Pakistan recalls ambassador to Iran over airstrikes

(Update 1: adds Pakistan’s recall of ambassador to Iran, suspension of high-level visits, changes head, lede)

Islamabad, Jan 17 (EFE).- Pakistan on Wednesday summoned its ambassador in Tehran and announced the suspension of all high-level visits with Iran in response to Iranian airstrikes in its territory.

“This illegal act is completely unacceptable and has no justification whatsoever (…) We have also informed them that Pakistan has decided to recall its ambassador from Iran and that the Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan who is currently visiting Iran may not return for the time being,” Pakistani foreign ministry spokesperson Mumtaz Zahrah Baloch said in a statement.

“We have also decided to suspend all high level visits which were ongoing or were planned between Pakistan and Iran in coming days,” she added.

The decision occurs a day after Iran conducted missile and drone strikes against targets of the militant group Jaish-ul-Adl in Balochistan province in southwestern Pakistan.

“Last night’s unprovoked and blatant breach of Pakistan’s sovereignty by Iran is a violation of international law and the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,” the spokesperson said.

She also warned that Pakistan “reserves the right to respond to this illegal act.”

Earlier in the day, Pakistan said that the Iranian airstrikes on its territory had killed two children and warned Tehran of “serious consequences” for the attack.

The strikes “resulted in the death of two innocent children while injuring three girls,” the Pakistani foreign ministry said, adding that “this violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty is completely unacceptable and can have serious consequences.”

Pakistan called the attack an “illegal act” that took place despite several channels of communication between the two neighboring countries.

“Terrorism is a common threat to all countries in the region that requires coordinated action. Such unilateral acts are not in conformity with good neighborly relations and can seriously undermine bilateral trust and confidence,” the ministry added.

The Iranian airstrikes in Pakistan came less than a day after it attacked Iraq and Syria in the wake of a dual suicide bombing that killed over 90 people earlier this month in the city of Kerman in the southeast of the country.

The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Islamabad-Tehran relations have been strained in recent years due to cross-border attacks by Pakistani militants. EFE


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