TEHRAN: Pakistan and Iran agreed upon several measures to improve border control and security on Tuesday.
The steps were announced after Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa met Iranian Defence Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami and Commander-in-Chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, on the second day of his official visit to Iran.
“Both sides agreed to ensure that their soil is not used by any third party against any of the two countries. Steps like establishment of hotline communication between the field commanders along Pak-Iran border, fencing by Iran on its side of the border, coordinated border patrolling, intelligence sharing and more frequent interactions were agreed upon,” a statement issued by the ISPR said.
Border security has been a major concern for both sides.
Iran has in the past suffered several cross-border attacks in which a number of its guards have been killed. The last major attack happened in April, in which 11 of the guards were killed. The terrorists are still holding one of the guards – Saeed Barati – captive.
The Iranian government has been seeking Pakistan’s help for his release. The Army had, after the attack in April, decided to deploy additional forces along the border to prevent recurrence of such strikes.
Gen Bajwa, in his meetings with Iranian leaders, warned that terrorists could try to exploit the Pakistan-Iran border now in view of strengthened border control measures on the border with Afghanistan.
Both countries, he said, needed to prevent terrorists from exploiting their 917km-long porous border, which has been plagued by drug smugglers and militants, who have often clashed with Iranian security forces.
Gen Jafari, the IRGC chief, was quoted by Iranian media to have said: “We are informed that there are efforts under way in the region for insecurity”.
Later at a joint press conference in Tehran with the deputy head of the International Affairs Department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Brigadier General Ghadir Nezamipour, Pakistan’s military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said the two sides had agreed to carry out joint patrol on the border and to set up stations.
Gen Bajwa is to return home on Wednesday after a three-day visit to Iran.