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.