Operation Marg Bar Sarmachar: Pak hits terrorist hideouts in Iran after airspace violation

Islamabad, Jan 18 (UNI) Pakistan on Thursday struck terrorist hideouts in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province, less than 48 hours after Iran violated its airspace.

According to a statement issued by the military’s media affairs wing, “Hideouts used by terrorist organisations namely Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) were struck in an intelligence-based operation codenamed ‘Marg Bar Sarmachar’.”

Meanwhile, Iran’s IRNA news agency reported nine people were killed in the attack targeting a village in the city of Saravan, with Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi saying all the deceased “were foreign nationals”.

FO says action taken in light of credible intelligence of largescale terrorist activities by Sarmachars.

Iranian media reported three women, four children killed in attack targeting village near city of Saravan.

Iran on Tuesday had laun­ched attacks in Pakistan targeting what it described as bases for the militant group Jaish al-Adl in the border town of Panjgur in Balochistan, Iranian state media reported.

The Iranian strikes were part of a series of attacks carried out by Iran in recent days in Syria and Iraq as a response to recent terrorist attacks on its territory.

In its statement on Thursday, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said Pakistan carried out “effective strikes” against hideouts inside Iran used by terrorists responsible for recent attacks in Pakistan.

The ISPR said hideouts used by BLA and BLF were successfully struck in the operation.

“Pakistan Armed Forces remain in a perpetual state of readiness to ensure the safety of Pakistan citizens against acts of terrorism,” the army’s media wing stated.

“Our resolve to ensure that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan is respected and safeguarded against any misadventure, and remains unwavering. We reaffirm our determination to defeat all enemies of Pakistan with the support of the people of Pakistan,” it said.

The ISPR added that “dialogue and cooperation” was deemed prudent in resolving bilateral issues between the two brotherly countries.

Earlier today, the Foreign Office (FO) said Pakistan undertook a series of “highly coordinated and specifically targeted precision military strikes” against terrorist hideouts in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province.

“Over the last several years, in our engagements with Iran, Pakistan has consistently shared its serious concerns about the safe havens and sanctuaries enjoyed by Pakistani origin terrorists calling themselves Sarmachars on the ungoverned spaces inside Iran.

“However, because of lack of action on our serious concerns, these so-called Sarmachars continued to spill the blood of innocent Pakistanis with impunity. This morning’s action was taken in light of

credible intelligence of impending large-scale terrorist activities by these so-called Sarmachars,” Dawn news reports.

“Pakistan will continue to take all necessary steps to preserve the safety and security of its people which is sacrosanct, inviolable and sacred,” said FO.

The statement stressed that Pakistan “fully respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Islamic Republic of Iran”, adding “The sole objective of today’s act was in pursuit of Pakistan’s own security and national interest which is paramount and cannot be compromised.”

“As a responsible member of the international community, Pakistan upholds the principles and purposes of the UN Charter including territorial integrity and sovereignty of member states. Guided by these principles, and in exercise of our legitimate rights within international law, Pakistan will never allow its sovereignty and territorial integrity to be challenged, under any pretext or circumstances.”

“Iran is a brotherly country and the people of Pakistan have great respect and affection for the Iranian people. We have always emphasised dialogue and cooperation in confronting common challenges including the menace of terrorism and will continue to endeavour to find joint solutions,” it concluded.

Initially, IRNA reported that three women and four children were killed in blasts. It later updated the death toll to nine.

“Two men were also killed in the missile attack this morning in one of the border villages of Saravan, bringing the death toll to nine,” the news agency said quoting Alireza Marhamati, deputy provincial governor of Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province.

Iran condemned the strikes, and summoned Pakistan’s charge d’affaire “to protest and request an explanation from the Pakistani government,” according to a statement by foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani.

In a press briefing later in the day, FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar, who is currently in Switzerland for the 54th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), had decided to cut short his visit “in light of the developments”.

Similarly, Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani, who is in Uganda to attend a ministerial meeting of the non-aligned movement, had also decided to return to the country, according to Dawn.

To a question, Baloch asserted that Pakistan desired peaceful relation with all countries, including Iran. “But we have also said that Pakistan’s security and sovereignty is sacrosanct, and Pakistan remains ready and is willing to protect itself,” she said.

The FO spokesperson added that operational details pertaining to the recent developments would be coming soon from Inter Services PublicRelations (ISPR).

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