Diplomats resume duties as Pakistan-Iran relations back on track

Diplomats resume duties as Pakistan-Iran relations back on track

ISLAMABAD: After a brief strain in diplomatic ties following cross-border tensions, the envoys of Pakistan and Iran are set to resume duties in Tehran and Islamabad, respectively, following their arrivals in the capitals, Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said on Friday night.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to Iran Muhammad Muddasir Tipu returned to Pakistan last week, briefly halting the diplomatic ties with the neighbouring country after Tehran’s surprise attack in Balochistan claiming to target a militant outfit on January 16, while the Iranian ambassador to Pakistan had already left for Iran.

However, the FO spokesperson announced today that the Pakistani ambassador had arrived in Tehran and his Iranian counterpart in Islamabad as per mutual understanding between the two countries.

As the neighbouring countries try to bring their relations back to normalcy in the wake of a short but aggressive episode of cross-border tensions, Amb Mudassir earlier in the day announced his return to Tehran via an X — formerly Twitter, post.

Earlier this week, the two countries mutually agreed that their ambassadors would return to their respective posts by January 26, 2024.

In a joint statement issued on Monday, the Foreign Office said that at the invitation of Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani, his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir Abdollahian will undertake a visit to Pakistan on January 29.

Taking to X, formerly Twitter, Ambassador Mudassir said he is en route to return to the Iranian capital in “conformity with the sincere and good wishes of Pakistan’s leadership”.

“Ever more determined to work for a more robust, stronger & peace-loving [Pakistan],” added Tipu, who returned to Islamabad on January 17 following the attack by Iran.

Commenting on the significance of a peaceful relationship between Islamabad and Tehran, Ambassador Mudassir further stated that a strong Pakistan and Iran are “critical for region & to promote historic people to people ties”.

“Time to turn a new leaf,” he wrote in his post on X.

In response to Iran’s attack, termed “unprovoked” by the Foreign Office, the Pakistani military targeted terrorist hideouts inside the Iranian border a day and a half later on January 18.

Pakistan’s retaliation killed several terrorists during the intelligence-based operation — codenamed “Marg Bar Sarmachar” by the military.

Iran’s attack, on the other hand, left two children dead and injured three girls, stating that it violated the country’s sovereignty.

Pakistan, on January 17, also withdrew its ambassador from Iran and announced that it would not allow the Iranian envoy visiting his home country at that time to return to protest at a “blatant breach” of its sovereignty after Tehran said it launched missile attacks on militant bases in southwestern Pakistan.