Pakistanis are fond of stating that the only neighbor with whom they have conflictual relations is India. However, the truth is that all of Pakistan’s immediate neighbors, India, Afghanistan or Iran, have been unhappy with Pakistan over its policies of providing safe havens to jihadi groups that attack its neighbors.
Time and again relations between Tehran and Islamabad flare up and it has to do with Pakistan’s support for and safe havens given to
On October 16, 14 Iranian security personnel including Revolutionary Guards were kidnapped on the Iran-Pakistan border by Jaish e Adl, a Sunni militant group that has safe havens inside Pakistan. Iran has demanded that Islamabad “use all possible means” to free them.”
A spokesperson for Jaish e Adl, Ebrahim Azizi said: “’This morning Jaish al-Adl forces attacked a border post in Mirjaveh and captured all their weapons.’ The group also claimed responsibility on its Twitter account. Azizi said the attack was retaliation for what he called the Iranian state’s oppression of Sunnis in Sistan-Baluchestan, a mainly Sunni province with a long history of separatist unrest.”
Foreign Minister Javed Zarif spoke with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi as the “abduction caused a friction between the two countries, as the Iranian foreign ministry summoned the Pakistani envoy in Tehran to convey its concerns over the issue.” According to Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi, “militant groups operate from safe havens in Pakistan.” The Revolutionary Guards also issued a statement: “We expect Pakistan to confront these terrorist groups that are supported by some regional states, and immediately release the kidnapped Iranian forces.””
While Pakistan maintains that it is doing all it can, we must remember this is not the first time that something like this happened. It has happened in 2017 and 2017. In previous cases of such cross-border clashes, Iran has threatened to hit militant bases in Pakistan unless Islamabad took action.
If Pakistan wants to improve relations with its neighbors, it will need to do more than claiming that a new government in power. It will need to implement policies that will reassure these neighbors.