Tehran mediating between Pakistan, India

March 5, 2019 - 21:58

TEHRAN – Iran has been acting as mediator to help settle a dispute between Pakistan and India which has intensified over the past few weeks.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday told the Islamic Consultative Assembly News Agency (ICANA) that he had talked to his Pakistani counterpart as well as Indian officials “to do what can be done”.

“For this situation to go on is not expedient for the region,” the Iranian top diplomat observed.

At least eight civilians and two soldiers have been killed in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir since tensions soared following India’s airstrike on February 26 inside Pakistan. India said the strike targeted militants behind a February 14 suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed more than 40 Indian troops.

Pakistan retaliated, shooting down a fighter jet on February 27 and detaining its pilot, who was returned to India on Friday. India, in turn, on Saturday handed over the body of a Pakistani civilian prisoner beaten to death by inmates in a jail in India last week. The man, Skahir Ullah, was buried on Sunday in his home village of Sialkot in Punjab province.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan practically since their independence from British rule in 1947. The two countries each claim Kashmir in its entirety and have fought two of the three wars between them over it.

The rivals struck a cease-fire deal in 2003 but regularly trade cross-border fire.

‘Iran-Pakistan border issue discussed’

In the same interview, Zarif said that he and his Pakistani counterpart also discussed terrorist ventures into Iran which are regularly launched from the Pakistani territory.
“The Pakistanis have said they will take any measures so that problems of the past are not repeated,” he noted.

A car laden with explosives hit a bus carrying members of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps in the country's far southeast on February 13, killing 27 border guards and injuring 13 others.

The suicide attack against the IRGC took place on a highway near the city of Zahedan, close to Iran’s borders with Pakistan.

Following the attack, Iranian Deputy Interior Minister Hossein Zolfaghari said the Pakistani government had not met Iran’s expectations in countering terrorism.

Zolfaghari said Pakistanis have taken some actions, however they are not enough.

Last week, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, said “despite efforts by some negative elements,” relations between Iran and Pakistan are growing stronger.

Talking on Dunya TV broadcast on Saturday, he said security cooperation between Iran and Pakistan continues to grow.

The chief Pakistani diplomat said his country strongly condemned the terrorist attack in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province and also felt the pain of Iranians.


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