issues. The ultimatum after the peaceful overture feels dishonest and undiplomatic.

Pakistan is equally a victim of terrorism as they are. Pakistan, by no means, supports terrorism or protects terrorists. We know this in Pakistan, but outside, we are seen as a training ground and we have not been able to dispel this notion for almost two decades. Security lapses are a regional problem, and we have witnessed its proof in both Iran and Afghanistan.

Pakistan assured Iran it would deploy additional troops along its border and it must do this. But Iran, on its part, cannot threaten Pakistan and blame us for the separatist movement in its territory. Such statements challenge the sovereignty of Pakistan and sets the precedent of attacking countries whenever a conflict arises. It puts all plans like the CPEC and India’s Chabahar port in jeopardy.

While Pakistan has remained peaceful in all diplomatic and military negotiations with its neighbour countries, they have maybe falsely assumed that it does not have the requisite capability to deal with an external intervention. Pakistan is a nuclear power in South Asia, and has a formidable military. It would be unwise to challenge it, and be to the detriment of the entire region. Apparently, no country in the region except for China seems to understand this.