PM, FM cut short foreign visits; Pakistan’s action against terrorists, not Iran: FO

Islamabad: Foreign Office Thursday said that Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar and Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani had cut short their foreign visits in light of the developments, hours after Pakistan carried out a strike targeting the terrorists’ hideouts in Iran.

FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, in her weekly briefing, told the media that Pakistan’s action was against the terrorist outfits, not Iran as it desired peaceful relations with the neighborly country and always sought to address the challenges through dialogue.

“Pakistan fully respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The sole objective of today’s act was in pursuit of Pakistan’s own security and national interest which is paramount and cannot be compromised,” she reiterated her remarks already issued a short after Pakistan carried out a series of “highly coordinated” and “specifically targeted” precision military strikes in Siestan-o-Baluchistan province of Iran.

She said the prime minister who was currently in Davos to attend the World Economic Forum and the foreign minister attending NAM Summit and Third South Summit in Uganda, have cut their visits short “in view of the ongoing developments.” Asked about any third-party mediation to de-escalate the situation, she said that she was not aware of any such development. She said Pakistan considered the Iranian people as friends and brothers and had no interest in escalating the situation and hoped that “our adversaries understand this”. Pakistan had always chosen the path of dialogue and would continue to engage with neighbours including Iran to ensure peace prevailed, she remarked.

She said that ‘Marg Bar Sarmachar’ was an Intelligence-based operation that killed a number of terrorists. The spokesperson told the media that over the last several years, Pakistan had consistently shared its serious concerns and shared multiple dossiers with concrete evidence about the safe havens and sanctuaries enjoyed by Pakistani-origin terrorists calling themselves Sarmachars on the ungoverned spaces inside Iran. “However, because of lack of action on our serious concerns, these so-called Sarmachars continued to spill the blood of innocent Pakistanis with impunity. This morning’s action was taken in light of credible intelligence of impending large-scale terrorist activities by these so-called Sarmachars,” she remarked.

She said the action was also a manifestation of Pakistan’s unflinching resolve to protect and defend its national security against all threats besides being a testimony to the professionalism of the Pakistan Armed Forces. “Pakistan will continue to take all necessary steps to preserve the safety and security of its people which is sacrosanct, inviolable and sacred… Pakistan will never allow its sovereignty and territorial integrity to be challenged, under any pretext or circumstances.” Spokesperson Baloch said as a responsible member of the international community, Pakistan upheld the principles and purposes of the UN Charter including territorial integrity and sovereignty of member states. “Absolutely not” was the spokesperson’s response when asked whether the Iranian side had given prior intimation before violating Pakistan’s airspace.

She said Pakistan had remained engaged with Iran on multiple subjects like trade and energy citing the Mand-Pishin border market and Polan-Gabd transmission line, but it was “surprising what happened two days ago.” Coming to the Gaza situation, she said January 14, 2024 marked a painful milestone for the human conscience. “It was the 100th day of Israel’s war on Palestine, which has taken over 24,000 lives in Gaza – a toll that is escalating with each passing day. The indiscriminate violence by Israel has to end. Humanity must prevail. The international community must play its part in saving the people of Palestine from the barbaric acts of the occupation authorities.”

She also mentioned three massacres committed by the Indian forces in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) in January during 1990s including Gaw Kadal, Handwara town and Kupwara town in which around 100 people were martyred. Paying rich tribute to the martyrs of the massacres and calling for action against the perpetrators, the spokesperson reiterated that Pakistan would continue to extend political, diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiri brothers and sisters for the just and peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions.