GP Short Notes

GP Short Notes # 798, 19 January 2024

Iran-Pakistan Crisis
Dhriti Mukherjee

What were the Pakistani leaders’ response?
Pakistani leaders, both government officials and political party heads, have strongly condemned the Iranian attack.
On 18 January, President Arif Alvi asserted that Pakistan, which “fully respects” the sovereignty of other countries, would take “all necessary measures to defend its soil.”
Also on 18 January, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan said that Caretaker Prime Minister Anwarul Haq Kakar, upon cutting short his visit to Davos, convened an emergency meeting of the Cabinet Committee on National Security on the matter.

On the same day, the Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Baloch officially acknowledged the pre-emptive nature of Pakistan’s response, saying that it was “a testament to Pakistan’s unwavering dedication to safeguarding national security against all forms of threats.” Baloch also expressed disapproval of Iran’s alleged indifference to Pakistan’s warnings regarding militant havens.

Pakistan’s major political parties also strongly criticised Iran. PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif described the attack as going against the spirit of “friendship and principles of good neighbourliness” that are shared between the two countries. PTI leader Zulfi Bukhari said that the “audacious” strikes were a threat to regional stability, and warned that there would be “repercussions.” Imran Khan placed blame on the previous Pakistani governments for their failed foreign policy on Kabul and Tehran. PPP senator Sherry Rehman clarified Pakistan’s reaction as a show of “strategic maturity,” saying that Pakistan would “obviously have to respond” to aggression.
What was the Pakistani media’s response?
The Pakistani media’s response to the cross-border highlighted the potential consequences of Tehran’s actions and how the events could lead to a decline in diplomatic relations. Editorials across local news agencies emphasized the ill-timing and poor decision-making on Iran’s part, with an 
analysis in The Friday Times describing the violation of Pakistan’s territorial integrity as a “poor call at multiple levels.” The analysis further illustrated that considering the war in Gaza, which requires all countries supporting Palestinians to come together, Iran’s “irresponsible act of aggression” was a major “fiasco.”
The simmering tensions between the two countries was also brought to light, with the media pointing out that both countries have been dealing with violent non-state actors in the border region for years. An 
editorial in The Express Tribune held that Pakistan’s retaliation was “on the cards,” considering that these attacks were unprecedented given the “friendly” nature of Iran. It went so far as to justify the Pakistani aggression, describing it as a “proportionate and precise” response that Pakistan should not be taken for granted.
However, an 
editorial in Dawn stressed the need for de-escalation in order to prevent a “spiralling” for conflict. Increasing tensions through counter-attacks would be against the interests of both countries, and focus should thus be placed on discussions to “prevent further acrimony.”
What was the international response?
Iranian officials responded by stressing on their commitment to self-defence under international law. Iran’s Ambassador to the UN, Amir Saeid Iravani, justified the actions, citing the “inherent right of self-defence.” Iravani added that Iran’s actions against anti-Iran terrorist groups were a “necessary and proportionate” response to the “recent heartbreaking terrorist attacks in Kerman” which killed over 100 civilians. Iran’s Foreign Ministry also responded to Pakistan’s attacks by drawing a line between Pakistan and armed terrorist groups, saying that Iran would not allow “foes to strain” relations between Iran and Pakistan. The ministry expected that Pakistan would not allow “terrorist groups” to operate on its soil, and thus called Iran’s attacks as an “inherent duty of Iran’s border guards.”
United Nations
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern over the military strikes between Iran and Pakistan, urging both nations to “exercise maximum restraint to avoid a further escalation of tensions.”He highlighted the need for addressing security concerns through peaceful means, emphasizing “dialogue and cooperation” based on principles of “sovereignty, territorial integrity, and good neighbourly relations.”
The US
The US condemned Iran’s strikes in Pakistan, Iraq, and Syria, with the State Department noting Iran’s violation of regional sovereignty. The White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby stated that the US did not want to see a conflict between “two well-armed nations.” The US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller urged restraint, affirming Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally. US President Joe Biden also acknowledged regional tensions, saying that it proved how “Iran is not particularly well-liked in the region.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova expressed regret over the situation, stating that aggravation would benefit “those who are not interested in peace, stability, and security in the region.” India acknowledged the matter as between Iran and Pakistan, expressing an understanding of “actions that countries take in their self-defense.” Turkey called for restraint and common sense, emphasizing resolution through friendship based on mutual respect for sovereignty. The Taliban foreign ministry advocated for diplomatic and dialogical dispute resolution between Iran and Pakistan.
To Read More:
Shamini Velayutham, '
Iran attacks alleged terror bases in Pakistan', Pakistan Reader, 17 January 2024
Rohini Reenum, '
Pakistan strikes back: Retaliatory missile attacks on Iran', Pakistan Reader, 18 January 2024

Kamran Yousaf, “
De-escalation imminent as friends engage in hectic diplomacy,” The Express Tribune, 19 January 2024;
Kalbe Ali, “
Major leaders laud ‘tit-for-tat’ strikes in Iran,” Dawn, 19 January 2024;
Baqir Sajjad Syed & Saleem Shahid, “
Counterstrike on militant hideouts in Iran evens score,” Dawn,19 January 2024;
Bilateral breakdown,” Dawn, 19 January 2024;    
Proportionate response,” The Express Tribune, 19 January 2024;
Iran-Pakistan strikes: US criticises Tehran; China, Russia call for maximum restraint,” The Indian Express, 19 January 2024;
Malik Asad &Zulqernain Tahir, “
Condemnations pour in over Iran attack in Panjgur,” Dawn, 18 January 2024;
World News in Brief: Iran-Pakistan airstrikes, Sudan war crimes probe, AI and healthcare, human rights in global finance,” UN News, 18 January 2024;
Ejaz Haider, “
Iran’s Aggression is a Folly at all Levels,” The Friday Times, 18 January 2024;
Bilateral breakdown,” Dawn, 19 January 2024;
Iran condemns Pakistan’s drone attack, calls the move unbalanced and unacceptable,” Tehran Times, 18 January 2024;
Iran respects Iraq, Pakistan territorial integrity: FM,” Tehran Times, 17 January 2024;
Iran says national security will be safeguarded regardless of limits,” Tehran Times, 17 January 2024;
Iran defends counterterrosim efforts against Takfiri, Israeli targets,” Tehran Times, 17 January 2024

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