Iran, Pakistan to set up border 'reaction force' after attacks

Iran and Pakistan will set up a joint border "reaction force" following deadly attacks on their frontier, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced Monday after talks with visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The announcement came during a two-day visit to Iran by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, the first of his tenure.

To secure over 900-kilometer-long (559 miles) border with Iran, Pakistan's foreign minister said, his country has made a decision to fence border with Iran to stop illegal movement and smuggling.

Prime Minister Imran later held a joint press conference with President Rouhani, during which he stated that he fears terrorism could become "a divisive part of the two countries' bilateral relations and increase differences between the countries".

Tehran has stepped up security along its long border with Pakistan after a suicide bomber killed 27 members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards in mid-February in southeastern Iran, with Iranian officials saying the attackers were based inside Pakistan.

"We have shared all information with our Iranian brothers and hope they would take action against these terrorists groups", Qureshi said.

The Sunni jihadist group Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice), which Tehran accused of perpetrating the bombing against its armed forces, is blamed by Pakistan for targeting its troops in its own Balochistan province last week.

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The gunmen who killed 14 members of Pakistan's security forces in the country's south-west earlier this week came from Iran to carry out the attack, officials said Saturday.

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He said though terrorists are making efforts to cause harm to friendly relations between the two countries, Pakistan is determined to fight them. It has also been decided that aerial surveillance of the Pak-Iran border will be done through helicopters, he added. He said Pakistan and Iran enjoy fraternal ties and hoped that Tehran will act against the perpetrators of the incident as assured by his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif in a detailed telephonic conversation with him. Ethnic Baloch people straddle the porous and lengthy Iran-Pakistan border, with many insurgent groups crisscrossing the border to the annoyance of authorities.

Prime Minister Imran, who is in Iran on a two-day official visit, was earlier presented with an official welcome upon his arrival at the Saadabad Palace.

The ambassador said that Karachi needs a circular railway and China is ready to help Pakistan."We need more time to finalise a proper financial package", he added.

Hussain said Pakistan had always walked a tightrope in its relations with Iran and Saudi Arabia, keen to maintain neutrality while staying close to both allies.

During a meeting of high-ranking delegations of Iran and Pakistan, Rouhani said that a new chapter has been opened in Iran-Pakistan relations by Khan's visit to Tehran.

  • Sonia Alvarado