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Issue of Pakistan-Iran Cross Border Terrorism, and its Future Remedies

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Sarah Sajid
Research Analyst on International Affairs

“There’s no difference between a stealth bomber and a suicide bomber. They both kill innocent people for political reason.” (Tony Benn, Former Member of the European Parliament)         

No such definition of terrorism, in historical description is available, under which we can discuss terrorism in a certain vibrant manner. In general context, we depict this term, as a group of marginalized people, having the intention to raise their voice for rights, in which usage of force is viable to terrorize people, for pursuance of their goals, which can be of different types. But here our concern is cross-border terrorism, in which frequent violation of international law and territorial sovereignty of states is observed to get ruptured.

Though, the term of terrorism accentuated, as in consequences of 9/11 attacks which was, in history a second invasion to American sovereignty, (after Pearl Harbor attack of 7th December, 1941), congregated the whole international community under the notion of “War Against terrorism”. As to curb such situation in future, all nations pledged to support the US policy of war against terrorism.

Proceeding this discussion under the relationship of Iran-Pakistan cross border-terrorism, invariably, Iran has a misperception towards Pakistan's provision of safe havens to Anti-Iranian forces. The workings of some outrageous groups, which are provoking such dreadful cross border terrorism practices, are Jaish al-Adl and Jundullah. Jaish Al Adl is a decentralized group, which was founded in 2005, under the leadership of Abdul Malik Rigi. Its basic motives included an orientation of protecting the Sunni minorities in Sistan and Baluchistan and to facilitate all those small groups with arms and ammunition, which are anti-Iranian in nature. They had conducted their first attack in 2005, when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former President of Iran, was visiting Baluchistan, resulting in death of one person. Later on, execution of Abdul Malik took place in 2010 by Iranian authorities. It is said that most of the bases of this group are located in the region of Baluchistan (Pakistan). Though, it was assumed that after the death of Abdul Malik, things would have been changed, but situation got worst as almost three attacks had been conducted by the group. The next insurgent group is Jaish al Adl, about which not much information is available, but it can be said that they came on scene in 2013, as a result of committing acts of abduction and killings of soldiers in the region of Sistan and Baluchistan. Further, it is perceived by the analyst that Jaish Al Adl, is an offshoot of Jundullah, as they share identical goals. Another group, which falls under this category is, Harakat Ansar Iran which differs from Jundullah and Jaish Al Adl in terms of their expanded Sunni jihadist cause through the usage of social media. They have their accounts, on every social website, in English and Arabic.

Hence, keeping in view the horrendous activities which have been done by these groups, we can obtain three lessons for future security issues. Firstly, the marginalization of particular groups provokes sentiments of abhorrence. Such deprivation enables them to challenge the government, giving birth to domestic insurgency. Secondly, Events akin to that, exceeding out from the domestic spheres, ends up in a mushroom impact by influencing other systems too. Thirdly, in case of Pakistan and Iran, not only domestic but the regional security imperatives are also worth considering as vitality of these terrorist organizations is a threat possessed by the whole region. So here, collective expedients are required.

Myriads of cross border attacks have been experienced by Iran and Pakistan, in which large number of rockets were targeted to the region of Panjgur and Mashkel (Pakistan). Such frequent raids are not only violation of International Law, but also play their part in distorting the neighboring relations of both states. Another apprehension is evident, in contemporary scenario, with reference to the collaboration of Jundullah with Lashkar E Jhangvi, and Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan, which are Pakistani based terrorist organization. Such course will certainly give an opportunity and space to these organizations for pursuance of their goals with mutual alliance. Pakistan is seriously working for the development of certain counter strategies to curtail such unpleasant cross border activities. According to the different international newspapers and journals, Rigi's arrest was impossible without the help of Pakistan. If we see the current scenario, in a meeting between Balochistan's chief secretary, Saifullah Chattha and deputy governor of Sistan- Baluchistan, Ali Asghar Sikari, in January 2016, they had discussed the issue of cross border activities and had pledged to take every possible measure to condemn the usage of either state’s soil for such an inhumane purpose. This concluded in the signing of 5 MOUs (Memorandums of understandings), which focused upon cross border activities. The Joint Border Commission of Iran and Pakistan further agreed to establish 5 border markets. The Media, as a fourth pillar of any democratic state, (after judicial, executive and legislative branch), has also been controlled by Pakistan effectively for curtailing it to provoke resentment among her people towards Iran, keeping provision of information, superficially to public.

Likewise, recently, on 25th March, 2016, Iran's President, Hassan Rouhani, paid a visit to Pakistan for the first time in his administration. Here, in meeting with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, discussion on cooperation in defense, commerce, development and shared interests took place between the contending parties. Recently, an Indian intelligence agent, (RAW) has been captured by Pakistan, in the area of Chaman, who was supporting the insurgents from the area of Baluchistan. Significance of Iran for Pakistan is an inevitable fact firstly, due to her provision of a routeway to Middle East, secondly, relaxation of sanction, imposed by USA, as an outcome of Iran’s nuclear program has come up with a ray of hope for the continuation of Iran-Pakistan Pipeline project and a lifeline for economic development, earlier which was facing impediments on its way to progress. As a strategically sensitive state, Pakistan is currently facing turbulence from her eastern (India) and North-Western (Afghanistan) borders, already does not want to put her relations with Iran at stake by creating an inconvenient situation, as result of Pakistan's lack of cooperation and coordination over countering such negative cross border activities. Though sharing of intelligence, consolidation of fiscal ties by signing different trade and commercial agreements, and collective measurements for eliding cross border terrorism can surely give a promising prosperous future to Iran and Pakistan for fortification of their relationship.

More By Sarah Sajid:

*Pakistan: Establishing Balance between Iran and Saudi Arabia: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Pakistan-Establishing-Balance-between-Iran-and-Saudi-Arabia.htm

Photo Credit: IISS, Press TV

*These views represent those of the author and are not necessarily Iran Review's viewpoints.

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