ISLAMABAD  -   Pakistan warned Iran that conspiracies were being hatched against Pak-Iran ties so both the countries need to be careful, officials said.

Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that Islamabad and Tehran had been in contact since the abduction of 12 Iranian border guards in Iran. One official said: “Pakistan is obviously concerned about the abductions but we have assured them that our soil will never be used against Iran. We have cautioned them against conspiracies targeting our ties.”

On October 16, Pakistan ‘noted with concern’ reports of abduction of 12 Iranian border guards from Iran. Both Pakistan and Iran militaries, under a joint mechanism established since the last year, are working to ascertain whereabouts of Iranian guards, said a foreign ministry statement.

“Directors general military operations from the two sides are coordinating action in this regard. No effort will be spared to assist our Iranian brothers in finding the Iranian guards,” added the statement.

The Iranian security personnel including Revolutionary Guards were kidnapped on the border with Pakistan.

The Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s top security force, said in a statement carried on state television that some of its members had been abducted by a militant group at a border post in the city of Mirjaveh in Sistan-Baluchestan province.

On Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif phoned Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to discuss the situation arising following abduction of Iranian guards near the Pakistan-Iran border point of Mirjaveh.

Qureshi expressed his serious concern over the incident. He also briefed Zarif about the active efforts launched by Pakistan law enforcement agencies to ascertain whereabouts of the missing Iranian guards, in coordination with the Iranian military and intelligence counterparts.

It was noted that the two DGMOs were in close contact through hotline to coordinate search and rescue efforts including enhanced air surveillance and troops deployment in border area where the incident took place, said a foreign ministry statement.

Qureshi said that such incidents were handiwork of our common enemies unhappy with the existing close and friendly relations between Pakistan and Iran.

Reaffirming Pakistan’s commitment of not allowing anyone succeed in such malicious efforts, the FM noted that Pakistan and Iran have traditionally shared a ‘border of peace and friendship’ which would be maintained in the same spirit.

Javad Zarif underscored Iran’s desire to overcome all hurdles jointly with Pakistan in maintaining complete peace along the Pak-Iran border, said the statement.

Another official at the foreign ministry said that India was conspiring to ruin Pak-Iran ties and create tension between the two Muslim-majority countries. “We have urged Iran to remain in contact and avoid listening to the opponents of Pak-Iran friendship,” he added.

Recently, Pakistan supported Iran over its ‘principled stance’ on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with the P5+1 and the European Union.

In August, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif in Islamabad that Pakistan supported Iran’s stance and expressed the hope that remaining parties to the agreement would uphold their commitments in letter and spirit. This was important, he said, given International Atomic Energy Agency’s ‘repeated verification that Iran has strictly adhered to the terms of agreement. Qureshi said that Pakistan stood with Iran in this ‘hour of need.’

The deal, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, was reached in Vienna on July 14, 2015 between Iran, the P5+1 – the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, US plus Germany - and the European Union.

On October 13, 2017, US President Donald Trump announced that the US would not make the certification provided for under US domestic law, but stopped short of terminating the deal.

On April 30, 2018, the US and Israel alleged that Iran did not disclose a past covert nuclear weapons programme to International Atomic Energy Agency, which was required in the 2015 deal. And on May 8, 2018, President Trump announced that the US would withdraw from the agreement.

Pakistan’s support for Iran came at a time before US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo along with Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford held talks with Pakistan’s new leadership on ‘action against common foes and terrorists’.

In a recent interview, Iranian ambassador to Pakistan Mehdi Honordoost said that Iran and Pakistan as powerful countries of the Islamic world could play important role in solving of the issues of Muslims worldwide.

He said that Iran and Pakistan could resolve the issues of the Islamic Ummah and help Muslim-majority countries prosper. “Besides, the two countries can play important role in stability, endurance and economic development of the region,” he added.

 

 

 

SHAFQAT ALI