Ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan's visit to Iran on Sunday (today), Islamabad urged Tehran to take 'visible actions' against Baloch terrorist organisations and their camps on its side soil involved in Ormara terror attack in which 14 personnel of Pakistan Armed Forces were killed. Speaking at a news conference, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Pakistan has credible information and it has shared 'actionable' intelligence with Iran that Baloch terrorist organisations are involved in the Ormara attack.
Qureshi said that 'BRAS', which is the alliance of three Baloch terrorist organisations, have claimed responsibility for this terrorist act. "After confirmation, we have shared with Iran actionable intelligence by identifying the camps of the BRAS on Iranian side. We hope that Iran, being our friendly neighbours, and our Iranian brothers will take visible actions against these Baloch terrorist groups in the similar passion Pakistan took actions and recovered 9 of the 12 abducted Iranian border guards recently," the foreign minister said.
He said that 'specific forensic evidence' that could also be shared with Iran proved that Baloch terrorist organisations based on Iranian side of the border are behind the April 18 terror incident in which 14 personnel of the Armed Forces were gun downed - 10 personnel of Pakistan Navy, three from Pakistan Air Force and one from Coastal Guard.
He also urged Afghanistan to take action against Baloch terror organisations taking shelter on its soil in the same passion Pakistan is supporting and facilitating the Afghan peace process. The statement comes a day ahead Prime Minister Imran Khan is embarking on a two-day official visit to Iran and according to Qureshi, the Prime Minister will also take up the matter at top Iranian level during his visit.
The foreign minister further said that he had also spoken with his Iranian counterpart Jawad Zarif earlier in the day and conveyed to him the sentiments and anger of Pakistani nation over the killing of 14 personnel of the Armed Forces and urged the Iranian side to take action against the anti-Pakistan elements responsible for the attack.
He said that the Iranian foreign minister assured him that Iran not only condemns the terrorist act but also considers it an attack against Iran. "He [Zarif] also assured me that Iran will trace these elements and help Pakistan in giving exemplary punishment to these elements," Qureshi further said.
He said that a number of steps are being taken to secure the border and make it peaceful, adding that fencing the 950 km long Pakistan-Iran border has also been started initially at the mostly misused places.
Responding to a question, he said that Iran has no objection over fencing of the border, adding it is being carried out on the insistence of Iranian side. Qureshi said that the measures include establishment of new Southern Command and new Frontier Corps (FC), besides Pakistan and Iran have also agreed to establish joint border centres to foil the nefarious designs of undesirable elements.
He said that border patrolling and joint border centres will be synchronised and there would also be surveillance through helicopters to better manage the border and have a check on the terrorists' movement. Responding to another query whether Iran knows about the training camps identified by Pakistan to have allegedly been established by Baloch terrorists organisations, Qureshi did not respond specifically, but insisted that those are elements who are 'spoilers' and do not want relations between Pakistan and Iran to enhance further.
To another question about the timing of his presser when the Prime Minister is leaving for Iran on Sunday, as a similar situation arose during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's visit in 2016 after a tweet by ISPR spokesperson, Qureshi avoided to respond, but stated: "Jaanam Samjha Kero [...try to understand]."
However, he said that the visit of the Prime Minister will take place, adding that Iran has a greater importance for Pakistan. "I am aware of the importance Iran has for us, as it is a good neighbouring friend, and I also know about the interests of Pakistan. I am saddened, rather angry over the [Ormara] terror incident...If there would be visible actions on the Iranian side, I am hopeful our relations will further grow," Qureshi added.
To another query if the two sides would agree on joint operations on both sides, he said that the joint border centres will act as coordinated efforts to check and eliminate these elements on both the sides.
To another question, the foreign minister did not rule out the possibility of involvement of India in the recent terror attacks in Balochistan. He said under a planned conspiracy, insurgency is being fanned in Balochistan.
Earlier, the Foreign Office through a letter to Embassy of Iran in Islamabad, urged the Iranian mission to urgently convey Pakistan's concern to the relevant Iranian authorities for a prompt action against these terrorists who had come from Iranian side of the border.
"15-20 terrorists who camouflaged themselves in Frontier Corps (FC) uniform barricaded the road and stopped 3-4 buses travelling from Ormara to Gwadar on the Coastal Highway at Buzi Top in the dawn of April 18 and on the identification of the passengers, shot dead 14 personnel belonging to the Armed Forces of Pakistan. BRAS, which is the alliance of three Baloch terrorist organisations, has claimed responsibility for this terrorist act," the letter reads.
"After the incident, the terrorists who arrived from border region returned to that area," it added. The letter further stated that Pakistan has repeatedly shared intelligence about these activities. "The information about the hubs of these Baloch terrorist organisations in Iran, having training camps and logistics bases across the border, was shared with Iranian intelligence in the recent past, and on a number of occasions earlier," the letter reads. "Unfortunately, no action has been taken by Iran in this regard, to date," the letter stated.