Iran’s interior minister Abdolreza Rahmani has warned Pakistan of military or anti-terror operations on its soil if it fails to address the issue of terror affecting Iran on mutual borders of Baluchistan.
The Iran–Pakistan border demarcates Pakistan’s Balochistan province from Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan Province. The main reason behind all tensions is the animosity between Shia and Sunni Muslims, in both countries. Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan region is a hotspot for separatist activities. Many Sunni groups across Pakistan and Middle east allege Iran of exercising excess on its Sunni population. Iran alleges Saudi Arabia of indulging and fanning separatist extremism in the region. Riyadh has always denied the allegation. It, on the other hand, insinuate the state of Iran, of meddling and funding unrest in Shia dominated al-Qatif region of Saudi.
Jaish al-Adl is a designated terrorist group by India, Iran and Pakistan. It is one of the largest and most active Sunni organisation targeting government forces in Iran’s southeastern province of Sistan-Balochistan. It has always been a source of confrontation between Tehran and Islamabad. Its declared agenda is to avenge the alleged wrongs that were done to the Sunni population of the region, who are ethnically Baloch, by Shiite Iranian state post-1979 Islamic revolution. In the Year of 1979 it witnessed, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi monarchy getting overthrown by Ayatollah Khomeini.
Jaish al-Adl has indulged itself in various terrorist attacks on Iranian forces. In 2017, the group killed 9 Iranian guards. It recently abducted 14 Iranian border guards on October 16. According to media reports, they were taken to Pakistan. Out of 14, other 5 guards have been rescued but rest are still under Jaish’s captivity. According to reports, Jaish al-Adl extensively uses hideouts in Pakistan, a point often raised by Iran to Pakistan.
“If we have refused to operate on the other side of the border so far, it has been merely because we wanted to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty,” Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani was quoted by Xinhua news agency.
This development has come at a time when, both Iran and Pakistan are facing USA’s sanctions, in which Iran is the worst hit.