Pakistan expels Iranian envoy, signal of region becoming a battle ground for superpowers

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | January 17, 2024 IST

Pakistan-Iran

Arun Joshi

 In an extraordinary  development, Pakistan on Wednesday announced expulsion of Iranian ambassador and recalled its envoy from Tehran, shaking the pivot of diplomacy in South West Asia, currently in the international  crosshairs, owing to Palestine – Israel war. The deterioration in Iran-Pakistan relations can  worsen the  crisis as Islamabad has warned of a response to the aerial strike on its soil.

Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mumtaz Baloch said in a video-circulated statement  that Pakistan has recalled its ambassador from Iran and the Iranian ambassador who is in Iran will not return for the time being. This marks the worst ever deterioration in the relation of the two   neighbouring  Islamic  countries. Pakistan is already dealing with a tough situation  in its relations with Afghanistan. It accuses Taliban-run Afghanistan  of sponsoring cross-border terrorism and  patronizing the terror group Tehreek-e-Taliban  Pakistan ( TTP).

The expulsion of the Iranian envoy from Pakistan marks yet another crisis moment  in the region , as the potential of escalation of tensions  is a writing on the wall . That escalation can affect the whole of South Asian and West Asian regions , as Pakistan and Iran sit on the matrix of most strategic location with the religious and ethnic compositions becoming a source of  greater instability in the region.

The diplomatic turmoil is  a consequence of Iranian missile and drone attacks at the headquarters of the terror group Jaish-al-Adil that had been carrying attacks on the Iranian  soil . Iran had warned  Pakistan against such attacks and demanded that these activities be stopped forthwith . But its patience ran out when it fired missiles  at the Jaish-al-Adil group’s headquarters .

Iranian state media had given details of the attack, which it said, took place in Panjgur in Balochistan  province of Pakistan .While Pakistan stated that two children were killed and three girls injured in the attack, Iranian news agencies  claimed that  the whole of the infrastructure .  This was a type of surgical strike that Iran conducted on Pakistani soil , which Pakistan’s foreign  office alleged was violation of its airspace .

Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Mumtaz Baloch , in her statement , said “ Pakistan  reserves the right to respond to this illegal act  and the responsibility  for the consequences will lie squarely with Iran.” She added that the Iranian government has been conveyed this message.

Now it is to be seen whether Pakistan will venture something very adventurous to respond to the Iranian attack , or will do something surreptitiously . In both cases , the tensions will escalate  with far reaching consequences in already volatile region .Pakistan is having high-tensions with all its neighbouring countries – Afghanistan and Iran, and it continues to aid and abet terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir of India .Close to the geographical region is the war going on between Israel for the past over 100 days in which 24,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza . Israel had launched counter-offensive in response to Hamas’ terror attack on Israel in which nearly 1000 persons were killed .

The two  superpowers – the United  States and China  have their strategic interests in the region. The US is interested in keeping Pakistan in good humour owing to its vast interest in stability of Afghanistan where it had been present since 2001 after it  decimated Taliban government . But in 2001, it was forced to quit by Taliban with a firm backing of Pakistan’s army . The US is having troubled relationship with Iran for decades .

Saudi Arabia , the most important Islamic country in the world , was persuaded to have diplomatic ties with Iran by China . this had undermined the American diplomatic outreach . China  and US are locked in a battle for supremacy in the world . What has transpired in Pakistan-Iran and Afghanistan relations can make their fight sharper and the region could become a battle ground.

Arun Joshi is author of “Eyewitness Kashmir; Teetering on Nuclear War and senior journalist based in Jammu and Kashmir, writes on South Asian affairs)

Disclaimer: This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with www.prameyanews.com

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