Pakistan cricket in a ‘very disappointing place,’ says ex-team director Mickey Arthur

Islamabad asks Tehran to share investigation details on nine Pakistanis killed in Iran

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said on Thursday it was in contact with Iranian authorities over the killing of nine Pakistani nationals last week and “expecting” Tehran to share details of its investigation into the attack.

No group has claimed responsibility for the killings, which occurred in Saravan in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province on Saturday, ahead of a planned visit this Monday to Pakistan by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian. The Pakistanis, whose bodies have been repatriated, were laborers who lived at an auto repair shop where they worked. 

Iran and Pakistan have been trying to mend ties since both countries traded missile strikes aimed at what they said were militant targets inside each other’s territory earlier this month.

Islamabad and Tehran have for years exchanged accusations of the other turning a blind eye to militants harboring along their shared border.

“With regards to the circumstances of this terrorist attack, our two sides are engaged with each other, and we are in close consultations and we are expecting Iranian authorities to share with us details of these attacks as soon as the investigations are completed,” foreign office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch told reporters at a weekly media briefing in Islamabad.

She said both countries were also engaged over the treatment of those injured in Saturday’s attack. 

Commenting on the Iranian foreign minister’s Pakistan trip this week, she called it an “important visit” in which the two sides reaffirmed their “long-term commitment to bilateral relations.”

“The two sides underlined the imperative for collective and collaborative approaches to confront terrorism, which is a common challenge to both Pakistan and Iran,” the spokesperson said, adding that they had agreed to strengthen institutional mechanisms on security cooperation and appointed liaison officers at border points in Turbat and Zahedan.

“Another significant understanding was the establishment of a Joint Coordination Mechanism at the level of Foreign Ministers to oversee and steer progress on a common agenda for prosperity and development,” Baloch added. 

Baloch also responded to queries regarding the 33rd report submitted to the United Nations Security Council Commi­ttee by the ISIL (aka Daesh) and Al Qaeda/Taliban Monitoring Team in which it was revealed that the Pakistani Taliban had been receiving “significant backing” from Al Qaeda and other militant factions to execute attacks in Pakistan in addition to support from the Afghan Taliban.

Baloch said Islamabad was “very concerned that these individuals and entities have the free hand to attack Pakistan and to sponsor terrorist activities inside Pakistan.”

She urged Afghanistan to take “immediate and effective action” against such groups and hand over their leadership to Pakistan as well as any individuals found to be involved in militant activities inside Pakistan.

Speaking about the ongoing war in Gaza, the spokesperson condemned Israel’s raid inside the Ibn Sina hospital in Jenin in the West Bank in which three Palestinian were killed on Tuesday, one of them lying paralyzed in bed.

“This event is the latest in the series of inhumane war on hospitals which falls in the category of the war crimes perpetrated against the people of Palestine,” Baloch added. 

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