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Pakistan Commits to Reducing Tensions with Iran

Meetings of NSC, federal cabinet back bilateral engagement to address mutual concerns

by Staff Report

Meeting of the NSC. Photo courtesy PID

Pakistan’s civil-military National Security Committee (NSC) on Friday agreed to pursue dialogue and diplomacy to overcome “minor irritants” in its ties with Iran and work to further deepen the “historic” ties between the neighboring nations.

The high-level huddle, convened after Iran staged cross-border strikes in Balochistan and Pakistan’s own retaliation, deliberated on the tensions between the two states over the past week. It was chaired by interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar and included the participation of the caretaker ministers of defense, foreign affairs, finance, and information. From the armed forces, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and the chiefs of the Army, Navy, and Air Staff, along with the heads of intelligence agencies, attended the meeting.

“The forum undertook a wholesome review of the situation and lauded the professional, calibrated and proportionate response by the Armed Forces of Pakistan against unprovoked and unlawful violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty,” read a press release issued after the meeting, noting the participants were briefed on various political and diplomatic matters, including regional security, in light of the tense situation.

It further deliberated on Operation Marg Bar Sarmachar, which targeted terrorists of the Balochistan Liberation Front and the Balochistan Liberation Army hiding in Iran, as well as preparations taken to respond to any further violation of national sovereignty. “The forum reiterated the unflinching resolve that sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan are absolutely inviolable and sacrosanct and any attempt by anyone to breach it on any pretext will be responded with full might of the state,” it said, stressing the security and safety of the people of Pakistan was of paramount importance.

“The forum expressed that Iran, being a neighborly and brotherly Muslim country, existing multiple communication channels between the two countries should be mutually utilized to address each other’s security concerns in the larger interest of regional peace and stability,” it said. Pakistan was committed to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries in accordance with the U.N. Charter and international norms, it stressed.

The NSC reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to deal with an “iron hand” the menace of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, noting the country had suffered far more than any other country due to this scourge. “The meeting also concluded that in line with the universal principles governing the conduct of good neighborly relations, the two countries would mutually be able to overcome minor irritants through dialogue and diplomacy and pave the way to further deepen their historic relations,” it added.

A subsequent meeting of the federal cabinet endorsed the NSC’s decisions. According to a statement, the caretaker prime minister stressed it would be beneficial for both Pakistan and Iran to work toward restoring their relationship to a state prior to Tehran’s airstrike. Kakar said Pakistan was open to, and would respond positively to, any constructive initiatives from Iran.

Lauding the high professionalism with which the armed forces responded to the breach of Pakistan’s sovereignty, the cabinet was told by the premier that Pakistan was a law abiding and peace loving country and it sought friendly and cooperative relations with all countries, particularly its neighbors.

According to a statement, Kakar said Pakistan and Iran are two brotherly countries that have historically enjoyed fraternal and cooperative relations marked by respect and affection, adding Pakistan would welcome and reciprocate all positive measures from the Iranian side.

Foreign ministers

The Foreign Office, meanwhile, announced that interim Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir Abdollahian had exchanged a telephone call on Friday, underscoring the importance of collaboration and synchronizing efforts at the operational level, with a specific focus on counterterrorism and other mutual concerns. They also committed to de-escalate tensions between the neighboring nations.

Expressing surprise over Iran’s Jan. 16 strike, Jilani cited the strong engagement and trust that has historically characterized bilateral relations. He also recalled Pakistan’s repeated requests to Iran to present tangible proof backing its allegations of terrorist factions operating from Pakistani soil.

On Pakistan’s retaliatory strike, he said Islamabad had shared intelligence reports with Tehran on multiple occasions regarding militants’ sanctuaries within Iranian borders.

The two foreign minister also deliberated on the reappointment of each country’s ambassadors to their respective capitals, signaling a move to restore diplomatic normalcy. Jilani also invited Abdollahian to visit Islamabad.

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