Dubai: Pakistan army has called on Iran to observe principles of ‘non-interference, mutual respect and equality’ in relations with Pakistan.

Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa spoke to Iranian Chief of Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Bagheri on Monday after six soldiers including a major from the Pakistan army were killed in a terrorist attack while patrolling the Pak-Iran border on Friday.

ISPR Statement

A statement issued by the Pakistan army’s media wing -- Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) says that Gen Bajwa told the Iranian commander during his telephone call that Pakistan desires “for regional peace and stability on basis of mutual respect, non-interference and equality”.

“Chief of Army Staff General Bajwa expressed concerns on recent terrorist attack on Pak security forces resulting in Shahadat [martyrdom) of six security personnel near Pak-Iran border. Both Commanders resolved to enhance security measures on either side of the border.

“The COAS said that Pakistan has started fencing the border but will require mutual bilateral cooperation to ensure border security and stem smuggling activity, which is also used by terrorists and Narco traffickers for covering their movement. Both also discussed COVID- 19 and need to improve border terminals to address such issues. “

Baloch Separatists

Gen Bajwa also told Gen Bagheri to take action against Baloch separatists, who have allegedly taken up refuge on Iranian soil.

Pakistani security agencies believe that over the past few years Iranian intelligence services have forged ties with Baloch separatists to counter Iranian militants, who are allegedly having sanctuaries in Pakistan. This has widened trust deficit between the two countries, making the ethnic Baloch insurgencies on both sides of the border murkier, reported Dawn news.

“Both commanders resolved to enhance security measures on either side of the border,” the ISPR said.

Pakistan and Iran have in the past agreed on a number of border mechanisms, which improved the border security situation, but occasionally incidents happen that further strain the relations between the uneasy neighbours.

Pak-Iran Border Fence

Pakistan is erecting a border fence along the 909 km border with Iran to check the movement of militants, smugglers, and other criminals. Last month, the Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet had allocated Rs 3 billion for the construction of fence.

The two generals also discussed COVID-19 and underscored the need for improving border terminals to deal with the pandemic.

Earlier this week, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had said that Tehran, because of its crumbling health system, pushed nearly 5,000 Pakistanis across the border after the start of the Coronavirus pandemic in Iran.