Pakistan sends protest letter to Iran, demands action against killing of its 14 security personnel
Pakistan sent a protest letter to Iran on Saturday demanding action against Tehran-based terrorists involved in a recent targeted killing of its 14 security personnel, mostly from the Pakistan Navy.
Unidentified gunmen donning uniforms of paramilitarysoldiers Thursday massacred 14 passengers after forcing them to disembark frombuses on a highway in the restive Balochistan province.
The victims were not initially identified and it wasspeculated they could be Shia Muslims and ethnic workers from Punjab.
But later it emerged that they were security personnel, mostof them associated with the Pakistan Navy.
According to the letter sent by the Foreign Office (FO) toIran, at least 14 personnel belonging to the Armed Forces of Pakistan wereoffloaded from buses on April 18 in Oramra area of Balochistan and killed.
The Foreign Office said the terrorists belonging to Balochnationalist groups were operating from a border region in Iran and has askedTehran to take action against them.
"BRAS, which is an alliance of three Baloch terroristorganisations, has claimed responsibility for this terrorist act," itsaid.
"Killing of 14 innocent Pakistanis by terrorist groupsbased in Iran is a very serious incident that Pakistan protests strongly.Pakistan awaits Iran's response to its request for action against the groupsbased in Iran, whose locations have been identified by Pakistan a number oftimes," the letter said.
It asserted that "after the incident, the terroristswho arrived from border region returned to that area".
Baloch nationalists are active in the Balochistan provinceand often target the security forces and people from other provinces,especially Punjab.
The recent killing had occurred just ahead of the first-evervisit of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to Iran starting on Sunday.
Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif condemned the attack,saying enemies of Pakistan-Iran ties were responsible for it.
"Strongly condemning the recent terrorist attack inPakistan, just as PM Imran Khan embarks on his first, historic visit to Iran.Terrorists, extremists and their sponsors are terrified by close relationsbetween Muslim states," he tweeted.