In a telephone call to their Pakistani counterparts, Iran’s armed forces’ chief of staff and interior minister have called for the swift release of 14 Iranian military personnel and punishment of those responsible for abducting them.
“Based on agreements [signed] between the armed forces of the two countries to ensure security of common borders, we expect the Pakistani armed forces to adopt the necessary preparations and push for the immediate release of the abducted [Iranian] soldiers and border guards,” state-run Young Journalists’ Club (YJC) cited IRGC Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri as saying in a phone call with his counterpart, Pakistani Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, on October 19.
Baqeri also called on Pakistan to take “immediate and severe” action to arrest the “terrorists” behind the abductions.
The senior Iranian commander stressed the importance of strengthening the presence of Pakistani security forces along the common border to promote security and prevent acts of terror, YJC reported.
Bajwa, for his part, briefed his Iranian counterpart on the latest development concerning the abducted Iranians. He expressed hope that the measures carried out by Pakistani security forces would secure the arrest of those responsible and the release of the Iranian forces as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Iranian Interior Minister AbdolRahman Rahmani Fazli also called his Pakistani counterpart, Shehryar Afridi, on October 20 to follow up on the case of the abducted Iranian border guards, who were taken across the border into Pakistan by a terrorist group on October 16.
Shehryar Afridi assured Rahmani Fazli that Pakistani reconnaissance planes were monitoring the suspects and are cooperating with Iranian forces on the matter.
On October 17, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had talked to his Pakistani counterpart, calling for Islamabad’s action to release the hostages and arrest the kidnappers.
A Sunni Baluch armed group, Jaish ul-Adl or Jaish al-Adl (the Army of Justice), which is said to be based in Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the abduction on its Twitter account.
IRGC Chief Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari has said the Iranian border guards were first drugged and then kidnapped.
Jaish ul-Adl, which claims to be fighting for the Sunni Baluch minority’s rights in Iran, has repeatedly attacked Iranian border guards, killing or taking them hostage in Iran’s second-largest province, Baluchestan, bordering Pakistan.
Iranian authorities maintain that Jaish ul-Adl is a terrorist group related to “foreign governments.”