As if the border skirmishes on the east were not enough, Pakistan now has to contend with Iran over the porous border in the west as well. An FC soldier was killed and three others were injured while chasing down miscreants when they were attacked by Iranian border guards. Iran claims that its soldiers were fighting border infiltrators, but this statement does not answer what they were doing on Pakistani soil. Iran has been fighting off a rebellion in their Sistan-Balochistan province for a long while, and blames Pakistan for not doing to enough to stop the militants from crossing over the border for safe havens in Pakistan, and then going back to fight border guards in Iran.

Only a little while ago, the ties between Pakistan and Iran were taking a turn for the positive. Then, Pakistan’s failure to hold up its end of the Pak-Iran gas pipeline, and the five border guards that were kidnapped by Jash-ul-Adl and brought to Balochistan was enough to end the overtures of friendship for Iran.

It is no secret that the Pak-Iran border is indeed easy to cross over, and Jaish-ul-Adl, the extremist group carrying out attack in Iran, uses parts of Balochistan to take cover against Iran. But that in no way means that Iran can violate Pakistan’s sovereignty to fight its battles on our home soil. The infiltration across the border effects Pakistan as well, with smuggling a major concern across the Pak-Iran border. Crossing over on to Pakistani territory is inexcusable. The Pakistan Foreign Office has rightly pointed out that Iran must provide proof that Pakistan is involved in the attacks in Sistan-Balochistan, which it has been unable to do so far.

As it stands, Pakistan has potentially three potential enemies on both sides of the border. Skirmishes with India on the LoC has led the over 17 civilian deaths, and both sides are using increasingly more hostile rhetoric against one another. Afghanistan’s grievances against Pakistan have gotten slightly less pronounced ever since Karzai’s term ended, but the lack of border security along the Durand Line allows for the free passage of militants both in and out of Pakistan. Unless border infiltration is controlled, the two countries are likely to come at loggerheads in the future as well. And friendship with Iran does not look likely in the status quo, unless both countries cooperate to ensure that the border is safer. Iran must realise that it is not just Pakistan’s duty to watch the borders, and it must do its share as well. Pointing fingers is of no use to anyone, and both countries must come up with a joint plan to stop this, before things get even worse.