Pakistan asks Iran to enhance border security after attack on soldiers

Pakistani soldiers wearing facemasks stand guard at the closed Pakistan-Iran border in Taftan on Feb. 25. (Files/AFP)
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Updated 12 May 2020

Pakistan asks Iran to enhance border security after attack on soldiers

  • Pakistan army chief stressed measures to stem attacks on Pakistani troops
  • Fencing of Pak-Iran border underway to curb militancy, FO says

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, has asked Iran to enhance border security measures to curb terrorist attacks on Pakistani security forces by militants allegedly operating from Iranian soil.
Gen Bajwa called Chief of the Armed Forces of Iran, Maj Gen Bagheri and discussed an array of issues including border fencing, improvement of border terminals and killing of Pakistani security personnel near the Pak-Iran border, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement on Monday.
“COAS said that Pakistan has started fencing the border but will require mutual bilateral cooperation to ensure border security and stem smuggling activity which is also used by terrorists and Narco traffickers for covering their movement,” the ISPR said. 
Gen Bajwa called his Iranian counterpart in the backdrop of an attack on Frontier Corps patrol team in the Buleda area of Kech district last Friday in which six Pakistani security personnel lost their lives.
The attack, which took place about 14km from the Pak-Iran border, was claimed by the banned Baloch Libera­tion Army.
“The recent terrorist attack on Pak security forces resulting in shahadat of 6 security personnel near Pak-Iran border also came under discussion. Both Commanders resolved to enhance security measures on either side of the border,” the ISPR said.
Pakistani army chief “reiterated country’s desire for regional peace and stability on the basis of mutual respect, noninterference and equality, the military’s media wing said.
Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on April 29 approved 3 billion rupees ($18.6 million) in additional funds for the fencing of its border with Iran.

The Senate of Pakistan was informed by the Frontier Constabulary of Balochistan on May 10, 2019 that the country had started fencing certain areas of the border which are hotspots of smuggling and militant’s movement. More than 900 km border begins at the Koh-i-Malik Salih mountain and ends at Gwadar Bay in the Gulf of Oman.
“The work on Pak-Iran border fencing is underway for last few months for effective border management and to curb smuggling and militant activities,” Pakistan’s foreign office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui told Arab News on Tuesday.
She added that there is no need for a No Objection Certificate from the foreign office for this as it is primarily the decision of the institutions responsible for border management and security.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday also linked the spread of COVID-19 in Pakistan with forceful sending of the pilgrims back from Iran. He said during a National Assembly session that Iran had pushed around 5,000 Pakistani nationals through the border in Balochistan despite Islamabad’s request to wait until coronavirus quarantine facilities were ready for them.
“Fencing Pak-Iran border is very important as it is very difficult to patrol such a long stretch. It can only prove successful in curbing smuggling, narcotics and terrorists’ infiltration if Iran also reciprocates the efforts,” a senior defense analyst, Lt Gen (retired) Amjad Shoaib told Arab News, adding that insurgents and militants’ activities had increased due to heavy Indian presence in Chahbahar.
“The need for border fencing was increased after heavy presence of Indians in Chahbahar which resulted in increase in insurgent activities as they have training camps there. Iran used to accuse Pakistan for infiltration of Jandullah from its side which was effectively eliminated by Pakistan but Iran has not controlled insurgents and militants from using its soil for terrorists activities inside Pakistan,” he said.


Pakistan to establish 18 markets on Afghanistan, Iran borders to boost trade, curb smuggling

Updated 18 September 2020

Pakistan to establish 18 markets on Afghanistan, Iran borders to boost trade, curb smuggling

  • Under the plan, the government will set up 12 markets along the border with Afghanistan and six along the Iran frontier
  • Prime minister approves setting up two border markets in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by February next year

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan government has decided to set up markets along its borders with neighboring Afghanistan and Iran to boost trade opportunities, foster peace and check smuggling, the commerce ministry said on Friday.
Main crossing point into Pakistan for both goods and people from Iran and Afghan also serve as major smuggling routes.
“The border markets will help create job opportunities and establish a peaceful relationship with the neighboring countries,” Aisha Humera Moriani, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Commerce, told Arab News.
Under the plan, the government is establishing 18 markets: 12 along the border with Afghanistan and six along the Iran frontier.
In a meeting on Thursday, Prime Minister Imran Khan approved setting up two border markets in Balochistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province as a pilot project, to be functional by February next year.
Moriani said the markets would contribute to local development and help the government address “smuggling and boost legal trade across the border.”
Pakistan is fencing its borders with Afghanistan and Iran to check cross-border militancy, illegal movement of people and smuggling, which is a major source of income for people living along border towns and villages.
Sardar Shoukat Popalzai, President Balochistan Economic Forum, said the government should have built “common markets” along the Afghanistan and Iran borders with the mutual consent of the neighboring governments to maximize benefits for people on both sides of the borders.
“The government has not released a feasibility report, if there is any, of these markets as to how are they going to help the local population,” he told Arab News.
Popalzai said Balochistan border areas were sparsely populated and establishment of a few shopping terminals would “hardly make any difference in the lives of the people.”
He said cross-border smuggling was a major source of income for people living in the frontier areas of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, so “this requires a lot more effort than mere setting up of markets to check this undocumented economy.”
Zubair Motiwala, chairman of the Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the government should establish cold storages and warehouses in the border markets to boost the export of perishable and other items to the neighboring countries.
“The taxation system on the exports and imports of different items through the land routes should be well defined to encourage businessmen and locals to boost the legal trade with Afghanistan and Iran,” he said.