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Pakistan Urges Iran to Investigate ‘Horrifying’ Slayings of 9 Citizens

Pakistan Urges Iran to Investigate ‘Horrifying’ Slayings of 9 Citizens
Pakistan Urges Iran to Investigate ‘Horrifying’ Slayings of 9 Citizens

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Pakistan confirmed Saturday that nine of its nationals were killed by gunmen in neighboring Iran, demanding an immediate investigation into the “terrorist incident” to punish the perpetrators.

Iranian media reported that the early morning shooting occurred in a home in the southeastern city of Saravan in Sistan-Baluchistan province bordering Pakistan.

“It is a horrifying and despicable incident, and we condemn it unequivocally,” said Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

“We are in touch with Iranian authorities and have underscored the need to immediately investigate the incident and hold to account those involved in this heinous crime,” Baloch said.

No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack that targeted a group of Pakistanis reportedly working at an auto repair shop in the Iranian border region.

Baloch said that a senior Pakistani diplomat was on the way to the hospital where several injured people were being treated, promising to arrange for an urgent repatriation of the victims’ bodies.

“We are fully seized of this grave matter and are taking all necessary measures in this regard…Such cowardly attacks cannot deter Pakistan from its determination to fight terrorism,” she said.

Saturday’s incident came more than a week after Pakistan’s military launched cross-border retaliatory strikes, targeting alleged militant hideouts in the same Iranian city. Iran said that attack in Saravan killed nine people, mostly women and children.

Islamabad said the Pakistani military had hit bases of outlawed Baluch militant groups orchestrating attacks against Pakistan from Iranian border areas.

The unprecedented strikes came two days after Iranian security forces staged “drone and missile strikes” against what Tehran said were the “strongholds” of the anti-Iran Jaish al-Adl militant group in Pakistan’s southwestern border province of Balochistan.

Islamabad condemned the Iranian raid as a “blatant breach” of its territorial sovereignty, saying it resulted in the deaths of two children. Pakistan immediately recalled its ambassador from Iran and barred the Iranian ambassador from returning to the country.

Both countries have long accused each other of not doing enough to deny fugitive militants safe havens in their respective territories.

The military tensions raised fears of a broader conflict between Iran and Pakistan. However, the two countries announced last Monday that they had decided to immediately “de-escalate” and restore diplomatic relations.

Officials on both sides confirmed Friday that Pakistani and Iranian ambassadors had returned to their respective embassies to resume their routine diplomatic missions.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is also due to arrive in Islamabad on Monday for official talks with his Pakistani counterpart, Jalil Abbas Jilani.

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