Pakistanis Shot Dead in Iran Amid Diplomatic Rapprochement

In a shocking incident, at least nine Pakistani citizens were killed and three others injured in an armed attack near the border with Pakistan in Iran’s southeastern region on Saturday.

The attack occurred in the city of Saravan, which is located in the restive province of Sistan-Baluchestan, where separatist militants and drug traffickers frequently target Iranian security forces.

According to Iranian media reports, the victims were “foreigners” who worked at an auto-repair workshop in the city. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.

Two of the deceased were identified as Zubair and his nephew, who hailed from Lodhran district of Punjab province in Pakistan. Their family said they had gone to Iran for labour and had no involvement in any illegal activities.

Five other victims, including two brothers, belonged to Alipur tehsil of Muzaffargarh district, also in Punjab. Their families appealed to the local authorities for help in bringing back their bodies.

The Pakistani Ambassador to Iran, Muhammad Muddasir Tipu, confirmed the incident in a post on X, a social media platform. He expressed his deep shock and grief over the killing of the Pakistanis and said the embassy would extend full support to the bereaved families.

He also said that he had sent an official to visit the site of the attack and the hospital where the injured were being treated. He added that the Pakistani authorities had urged Iran to cooperate fully in the matter and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The tragic incident came as a blow to the efforts of both countries to improve their bilateral relations, which had recently witnessed a brief strain following a cross-border exchange of fire.

On Friday, the Pakistani and Iranian diplomats resumed their duties in Tehran and Islamabad, respectively, after returning to their capitals. The two countries had recalled their envoys after Iran launched an “unprovoked” attack on a militant hideout inside Pakistan, which drew a swift retaliation from the Pakistani side.

The Iranian attack was apparently in response to the killing of two Iranian border guards by a Baloch separatist group, which claimed to have carried out the operation from inside Pakistan.

Pakistan and Iran share a 959-kilometer-long border, which is often plagued by security challenges such as smuggling, human trafficking, and terrorism. The two countries have agreed to enhance their cooperation to ensure border security and prevent any hostile activities on their soil.

The two neighbours also have close historical, cultural, and religious ties, and have vowed to strengthen their economic and trade relations. Iran is one of Pakistan’s major energy suppliers, and the two countries are working on completing a gas pipeline project that would link them.

However, their relations are also influenced by regional and international dynamics, such as the conflict in Afghanistan, the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and the US sanctions on Tehran.

The killing of the Pakistani citizens in Iran has raised concerns over the safety and welfare of the Pakistani community in the country, which is estimated to be around 50,000. Many of them work as labourers, traders, or pilgrims in various Iranian cities.

The Pakistani government has condemned the attack and expressed its condolences to the families of the victims. It has also assured them of its assistance in repatriating their remains and providing them with compensation.

The government has also called for a thorough investigation into the incident and urged Iran to take effective measures to prevent such incidents in the future.

The government has also appealed to the Pakistani citizens in Iran to exercise caution and avoid any unnecessary travel or exposure to risky areas.

The government has reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining friendly and cordial relations with Iran and working together to address the common challenges and threats facing the two countries.

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