Airspace violation: Pakistan to recall ambassador from Iran, says FO

Airspace violation: Pakistan to recall ambassador from Iran, says FO

Islamabad (Web Desk/Agencies): Pakistan on Wednesday decided to recall its ambassador from Iran and suspend all high-level visits following the unprovoked violation of its airspace by Iran on Tuesday night.

Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, in apress briefing today, said that Pakistan had also conveyed that the Iranian ambassador to Pakistan who was currently visiting Iran might not return for the time being.

“We have conveyed this message to the Iranian Government. We have also informed them that Pakistan has decided to recall its ambassador from Iran and that the Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan who is currently visiting Iran may not return for the time being,” the spokesperson remarked.

She said that the unprovoked and blatant breach of Pakistan’s sovereignty by Iran was a violation of international law and the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations (UN).

The FO spokesperson said that said that the said the illegal act was completely unacceptable and had no justification whatsoever.

“Pakistan reserves the right to respond to this illegal act. The responsibility for the consequences will lie squarely with Iran,” she said.

The spokesperson said that Pakistan had also decided to suspend all high-level visits which were ongoing or were planned between Pakistan and Iran in the coming days.

The development comes after Tehran targeted the bases of, what it claimed was a terrorist organisation, inside Pakistani territory, "Green Mountain" with drones and missiles, and destroyed the headquarters of the said terrorist group, reported Iranian state media.

“Missiles targeted two bases of Jaish al Adl in Pakistan on Tuesday”, Iranian state media reported, a day after Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards missile strikes hit an “Israeli spy centre” in Iraq and targeted Islamic State militants in Syria.

"These bases were hit and destroyed by missiles and drones," media reports in Tehran said. Iran's Nournews, affiliated with the country's top security body, said the attacked bases were located in the Balochistan province.

However, Pakistan contested Iran’s claims that the strikes destroyed “terrorist hideouts” and strongly protested with the neighbouring country.

In a statement released late Tuesday night, Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch denounced the strikes in Pakistan territory that resulted in “deaths of two innocent children while injuring of three girls”. It termed the incident a “violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty”.

She said that this violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty is completely unacceptable and can have serious consequences.

“It is even more concerning that this illegal act has taken place despite the existence of several channels of communication between Pakistan and Iran,” the statement added.

“Pakistan’s strong protest has already been lodged with the concerned senior official in the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran,” the FO spokesperson said.

Additionally, the statement maintained the Iranian Charge d’affaires has been called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to convey our strongest condemnation of this blatant violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and that the responsibility for the consequences will lie squarely with Iran.

“Pakistan has always said terrorism is a common threat to all countries in the region that requires coordinated action. Such unilateral acts are not in conformity with good neighbourly relations and can seriously undermine bilateral trust and confidence, the FO spokesperson said added.

It is pertinent to mention that Jaish-al-Adl is a militant group established in 2012 and has been operating from Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province. Tehran alleges that the group also has hideouts across the border in Pakistan.