Better border vigilance

Published April 9, 2015
Pakistan needs to improve security in sensitive border regions to ensure its soil is not used by terrorist groups.—AP/File
Pakistan needs to improve security in sensitive border regions to ensure its soil is not used by terrorist groups.—AP/File

IT is a considerable challenge for the government to clamp down on militant groups that terrorise the Pakistani people and attack symbols of the state.

But when such non-state actors, reportedly based in this country, cross borders and commit acts of terrorism in neighbouring states, Pakistan is put in an even more difficult situation.

On Tuesday, a day before the visit of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to Pakistan, militants belonging to the Jaishul Adl outfit reportedly crossed the border from Balochistan and attacked security personnel inside Iran, killing at least eight border guards.

Take a look: Eight Iranian guards killed in ‘Jaish-ul-Adl’ attack

While we cannot definitively say the ambush was planned to coincide with Mr Zarif’s visit, the timing was ironic — and embarrassing — for Pakistan.

Iranian officials claim the militants crossed back into Pakistan and the seriousness of the incident can be gauged by the Iranian foreign ministry’s statement that border security would also be on Mr Zarif’s agenda in Islamabad.

The Iranian government also lodged a protest with Pakistani diplomats in Tehran on Wednesday.

Such cross-border incidents are among the major irritants that stand in the way of improved relations between Islamabad and Tehran.

This is not the first attack of its kind, as militants carried out a similarly deadly raid in 2013, while Iranian guards have also been kidnapped in the past by militants reportedly based in Pakistan.

Along with creating a rift between both countries through such activities, militants belonging to groups such as Jundallah and Jaishul Adl are also believed to be involved in sectarian violence inside Pakistan.

Therefore, to maintain its obligations to its neighbour and for its own security, it is imperative for Pakistan to seriously tackle the issue of cross-border militancy.

While there have been several militant attacks that have affected bilateral relations negatively, there have also been occasions where Pakistani authorities have played a major role in tracking down anti-Iran militants.

Among these was the capture of Abdul Salam Reki of Jundallah earlier this year, who was apprehended by local security forces from a bus near Quetta. His capture proved that concerted, intelligence-based efforts can neutralise such violent elements.

Some security experts have also called for the reformation of the ‘A’ and ‘B’ policing areas in the districts bordering Iran.

Pakistan will need to work with Tehran and improve security in sensitive border regions to ensure its soil is not used by terrorist groups to cause trouble across the border.

Published in Dawn, April 9th, 2015

On a mobile phone? Get the Dawn Mobile App: Apple Store | Google Play

Opinion

Editorial

Miftah’s misery
Updated 06 Jul, 2022

Miftah’s misery

It cannot be easy to be finance minister in times like these, with friend and foe alike gunning for you over difficult decisions.
Phone tapping
06 Jul, 2022

Phone tapping

IT is the season of audio leaks. No sooner does one ‘incriminating’ clip lose its shock value than another...
Transgender job quota
06 Jul, 2022

Transgender job quota

IN a society where transgender persons often face violence and abuse, the Sindh Assembly’s decision to reserve a...
Warming ties
05 Jul, 2022

Warming ties

BILATERAL ties with the US are clearly on the mend after an extensive rough patch under the PTI government. While ...
LNG emergency
Updated 05 Jul, 2022

LNG emergency

The problem is that Pakistan does not have sufficient cash at the moment to buy even a single LNG cargo at present prices.
The invisible half
05 Jul, 2022

The invisible half

WHAT better illustrates the Afghan Taliban’s misogynistic and mediaeval worldview than the fact that not a single...