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How Unidentified Gunmen’s Attack on Pakistani Workers in Iran Adds to Regional Tensions

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In a tragic turn of events, unidentified gunmen attacked and killed nine Pakistani workers in the restive southeastern border area of Iran on Saturday, amplifying tensions between the two nations. The incident comes just days after both countries engaged in tit-for-tat missile strikes, heightening concerns about the fragile security situation in the region.

Pakistan’s ambassador to Tehran, Muhammad Mudassir Tipu, expressed deep shock over the horrifying killing on the X platform. He pledged full support to the bereaved families and called upon Iran to extend cooperation in addressing the matter. Iranian state media reported that police are actively searching for the three gunmen who managed to escape after the shooting.

The victims, identified as Pakistani laborers, were residing at an auto repair shop where they were employed, according to Baluch rights group Haalvash. Additionally, three individuals sustained injuries during the attack. While no individual or group has claimed responsibility for the shootings in Saravan, in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province, the incident is being widely condemned.

Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch denounced the act, calling it horrifying and despicable. She highlighted ongoing communication with Iranian authorities, emphasizing the immediate need for an investigation and accountability for those involved. This incident unfolds as Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian is scheduled to visit Pakistan on Monday.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani expressed condemnation for the shootings, underscoring the shared commitment of Iran and Pakistan to prevent external elements from damaging their brotherly ties. The two nations have been actively working to restore and strengthen relations, with the recent exchange of missile strikes aimed at purported militant targets.

State media reported that the Pakistani and Iranian ambassadors were returning to their respective postings after being recalled in the wake of last week’s missile strikes. The border region between Iran and Pakistan, despite occasional tensions, is considered crucial for economic exchanges. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi emphasized the need to protect the Iran-Pakistan border against any insecurity during a meeting with Ambassador Mudassir Tipu.

The Sistan-Baluchestan region, where the incident occurred, has been a longstanding hotspot for sporadic clashes between security forces and separatist militants. Additionally, the area is a notorious route for smugglers transporting opium from Afghanistan, the world’s leading producer of the drug.

Fuel smuggling has also been a recurring issue, as Iran boasts some of the lowest fuel prices globally. Despite efforts by Iranian border guards to crack down on illegal activities, fuel-smuggling to neighboring Pakistan and Afghanistan persists.

As the investigation into the tragic incident unfolds, both nations face the challenge of maintaining regional stability and security. The recent developments underscore the complexity of the geopolitical landscape in the region and the need for sustained diplomatic efforts to address shared concerns.

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