Thu. Feb 22nd, 2024

In response to recent air strikes exchanged between Pakistan and Iran in the border region of Baluchistan, Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has called for an emergency security meeting slated for today.

The military actions occurred this week, targeting militant installations in a region already strained by heightened tensions from the Israel-Hamas conflict. On Tuesday, Iran launched a missile and drone attack on what it deemed “terrorist” targets within Pakistan, prompting a retaliatory strike by Pakistan on Thursday.

In the aftermath, Pakistan has taken diplomatic measures, recalling its ambassador from Tehran and preventing Iran’s envoy, currently abroad, from returning to Islamabad. The international community, including the United Nations and the United States, has urged both nations to exercise restraint. China has also offered mediation in an attempt to de-escalate the situation.

The National Security Committee meeting, summoned by the Prime Minister, is set to include top military and intelligence officials. Chief of Army Staff and the head of intelligence services are expected to attend, addressing the gravity of the situation. Prime Minister Kakar, who curtailed his participation in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, heads a caretaker government navigating pre-election challenges marked by allegations of rigging.

The strikes have left a collective toll of 11 casualties, predominantly women and children, on both sides of the border. In the bordering Panjgur district, residents, with limited access to communication, learned of the events from visiting security officials. Villagers now fear potential border closures, jeopardizing trade with Iran that sustains the region’s economy and supplies essential goods.

Amid these developments, concerns rise over the impact on Baluch separatists, engaged in a prolonged insurgency against Pakistani authorities for a more equitable share of mineral resources.

Human rights groups have criticized the military’s response to the insurgency, citing enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings. Additionally, militancy has surged along Pakistan’s northern border with Afghanistan, following the Taliban’s return to power in 2021.

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