–Pakistan to fence Iran border, increase border patrols, start aerial surveillance through helicopters to put end to cross-border incidents
—FM urges Iran and Afghanistan to crack down on militants involved in attacks on Pakistani soil
–Iranian foreign minister condemns Ormara killings, says conspiracy to weaken ties
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday said urged both Iran and Afghanistan to take action against the elements involved in Thursday’s killings in Ormara, Balochistan.
Addressing a press conference, he said that actionable forensic evidence has been shared with the Iranian government, showing links of the militants with the neighbouring country, besides the presence of their logistics and training camps located across the border.
He hoped that Iran would take ‘visible’ action against the elements who used its soil to carry out Thursday’s attack in Ormara.
Qureshi said that Pakistan wanted to know the factors behind the Ormara incident in which 14 passengers were killed after being offloaded from the bus. The victims included 10 soldiers of the Pakistan Navy and three of the Pakistan Air Force, besides a coastguard.
“I said I won’t make a statement until we get certified information. I didn’t want to make a rash statement as India did in the wake of Pulwama incident,” the foreign minister said.
He said the Baloch Raaji-Aajohi-e-Sangar (BRAS), an alliance of three Baloch militant outfits, had claimed the responsibility for the incident.
The Baloch outfits have set up their logistics camps inside the Iranian border area and that has also been conveyed to the Iranian authorities, he added.
He said Pakistan and Iran enjoyed fraternal ties and hoped that Tehran would act against the perpetrators of the incident as had been assured by his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif in a detailed telephonic conversation.
He said the Iranian foreign minister had termed the attack an attack on the security of both Pakistan and Iran. The foreign minister said that Afghanistan should also take action against the anti-Pakistan elements operating from its soil.
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan was scheduled to visit Iran on Sunday, during which security issues would be discussed in detail.
He said that considering the prevailing security situation, Pakistan has decided to take six security measures to avoid recurrence of cross-border terrorism.
Qureshi said a special command based in Balochistan’s Turbat area had been set up, besides raising a new corps to increase border patrols. It has also been decided that aerial surveillance of the Pakistan-Iran border would also be done through helicopters, he added.
Pakistan would fence its border with Iran to prevent recurrence of Ormara like terror attacks from across the border, he said, adding that Pakistan and Iran would set up joint border centres at six points for surveillance along the border.
“Like Afghanistan, he said, the Iranian border would also be fenced. Though the fencing of 950 kilometres-long border would be costly but it was need of the hour,” he added.
He said Iran had demanded necessary action from Pakistan when its security officials were abducted and shifted to Pakistan. The action was accordingly taken and nine out of 12 abducted Iranian personnel were rescued by the Pakistani forces, he added.
Responding to a question, he said the timing of Ormara incident was important, which showed that the elements behind it did not want peace in the region.
He said that Pakistan and Iran had historical relationships. Pakistan could overcome its energy crisis from buying gas from Iran, but international sanctions against the latter were impeding the process.
To another question, he claimed that it was a known fact as to which country was backing such militant outfits and supplying weapons to carry out insurgency and bring instability in Pakistan.
Earlier, the Foreign Office (FO) sent a letter to the Iranian embassy in Islamabad.
“10-15 terrorists camouflaged themselves in FC uniform barricaded the road and stopped 3-4 buses going to Gwadar port from Ormara on the coastal highway at Buzi Top in the wee hours of April 18. The militants checked the identification of the passengers and shot dead 14 individuals of armed forces. BRAS which is the alliance of three Baloch militant organisation has claimed the responsibility,” the letter read, adding that the militants fled to the area inside Iranian territory after the terrorist act.
The letter also mentioned that Pakistan has “shared the intelligence regarding the presence of these militants and their training camps across the border on multiple occasions in recent past and earlier.”
“But no action has been taken against these militants by the Iranian government,” the letter asserted.
IRAN DENOUNCES ATTACK:
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif strongly condemned the Ormara killings. In a tweet, he said, “Strongly condemning the recent terrorist attack in Pakistan, just as PM
@ImranKhanPTI embarks on his first, historic visit to Iran. Terrorists, extremists and their sponsors are terrified by close relations between Muslim states. Iran stands with the people & govt. of Pakistan.”