Pakistan executed what it termed a ‘highly coordinated’ military strike against Iran, just over 24 hours after Iranian air raids targeted Balochistan, intensifying tensions between the neighboring countries and igniting concerns of a broader conflict.

On Thursday morning, Pakistan conducted an ‘intelligence-based operation,’ as stated by its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, targeting hideouts of armed groups in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province. Iranian state television reported at least nine casualties from the attacks. In response, Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the senior-most Pakistani diplomat in Tehran to seek explanations for the strikes.

Pakistan justified its actions by citing ‘credible intelligence’ indicating ‘impending large-scale terrorist activities’ originating from across the border. The operation, codenamed ‘Marg Bar Sarmachar’ (Death to Sarmachar), aimed to address longstanding concerns about safe havens for Pakistani-origin terrorists within Iran’s ungoverned spaces.

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry stated, ‘Over the last several years, in our engagements with Iran, Pakistan has consistently shared its serious concerns about the safe havens and sanctuaries enjoyed by Pakistani-origin terrorists calling themselves ‘Sarmachars’ on the ungoverned spaces inside Iran. Pakistan also shared multiple dossiers with concrete evidence of the presence and activities of these terrorists.’

Highlighting the lack of action on their concerns, the ministry emphasized that the so-called Sarmachars had continued to pose a threat to innocent Pakistanis. The missile strike, according to the ministry, manifests Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to protecting and defending its national security against all threats.

Pakistan’s response followed Iran’s air raids, involving ‘drones and missiles,’ targeting Jaish al-Adl, an armed group, near Panjgur city in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan, bordering Iran. Tehran accused Jaish al-Adl of multiple attacks in the past.

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