'Marg Bar Sarmachar': Pakistan conducts 'precision military strikes' against terrorist hideouts in Iran

Iran's state news agency confirms seven people "who did not have Iranian nationality" killed in strike

Azaz Syed
Tariq Abul Hasan
Web Desk

Video grab shared by Iranian state media showing smoke billowing following several explosions in Iran’s southeastern province of Siestan-o-Baluchistan province on January 18, 2024. — Press TV
Video grab shared by Iranian state media showing smoke billowing following several explosions in Iran’s southeastern province of Siestan-o-Baluchistan province on January 18, 2024. — Press TV
  • Pakistan shared serious concerns about safe havens: FO. 
  • Says "Sarmachars" continued to spill blood of innocent Pakistanis. 
  • Pak says objective of today’s act was in pursuit of national interest.

ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: Pakistan has targeted terrorist hideouts inside the Iranian border after Iran violated the country’s sovereignty and launched a strike in Balochistan that left two children dead and injured three girls.

"This morning Pakistan undertook a series of highly coordinated and specifically targeted precision military strikes against terrorist hideouts in Siestan-o-Baluchistan province of Iran," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Thursday. 

The statement said a number of terrorists were killed during the intelligence-based operation — codenamed "Marg Bar Sarmachar".

The development came after Tehran claimed it launched "missile and drone" targeting the Jaish al-Adl group's headquarters in Balochistan's "Green Mountain" area. 

Pakistan denounced the strike near the nations' shared border.

"Last night's unprovoked and blatant breach of Pakistan's sovereignty by Iran is a violation of international law and the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations," FO Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said in a statement on Wednesday.

In a statement today, the FO said over the last several years, in our engagements with Iran, Pakistan has consistently shared its serious concerns about the safe havens and sanctuaries enjoyed by Pakistani-origin terrorists calling themselves "Sarmachars" on the ungoverned spaces inside Iran.

Pakistan also shared multiple dossiers with concrete evidence of the presence and activities of these terrorists, it added.

However, because of a lack of action on our serious concerns, these so-called Sarmachars continued to spill the blood of innocent Pakistanis with impunity.

“This morning’s action was taken in light of credible intelligence of impending large scale terrorist activities by these so called Sarmachars,” read the statement.

Islamabad said the action is a manifestation of Pakistan’s unflinching resolve to protect and defend its national security against all threats.

“The successful execution of this highly complex operation is also a testimony to the professionalism of the Pakistan Armed Forces. Pakistan will continue to take all necessary steps to preserve the safety and security of its people which is sacrosanct, inviolable and sacred.”

However, the communique said Pakistan fully respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iran and the sole objective of today’s act was in pursuit of Pakistan’s own security and national interest which is paramount and cannot be compromised.

“As a responsible member of the international community, Pakistan upholds the principles and purposes of the UN Charter including territorial integrity and sovereignty of member states. Guided by these principles, and in exercise of our legitimate rights within international law, Pakistan will never allow its sovereignty and territorial integrity to be challenged, under any pretext or circumstances.”

Terming Iran a brotherly country, the FO said the people of Pakistan have great respect and affection for the Iranian people. 

“We have always emphasised dialogue and cooperation in confronting common challenges including the menace of terrorism and will continue to endevaour to find joint solutions.”

Later, addressing a press conference, FO Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said caretaker Prime Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar will cut short his visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos amid escalating tensions between Pakistan and Iran.

"He has decided to cut short his visit in view of the ongoing developments," she added.

The FO spokesperson also told the briefing that Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the military's media wing, will share the operational details of the strikes later in the day.

A day earlier, hours after Iran's unprovoked attack, Islamabad also downgraded its ties with Tehran, expelled Iran’s ambassador and called back its envoy in Tehran.

Islamabad also announced suspending all high-level visits that were ongoing or were planned between Pakistan and Iran in the coming days.

Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani Wednesday told his Irani counterpart that no country should follow its path of launching an attack on a neighbouring nation's soil against the menace of terrorism unilaterally.

"No country in the region should tread this perilous path," Jilani told Iran’s FM Hossein Amir-Abdollahian during a telephone call hours after Tehran claimed it had targeted "terrorists" in Pakistan.

China, close partners of Iran and Pakistan, urged restraint, with foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning saying both should "avoid actions that would lead to an escalation of tension".

The United States, meanwhile, condemned the Iranian strikes in Pakistan, Iraq and Syria, with State Department spokesman Matthew Miller saying Tehran had violated the "sovereign borders of three of its neighbours in just the past couple of days".

Seven killed in Pakistan’s strikes

An Iranian provincial security official quoted by state news agency IRNA as saying that seven people “who did not have Iranian nationality were killed during Pakistan’s missile attack on the southeastern Iranian city early on Thursday.

The attack which occurred at 04:05 hours local time (0335 GMT) targeted an Iranian border village, Ali Reza Marhamati, the deputy governor general of Sistan-Baluchestan province in southeast Iran told IRNA.

The security official found this after several explosions were heard in the vicinity of Sravan, he added.

Those who were killed included three women and four children, according to the Iranian official.

He went on to say that another explosion occurred near Saravan, fortunately it caused no casualties.

Saravan is located 347km southeast of Zahedan, the capital city of Sistan-Baluchestan, which borders Pakistan.

Pakistan starts ‘strict monitoring’

Amid the escalation of tensions in Islamabad-Tehran ties, Pakistan has started strict monitoring of all flights from the West including Iran, sources told Geo News.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is monitoring air activities over the western border and the authorities have been directed to remain alert regarding all flights coming from the West.

The sources said air traffic control has also been directed to gather details of all Western flights including Iran. Previously, there was no monitoring of flights coming to Pakistan from the West, CAA sources said.

The sources said no directives have been issued to stop commercial flights between Iran and Pakistan.

CAA DG Khaqan Murtaza also confirmed that no decision has been taken yet to close Pakistan's airspace for Iran and no such instructions have been received from the government.

“We are carefully monitoring the situation,” he added.