New Delhi: A day before the heinous attack in Pulwama in which at least 40 CRPF personnel were killed, 27 Iranian Revolutionary Guards were killed in a southern Iranian province which borders Pakistan. This prompted Iranian elite security chief Maj. Gen. Mohammed Ali Jafari to warn Pakistan Saturday that it would “pay a heavy price” for harbouring terrorists on its soil.
The modus operandi in the Sistan-Baluchistan province in Iran seems eerily similar to that used in Pulwama. In Iran, the Revolutionary Guards were returning from the Iran-Pakistan border area when a car filled with explosives blew up beside their bus on the Khash-Zahedan road, reported the BBC.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are an elite security force, which was at the forefront of toppling the Shah 40 years ago and ushering in an Islamic republic.
In Pulwama, a car carrying 60 kg of explosives rammed into a CRPF convoy, killing at least 40 personnel. Several more have been wounded.
‘Pakistan will pay a high price’
Jafari, the Revolutionary Guards chief, speaking at a funeral ceremony in front of a vast crowd mourning the victims in Isfahan Saturday, said: “Why do Pakistan’s army and security body… give refuge to these anti-revolutionary groups? Pakistan will no doubt pay a high price,” Jafari said in remarks live on state television.
“If Pakistan does not carry out its responsibilities, Iran reserves the right to confront threats on its borders… based on international law and will retaliate to punish the terrorists,” Jafari was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.
Jafari also warned Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE for backing terrorism in Pakistan. All three countries deny their involvement in the Iran attacks.
“The treacherous Saudi and UAE governments should know that Iran’s patience has ended and we will no longer stand your secret support for these anti-Islam criminals.”
Jaish al-Adl also ‘arm of ISI’
Indian authorities believe the Jaish-e-Mohammad, which claimed responsibility for Pulwama, is the attack arm of the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, while Iranian authorities have similar views of the Jaish al-Adl, which claimed it carried out the attack.
This is not the first time that Iranian security forces have allegedly been targeted by Pakistan-based terror groups.
On 28 October 2018, the Jaish al-Adl abducted 14 soldiers of the Revolutionary Guards, five of whom were released a month later after Pakistani authorites intervened.
The Jaish al-Adl seeks greater rights and better living conditions for the ethnic minority Baloch who live in the Iranian region where the attack took place.
Response from Pakistan
In Pakistan, Mushahid Hussain, Senator of the Pakistan Muslim League political party, tweeted acknowledgement of the sentiments in Iran:
“Pakistan too, must set its own house in order: not allow its territory to be used against any other country, esp in the context of Iran’s current complaint, following last November’s freeing of 5 Iranian soldiers who were kidnapped/held captive by terror groups on Pakistan soil.”
On the Pulwama attack, though, Hussain took a completely different tack:
“Talk of double standards! US has the gall to talk of India’s ‘right of self defence on cross border terrorism’ while maintaining total silence on Kashmiri people’s right of self-determination as well as Indian RAW sponsored act of terrorism against Chinese Consulate in Karachi.”
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