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Pakistan

‘Marg Bar Sarmachar’: Pakistan’s strikes inside Iran kill ‘several terrorists’

  • Military strikes in Iran's Siestan-o-Baluchistan province come a day after Iran’s violation of its airspace which killed two children and injured three girls
Published January 18, 2024

In another dramatic escalation of regional tension, Pakistan said on Thursday that it undertook a series of highly coordinated and specifically targeted precision military strikes against what it called terrorist hideouts in Siestan-o-Baluchistan province of Iran, a little over a day after the neighbour also conducted missile strikes on Pakistani territory.

“A number of terrorists were killed during the Intelligence-based operation – codenamed ‘Marg Bar Sarmachar’,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a press release issued early on Thursday.

Iranian media said several missiles hit a village in the province that borders Pakistan, killing three women and four children, all non-Iranians. IRNA, the state-owned Iranian news agency, later said nine, including three women and four children who did not have Iranian nationality, were killed.

Pakistan’s FO said action was taken in light of credible intelligence of impending large scale terrorist activities by these so called Sarmachars.

“Over the last several years, in our engagements with Iran, Pakistan has consistently shared its serious concerns about the safe havens and sanctuaries enjoyed by Pakistani-origin terrorists calling themselves Sarmachars on the ungoverned spaces inside Iran.

“Pakistan also shared multiple dossiers with concrete evidence of the presence and activities of these terrorists,” FO said.

The strike by Pakistan comes a day after Iran’s violation of its airspace which killed two children and injured three girls.

Meanwhile, in its press release today, FO said that its action “is a manifestation of Pakistan’s unflinching resolve to protect and defend its national security against all threats”.

“The successful execution of this highly complex operation is also 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,” the ministry said.

The statement further said that Pakistan fully respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iran and 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”.

It added that as a responsible member of the international community, Pakistan upholds the principles and purposes of the UN Charter including territorial integrity and sovereignty of member states.

“Guided by these principles, and in exercise of our legitimate rights within international law, Pakistan will never allow its sovereignty and territorial integrity to be challenged, under any pretext or circumstances.”

Iran is a brotherly country and the people of Pakistan have great respect and affection for the Iranian people, the FO added.

“We have always emphasised dialogue and cooperation in confronting common challenges including the menace of terrorism and will continue to endevaour to find joint solutions.”

Pakistan carried out precision strikes in Iran

On Thursday, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that Pakistan carried out precision strikes in Iran using killer drones, rockets, loitering munitions and stand-off weapons.

“In early hours of 18 January 2024, Pakistan carried out effective strikes against hideouts inside Iran used by terrorists responsible for recent attacks in Pakistan,” the ISPR said that in a press release today.

Hideouts used by terrorist organisations Balochistan Liberation Army and Balochistan Liberation Front were successfully struck in an intelligence-based operation, code name ‘Marg Bar Sarmachar’, the press release said.

Pakistan on Wednesday had also announced that it was recalling its ambassador from Iran and expelling the Iranian envoy in response to what it termed unprovoked violation of Pakistani airspace by Iran.

The development came after it was reported that “two bases of Jaish al Adl in Pakistan were targeted by missiles on Tuesday”, according to Iranian state media, a day after Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards attacked targets in Iraq and Syria with missiles.

The strikes took place in the border town of Panjgur in Balochistan, according to reports.

Pakistan called the strikes a violation of its sovereignty, and warned that it could have serious consequences.

Hours before the strike, Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar had met Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

In response to the development on Wednesday, China had urged Pakistan and Iran to show “restraint”.

“We call on both sides to exercise restraint, avoid actions that would lead to an escalation of tension and work together to maintain peace and stability,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning told a regular briefing.

“We consider both Iran and Pakistan as close neighbours and major Islamic countries,” she said.

Both Iran and Pakistan are close partners of Beijing and members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

The latest strikes, however, risk adding to multiple regional crises amid Israel’s aggression in Gaza and pro-Palestinian Houthis’ attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea.

‘Need to restore deterrence’

Michael Kugelman – a leading specialist on Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India, and their relations with the United States – said Pakistan’s retaliation is a bit surprising.

“It’s a bit surprising given that Pakistan is dealing with major domestic turmoil and can’t afford a war or even a rapidly escalating crisis,” Kugelman told Business Recorder via message on Thursday morning.

“But on the other hand, there was clearly a need to restore deterrence especially with Iran having ramped up attacks on anti-Iran outfits around the wider Middle East. In effect not responding kinetically would have raised the risk of further attacks, and soon.”

Not aware of any third-party mediation

The FO later said that it was not aware of any third-party mediation between Iran and Pakistan.

In a press briefing today, FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that the countries have separate channels of communication.

The FO spokesperson added that operational details pertaining to the recent developments would be coming soon from Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).

Baloch said caretaker prime minister Kakar, who is currently in Switzerland for the 54th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), would cut short his trip to Davos, and return to Pakistan in light of “the developments”.

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Comments

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Bk Jan 18, 2024 10:13am
PAK did not have easy options regarding response to Iranian strikes. I hope things won’t escalate and the two countries can sit together to resolve the issues. I don’t trust PAK army, which is a hired gun of the US, and therefore it is not clear if this response was undertaken to please the masters. Either way, Iran is a neighbor, a country we have to live with and it only makes sense to live in peace.
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Sajid Jan 18, 2024 10:24am
what to believe and what to not? pakitani media claiming terroists got killed in iran whereas indian media claiming innocent woman and childeren got killed by pakistani truth truth lies in between??
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Usman Jan 18, 2024 10:27am
Iran is still following the shia ideology of being intolerable to others.They need to stop it.
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Usman Jan 18, 2024 10:29am
Time to hit iran hard.they need to act aginst indina funded terrorists run by people like kalbushan yadav.
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Shahbaz Ali Jan 18, 2024 11:07am
Iran is now acting like a mad dog. Hitting everyone; Iraq, Syria and now Pakistan. Iran claims to be an Islamic Republic, but it has always killed other Muslims. In war with Iraq, in Syria and in civil wars in Lebanon. This was the response which was needed.
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Parvez Jan 18, 2024 11:15am
The American ambassadors visit to our Air Chief is worth noting......let's hope or leaders take steps ONLY in Pakistan's interest.
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Pakistan First Jan 18, 2024 11:25am
@Sajid, they never forget the "fantastic tea" ever. continue the strike until Iran accepts an open apology over its unlawful act
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Dabeer Razvi Jan 18, 2024 11:39am
Response has been correct. Well done.
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Patriot Jan 18, 2024 01:02pm
Its sad how compromised generals are being sucked into a shrewd script written by a third part! These dudes remain cluless about the future implications and outcomes.
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Nic Jan 18, 2024 01:06pm
@Hamid, in 1971 a Syed was incharge too...and country lost its Eastern wing.
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HashBrown® Jan 18, 2024 01:51pm
'“It’s a bit surprising given that Pakistan is dealing with major domestic turmoil and can’t afford a war or even a rapidly escalating crisis,” Kugelman told Business Recorder via message on Thursday morning.' What an idiot. Most Pakistanis wouldn't have been in the least bit surprised by these strikes, so once again this guy has no idea what he's talking about. This is why it's so hard to take European political analysts seriously when it comes to Pakistan...
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KhanRA Jan 18, 2024 02:09pm
Iran made a bad decision - of course Pakistan would strike back. For honour, and with an eye on India and Taliban. The danger for Iran is that the US and Israel have been careful never to strike Iranian territory directly, but now Pakistan has. This leaves the door open for them. It seems religious dictatorships don’t devise good policies.
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KhanRA Jan 18, 2024 02:10pm
@Sajid, India’s media system, which is somehow less free than Pakistan according to world rankings, is a tabloid system that should never be taken seriously.
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Mansoor Ali Khan Jan 18, 2024 02:20pm
Wonder what would have been response if US had launched a similar attack on Pakistan soil from within Afghanistan (as proxy) - a not so unusual occurrence in the not so distant past.
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Imran s Jan 18, 2024 02:33pm
Keep striking, and you will still have the same problem 100 years later. Give people opportunities and financial freedom, no one would care about anything else. But no, in Pakistan only selected, elected and elite are eligible for good life, and some, even after retirement continue to suck blood.
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Mustafa Husain Jan 18, 2024 02:59pm
Euphoria of retaliation. Yes it was impearative to show courage so that no one can consider our air space as a free ride. However, the well justified strikes should be followed up with efforts to normalise relations. Strategic approach now is needed after the act of valour. Iran is not our enemy, we should not make an iota of move to include Iran in the club of nuisance like India. Lets pray, this ends here. Our relations are normalised. Lets understand the compusion of Iran for doing it hours within the joint naval exercise. Let us now talk. Make a joint committee to establish facts and avoid future misadventures.
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Imam Hussain Jan 18, 2024 02:59pm
'Marg Bar Sarmacha' MBS sends kind regards to Iran. Thank you USA
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Johnny Walker Jan 18, 2024 02:59pm
I see that some Bharati trolls are quiet. Perhaps they are sipping tea.
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Haq Jan 18, 2024 03:09pm
Iran (& it's proxies Houthis, Hezbollah...) us being threatening Israel & US for over 45 years. Whereas Hamas single handedly challenges & successfully defeated Israeli (entire reserve force), US / UK combined & force them to retreat, with heavy losses. Instead of engaging arch rival Israel / US, Iran & it's proxies are attacking Iraq (which also recalled it's ambassador), Syria & now Pakistan. Blocking Red Sea through Houthis & targeting ships in Arabian Sea.... Iran is distracting World focus from Israel's massacre & genocide if Palestinans & expanding war zone, from Arabian to Mediterranean sea (entire Middle East) !
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Anonymous Jan 18, 2024 04:40pm
Seems like a calculated game of sectarian divide because the player knows that we are a nation of sentiments. If it is to please someone, be aware that we are increasing our enemies at the cost of national sovereignty.
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