QUETTA: Iran closed the trade gate at its border with Pakistan on Thursday because of security concerns in the aftermath of the killing of 26 pilgrims in Mastung on Tuesday.
The Iranian authorities first closed the gate and then informed the Pakistani border officials about their action. They did not indicate how long they planned to keep the gate closed but said that the passengers visiting Iran legally would be allowed to do so.
It is the third time this year that Iran has closed the gate, leading to suspension of all kinds of trade through the border.
Official sources said the decision would render thousands of labourers unemployed.
They also said that Iran had deployed more security personnel at the border after the Mastung incident.
Pakistan has also taken measures to ensure security of people crossing the border legally.
Meanwhile, 20 people were arrested near Mastung on Thursday because they were going to Iran without informing the authorities concerned.
Police sources said the detained men belonged to the Hazara community and they had hidden themselves on the roof of a Taftan-bound bus.
They were brought to Quetta for investigation.
The Balochistan government has restricted the movement of pilgrims to Iran and asked travel and transport companies not to take pilgrims to Taftan without permission and security.
The provincial government has assured transport companies of providing security if they inform authorities about the travel plan in advance.
Official sources said that there was no ban on the movement of pilgrims to Iran, but transporters were bound to inform the administration about their travelling programme.
Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani had taken notice of the Mastung incident that claimed 26 lives and directed law enforcement personnel to take measures for ensuring safety of pilgrims.
Meanwhile, police claimed to have arrested about 250 suspects in connection with the Mastung incident.