Pakistan condemns attack on Iranian police officers near border area

QUETTA: A Pakistani government official on Sunday condemned an attack in southeast Iran near the border between the two countries that claimed the lives of four Iranian highway patrol police officers, saying that Islamabad was taking all steps to secure its border against militants.

Iran’s state-owned Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) said a “terrorist attack” on Sunday at the Khash-Taftan road in Sistan and Baluchistan province claimed the lives of four police officers. Three police officers were killed on the spot while the fourth, who was severely injured, succumbed to his wounds later. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Poverty-stricken Sistan-Baluchistan, which also borders Afghanistan, is a flashpoint for clashes with drug smuggling gangs as well as rebels from the Balochi minority and Sunni Muslim groups. In May, six Iranian border guards were killed in the same area in a similar conflict with an armed group. Militants often target Pakistani and Iranian border guards in the region as well.

“Authorities in Pakistan and Balochistan are very strict on border security, we have a clear stance that there should be trade through the Pak-Iran border and people can travel through the border but we strictly oppose terrorism on both sides of the borders,” Babar Yousafzai, a spokesperson of the Balochistan chief minister, told Arab News.

During his recent visit to Iran earlier this month, Pakistan’s army chief General Syed Asim Munir discussed eradicating militancy in border areas through intelligence sharing and effective actions between the two countries. Yousafzai said Pakistan has already fenced its border with Iran, adding that “we don’t let anyone cross through the border areas.”

“Our security forces are deployed there watching every movement for 24 hours. We have been utilizing all efforts to secure our border,” he added.

Pakistan’s border guards have also fallen prey to attacks from militants near the border area between the two countries. In April, Pakistan said “terrorists” operating from Iran killed four Pakistani border troops in Kech district along the border with Iran.

Small separatist groups in Balochistan have waged a low-level insurgency for more than two decades against the Pakistani government, demanding a larger share of the resources of the mineral-rich province they accuse the state of stealing from them.

courtesy : arab news