Pakistan Demands Answers After Officer Is Killed on Iran Border
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The Pakistan government summoned the Iranian ambassador Saturday to protest the killing of a Pakistani security official by Iranian border guards, an official said.
“The Iranian ambassador was summoned, a protest was lodged and an investigation was demanded into the killing of our security official,” Tasnim Aslam, the spokeswoman for the Pakistani ministry of foreign affairs, said in an interview on Saturday.
A Pakistani paramilitary officer was killed and four soldiers were wounded after their vehicle came under fire from Iranian border guards in Kech district of Baluchistan, the southwestern Pakistani province that borders Iran, according to Pakistani officials. Dozens of Iranian border guards also raided a village in Chagai, another district of Baluchistan.
Tensions have been growing between the neighboring countries after recent allegations by Iranian officials that Sunni militants based in Baluchistan have been mounting strikes against bases and border posts inside Iranian territory.
Pakistani officials have dismissed the allegations and have asked for evidence from Iran. “If Iran has evidence that elements from Pakistan are involved in activities against Iran, they should share it with us,” Ms. Aslam said Friday during a weekly press briefing. “Our information is that these incidents took place inside Iranian territory by Iranians and that is corroborated by their own accounts. It is not helpful to externalize problems,” Ms. Aslam said.
On Saturday, the situation at the border remained volatile. Provincial officials in Pakistan said Iranian soldiers launched five mortar shells at a Pakistani security post in the Mashkel area of Baluchistan. No casualties were reported.
The border problems with Iran come as Pakistan is also facing growing tensions with India on its eastern border. In recent weeks both countries have accused each other of initiating shooting and mortar attacks along the disputed border of Kashmir. At least 17 people have died and dozens have been wounded this month as Pakistani and Indian forces traded fire on both sides of the Kashmir frontier.
On Saturday, the Pakistani army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif, speaking during a parade of army cadets in the northern town of Abbottabad, vowed to defend the country against external aggression, although he did not specifically name any countries.
“Sentiments of good will and amity notwithstanding, let there be no doubt that any aggression against our beloved country will get a befitting response and no sacrifice will be too great in this sacred cause,” Gen. Sharif said. “We desire regional stability and relationship based on equality and mutual respect.”