Iran Summons Top Pakistan Diplomat Amid Missile Strikes

Pakistan conducted “precision military strikes” against what it called “terrorist hideouts” on Iran

New Delhi:

Iran has summoned a top Pakistani diplomat amid geopolitical tensions between the neighbouring countries. The Iranian foreign ministry has summoned Pakistan’s charge d’affaires today to protest against the missile attack, said Nasser Kanaani, the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran.

Pakistan conducted “precision military strikes” against what it called “terrorist hideouts” in Iran’s Siestan-Balochistan province that killed nine people – three women, four children and two men – who didn’t have Iranian nationality. The attack was seen as retaliation to Iranian missile and drone attacks on Tuesday which Tehran said targeted two bases of the Sunni Baloch terrorist group ‘Jaish al-Adl’ in Pakistan’s Balochistan province.

After the attack, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement in which it reiterated that the country fully respects the territorial integrity of the Islamic Republic.

In the statement, read by Pakistan Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra, Islamabad described Iran as a brotherly country and said it continues to endeavour to find a joint solution to the issues.

After Pakistan’s counter-strikes, China offered to play a “constructive role” to ease tension between the two countries and asked the two countries to “exercise restraint and calmness and avoid escalation”.

“Did you say that Pakistan launched strikes on Iran? I’m not aware of this,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at a media briefing when asked whether China is aware of Pakistan airstrikes inside Iran.

“But we are paying great attention to this and China always believes that relations between countries should be handled based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and international law,” Mao said.

Sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected and protected, she said.

“Iran and Pakistan are close neighbours and countries with influence. We hope both parties can exercise restraint and calmness and avoid escalation if they need we are ready to play a constructive role in easing the situation”, she said.

Pakistan is an all-weather ally to China, while Tehran is warming up to Beijing in recent years enabling China to expand its influence in the West Asia region. China also imports a considerable amount of oil from Iran.

The standoff with Iran comes as Pakistan is in the midst of a crippling economic crisis with its $350 billion economy beset by high inflation and yawning fiscal and current account deficits. It is undergoing a tough $3 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout programme that pulled it from the brink of default last summer.

The country’s international bonds fell after its foreign ministry said it conducted strikes inside Iran on Thursday, two days after Tehran attacked the bases of another group within Pakistani territory.

Iran provides electricity to many areas in Pakistan, and unofficially there is a lot of trade in commodities, including Liquified Petroleum Gas and Iranian diesel.

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