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FM Qureshi briefs Zarif on efforts to recover missing Iranian guards

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Wednesday said Pakistan and Iran have traditionally shared a border of peace and friendship which would be maintained in the same spirit.

The foreign minister had a telephonic conversation with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif to discuss the situation following abduction of Iranian guards near Pakistan-Iran border point of Mirjaveh yesterday.

Expressing his serious concern on the incident, Qureshi said such incidents are handy work of their common enemies unhappy with existing close and friendly relations between the two countries.

He reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment not to allow anyone succeed in such malicious efforts.

FM Qureshi briefed the Iranian foreign minister about the active efforts launched by Pakistan law enforcement agencies to ascertain whereabouts of the missing Iranian guards, in coordination with Iranian military and intelligence counterparts.

It was noted that Directors General Military Operations of both countries were in close contact through hotline to coordinate the search and rescue efforts including enhanced air surveillance and troops deployment in the border area where the incident took place.

Javad Zarif thanked the foreign minister and underscored Iran’s desire to overcome all hurdles jointly with Pakistan in maintaining complete peace along the Pak-Iran border.

14 Iranian security troops missing near Pakistan border

At least fourteen Iranian security forces, including members of the Revolutionary Guards, were reportedly kidnapped on the southeastern border with Pakistan.

Iranian state news agency IRNA cited an official who said the kidnappers were members of a terrorist group. They were kidnapped near Lulakdan border area in Sistan-Balochistan province, which has long been plagued by unrest from both militants and drug smuggling gangs.

In September, the Revolutionary Guards killed four militants at a border crossing with Pakistan, including the second-in-command of Jaish al-Adl, a group that has carried out several attacks on Iranian military targets in recent years.

The Young Journalists Club (YJC), a state-owned news website, said the 14 were involved in “a security operation” and included two members of the elite Revolutionary Guards intelligence unit, seven Basij militiamen and five regular border guards.

An extremist group Jundallah launched a bloody insurgency in the province in 2000 targeting the security forces and officials of Iran’s government.

The campaign peaked with a spate of deadly attacks from 2007, including twin suicide bombings against a mosque that killed 28 people , but abated after the group’s leader was killed in mid-2010.

In 2012, Jundullah members formed a successor organisation called Jaish al-Adl which has carried out a spate of attacks on the security forces.

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