Pakistan today summoned Iranian ambassador to express its concern over Iran army chief’s remarks that Tehran will hit “safe havens” of terrorists in Pakistan until Islamabad takes steps to stop militants from carrying out cross-border attacks. Iran’s state news agency IRNA yesterday quoted Major General Mohammed Baqeri as saying that “unless Pakistan control(s) the borders, arrest(s) the terrorist and shut(s) down their bases…we will hit their safe havens and cells wherever they are”. Baqeri’s remarks came after Iranian border troops were killed in a clash with militants.
Ten Iranian border guards were killed by militants last month. Iran said Jaish-al-Adl, a militant group, had shot the guards with long-range guns, fired from inside Pakistan. Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement that the Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan was called for “conveying Pakistan’s concerns”. “It was conveyed to the Iranian Ambassador that such remarks were against the spirit of brotherly relations existing between the two countries,” it said.
“The Iranian side was urged to avoid issuance of such statements that could vitiate the environment of fraternal relations,” it said. The Foreign Office said recently the frequency of high- level exchanges from both the sides has strengthened the bilateral cooperation and during the visit of the Iranian Foreign Minister to Islamabad on May 3, the two sides agreed to enhance cooperation on the border issues. The porous Iran-Pakistan border has long been plagued by drug smugglers and Sunni militants, both of whom occasionally clash with Iranian security forces.