Pakistan forms border commission with Iran after threat

Anadolu Agency– Commission comes after Iranian army chief earlier this week threatened to bomb alleged militant hideouts inside Pakistan

Pakistan has announced the formation of a joint border commission with Iran to curb cross-border “movement of terrorists”, just days after the Iranian army chief threatened to bomb militant hideouts allegedly inside its nuclear-armed neighbor.

Speaking to reporters in the capital Islamabad on Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz said the first meeting of the commission, which comprises of four members from each side, would be held within a month, either in Iran or Pakistan.

Last week, the two sides had agreed to form the commission during a meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in Islamabad that came after the death of Iranian border guards at the hands of militants along the Pak-Iran border.

Tehran had blamed the militant group — Jaish-e-Adl — for carrying out the attack allegedly from the Pakistani side of the border. Iranian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Mohammad Baqeri then threatened to bomb the militant hideouts inside Pakistan if Islamabad did not take action against them.

The threat led to Pakistan summoning the Iranian ambassador to Islamabad to lodge a protest over the remarks, which said such comments went against the “spirit of brotherly relations existing between the two countries”.

Aziz said a large number of militants loyal to Jaish-e-Adl, which has been involved in attacks on government forces in Iran’s Sunni-majority Sistan-Baluchistan province in the recent past, were also present on the Iranian side of the border.

“Smugglers and other elements are also present along the Pak-Iran border. Terrorists can enter Pakistan from Iran as well,” he said and added: “Iran and Afghanistan are not enemies of Pakistan”.