The media and social media audiences are celebrating the big news of India conducting surgical strikes across the LoC but Pakistan is also grappling with why Iran shelled them with mortars at the same time.
Pakistani media reported that Iranian Border Guards fired at least three mortar shells on Pakistani city of Panjgur on Wednesday night. The city is located in restive Balochistan province.
To Pakistan’s shock, the mortar shelling came when Iranian Navy is practicing joint exercises with the Pakistani Navy in Karachi.
No one was hurt in the shelling and no property destroyed. The Pakistani media claims that the shelling violates ceasefire agreement between the two countries.
Following the shelling, Pakistani Frontier Corps – the western counterpart of the Pakistani Rangers that guards the border with India – reached the spot where the shells were fired.
They said that two of the shells landed near a checkpost of the Frontier Corps, and the third at a place called Killi Karim Dad. According to Pak media, Frontier Corps have taken up the matter with Iranian Border Guards. This is not the first time that Iran fired mortars at Pakistan. They fired mortars in Balochistan in 2015 too.
But the question is: why did Iran fire mortars into Pakistan?
Pakistan and Iran share a 900km-long border. Both countries also have an agreement to eliminate terrorism from the border region, which they agreed upon in 2014. Now, Pakistan’s “terrorists” are actually Balochistani rebels. What is to be noted here is that it is mostly Balochistan province that lies next to Iran’s border with Pakistan. The southwestern region of Iran – Sistan – is also claimed by Balochis as part of Balochistan. Iranian authorities have been at odds with those in this Baloch-majority Sunni Muslim region calling for separation from Iran. It is the Balochistan card that Islamabad often plays to strengthen its ties with Tehran.