Will Pakistan retaliate against Iran?

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A counterattack is possible, but Pakistan would be wary of getting pulled into a wider conflict. What Pakistan might instead do is strengthen ties with Iran’s rivals, say analysts.

News Desk

Islamabad, Pakistan: Iran’s air attacks on Tuesday night inside Pakistani territory in the southwestern province of Balochistan threaten to pull Islamabad into a broader regional conflict, analysts warn, less than a month before national elections.

The bombings, which Iran said were aimed at an armed group Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice), resulted in the death of at least two children, while injuring three more, according to a statement by the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ministry said it “strongly condemned” the incident – which took place near the border city of Panjgur – calling it a violation of Pakistani sovereignty, and warned Iran of “serious consequences.”

But what might those consequences be? The attacks coincided with increased interactions between Pakistani and Iranian officials, both civilian and military, in recent days.

Hours before Iranian jets dropped bombs on Balochistan, Pakistani caretaker prime minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar had met Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amirabdollahian on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos in Switzerland.

Pakistan’s interim foreign minister Jalil Abbas Jilani met with Iran’s special representative for Afghanistan affairs, Hassan Kazmi Qomi, in Islamabad earlier this week, where the two discussed the need for “enhanced coordination for regional stability.” (Source Al-Jazeera