ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office asked Iran on Friday not to ‘externalise’ its problems, but focus on fighting militancy at home.

“It is not helpful to externalise problems. We need to focus on eliminating terrorism from our countries,” Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said at the weekly media briefing.

She was responding to Iranian threat of hot pursuit of militants allegedly launching cross-border attacks on Iran’s border posts from their sanctuaries in Balochistan province of Pakistan.

Also read: Analysis: Pakistan and Iran: Friends or foes?

Militants belonging to Jaishul Adl have stepped up attacks on Iranian posts along Pakistan-Iran border over the past fortnight. The attacks prompted Iranian officials to ask Pakistan to control the activity on its border or allow them (Iranian border guards) to take action.

“The Pakistani government has practically no control over the border areas, and if they really cannot control the common border, they should tell us so that we ourselves can take action,” an Iranian official was quoted by Iranian media as having said.

Ms Aslam did not outrightly deny cross-border activity and asked Iran to share available evidence with Pakistan.

“There may be cross-border activities or other transnational crimes like narcotic and drug trafficking,” she said. “We believe that if Iran has evidence that elements from Pakistan are involved in activities against Iran, they should share it with us”.

The spokesperson asked Tehran to use the border management committee of the two countries for investigating the allegations.

“With Iran, we have mechanisms like the border management committee.

We have mechanisms which can investigate such events as was done in the past when the Iranian guards were kidnapped and released inside Iran,” she maintained.

But at the same time she challenged Iranian account of the events and said information available with Pakistan suggests that the incidents took place inside Iranian territory and were carried out by Iranian militants.

Emphasising on counter-terrorism cooperation between the two countries she said that Pakistan and Iran were neighbours who shared a long border and both had been affected by the events in this region.

Responding to another question about terrorists’ safe havens along the Pak-Afghan border, the spokesperson said: “We are against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We are also determined not to allow our territory to be used against any other country. We expect that other countries would also not allow their territories to be used against Pakistan. It is a two way responsibility.”

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2014

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