Iran summons Pak envoy over suicide attack

Tehran: Iran on Sunday summoned Pakistan’s ambassador after Tehran accused Islamabad of harbouring the terror outfit responsible for the deadly terror attack on its security forces.

Iran lodged an official protest with Pakistan’s envoy over the suicide attack in Sistan-Baluchestan province that claimed the lives of 27 paramilitary forces.

Iran Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Ghasemi said he “explicitly conveyed” to Pakistani Ambassador Rafat Masoud that Tehran expected Islamabad “to make a serious and decisive action” against the Jaish al-Adl outfit operating in Pakistani. The terror outfit claimed responsibility for the Wednesday’s attack, Al Jazeera reported.

The Iranian government urged Pakistan to take “immediate and necessary measures” to identify and arrest the terrorists of the group, Ghasemi said.

In response, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Sunday that a special delegation will be sent to Tehran to discuss the suicide attack. He promised Pakistan’s “cooperation”, adding that the incident was “regrettable”.

On February 13, a total of 27 members of Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed after an explosive-laden vehicle targetted the bus which was ferrying the military personnel in Khash-Zahedan sector of Sistan-Baluchistan province in south-eastern Iran. The bombing also injured 17 others.

The diplomatic protest came after Iran’s Parliament speaker Ali Larijani asserted that Pakistan should be held accountable for the suicide attack.

“The Pakistani government should be held accountable for this act involving the group orchestrating and conducting the operation from their territory,” he was quoted by Al Jazeera as saying while speaking at Sunday’s session.

Larijani underlined that Islamabad “cannot act irresponsibly”, adding that “such behaviour will severely damage the level of cooperation” between the two nations.

Iran which borders Pakistan share a nearly 1,000 km between the two countries. In recent years, Iran has witnessed several cross-border attacks carried out by Jaish al-Adl and other affiliated groups.

On Saturday, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Aragchchi held a last-minute meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj where the two ministers discussed bilateral ties and close cooperation between the countries to combat terrorism in the region.

Swaraj, who was enroute to Bulgaria, as part of her three-nation tour, had a brief stopover in Iran during which she met with Aragchchi.

“Iran and India suffered from two heinous terrorist attacks in the past few days resulted in big casualties. Today in my meeting with Sushma Swaraj the Indian FM, when she had a stopover in Tehran, we agreed on close cooperation to combat terrorism in the region. Enough is enough!” Araghchi tweeted.

Both India and Iran saw similar suicide attacks targetting their respective paramilitary forces earlier this week.

On February 14, around 40 CRPF personnel were killed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district after a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into their convoy. The attack was orchestrated by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed outfit.

Notably, both Jaish al-Adl and Jaish-e-Mohammed groups are based in Pakistan.