Panjgur
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Iranian troops fired at least 11 mortar shells into bordering town near Panjgur district in Balochistan causing no casualty in a new border violation act on Wednesday. “The shells landed in an open fray of bordering town Changi area of District Panjgur without causing any casualty but the huge bangs caused fear among the people living in bordering towns,” Deputy Commissioner Panjgur Jabbar Baloch said.

There needs to be heightened cooperation between the two nations and any unilateral actions such as Iran’s cross-border firing will only aggravate the situation and aid the desires of terrorists

The border violation issue would be raised in the upcoming flag meeting between Pakistan and Iranian border guards which is due after two days, he added. Islamabad has strongly protested on diplomatic level against the Tehran’s cross-border aggression.

The Iranian Pakistani border has seen heightened activity in recent months. The border has become infamous for both cross-border firings by Iran as well activities by ethnonationalist and sectarian terrorists on both sides. Pakistan is fighting a low-level terror campaign by Indian supported militants and has arrested an Iranian based serving Indian intelligence operative Kulbhusan Yadav from that same area.

Read more: Rising tensions between the neighbors; Pakistan offers diplomacy to Iran

While Iran has not yet blamed Pakistan for officially backing anti-Iran militant groups and has cooperated in various anti-terror operations, the militancy and Iranian firing are causes of contention

Iran’smain foe is the militant group Jaish al-Adl, or the Army of Justice.  Jaish al-Adl is a Sunni militant group that has carried out several attacks on Iranian security forces with the aim of highlighting what they say is discrimination against Sunni Muslims and the Baloch ethnic group in the province. The group has claimed responsibility for attacks that killed many Iranian personnel.

The group is asserted to have been set up by members of the Jundallah, a Sunni militant group, in 2012. Jundullah was another organization fighting against the Iranian State for Sunni rights. Its strength weakened after its leader Abdolmalek Rigi was arrested and executed in 2010. According to US intelligence sources, Pakistani forces captured and handed over Rigi to the Iranians. The Pak-Iran border has been a rather safe spot for terror attacks and terrorist movements.

Jundullah was another organization fighting against the Iranian State for Sunni rights. Its strength weakened after its leader Abdolmalek Rigi was arrested and executed in 2010

On 23 May 2016, the leader of the Afghan Taliban Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was killed in a US airstrike on the Pak-Afghan border after entering Pakistan from Iran. While Iran has not yet blamed Pakistan for officially backing anti-Iran militant groups and has cooperated in various anti-terror operations, the militancy and Iranian firing are causes of contention between Iran and Pakistan especially after the 1979 Khomeini Revolution.

Read more: Pakistan and the Strategic Chessboard in 2017

Mainly because based on intelligence reports Iran is involved in backing some sectarian outfits inside Pakistan such as the Sipah-e-Muhammad whose founder Allama Ghulam Raza Naqvi passed away in Iran on 6 March 2016.

Jaish al-Adl is a Sunni militant group that has carried out several attacks on Iranian security forces with the aim of highlighting what they say is discrimination against Sunni Muslims and the Baloch ethnic group in the province

The Syrian conflict in the Middle East has also given rise to a new Iranian backed Shia militant group called the liwa’ zaynabiyun (Zaynabiyun Brigade) that has risen in Syria consisting exclusively of Pakistanis. Fallen fighters of such groups are buried with full military honors in Iran and Syria.

Thus far, there have been at least twenty funerals for Pakistani fighters in Syria, but there are no real estimates regarding Pakistani fatalities there, and the actual number of those killed in action could be much greater the number of funerals documented.

Islamabad has strongly protested on diplomatic level against the Tehran’s cross-border aggression and continues violation by shelling into its territory

There is also the presence of the Baloch Liberation Front, a brutal ethnonationalist separatist terror group whose sanctuaries and leader Dr. Allah Nazar Baloch are stated to be inside Iranian territory.

Read more: Politics, not religion, is the source of Sunni-Shiite conflict

Tehran needs to realize that militancy across the border is an issue for both countries. There needs to be heightened cooperation between the two nations and any unilateral actions such as Iran’s cross-border firing will only aggravate the situation and aid the desires of terrorists.

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