Tensions soar as Pakistan responds with military strikes to a recent bombing, heightening hostilities with Iran. Global powers, including China and the United States, call for restraint and diplomatic resolution.
Islamabad, January 18, 2024 – In a startling turn of events, Pakistan has launched military strikes on Iran in response to a recent bombing, escalating tensions between the two neighboring nations. The international community has expressed concern over the conflict, with China, a close ally to both Pakistan and Iran, offering to mediate in an attempt to ease the rising hostilities.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning stated in a news conference on Thursday, “The Chinese side sincerely hopes that the two sides can exercise calm and restraint and avoid an escalation of tension. We are also willing to play a constructive role in de-escalating the situation if both sides so wish.”
Iran and Pakistan, both members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, have a history of engagement, including a China-led mediation that helped broker a deal to restore relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia in March 2023.
The United States condemned the Iranian air strike on Pakistan, with State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller highlighting Iran’s recent violations of the sovereign borders of its neighbors in Syria and Iraq.
Meanwhile, India, Pakistan’s archrival and traditionally considered a close ally of Iran, took a more neutral stance, stating, “Insofar as India is concerned, we have an uncompromising position of zero tolerance towards terrorism. We understand actions that countries take in their self-defense.”
However, skepticism lingers regarding the effectiveness of Pakistan’s military response. Baqir Sajjad Syed, a Pakistan fellow at The Wilson Centre, expressed doubt that the situation would de-escalate, foreseeing a potential resurgence of militancy in both the Iranian and Pakistani Balochistans.
Pakistani security analyst Ejaz Haider called it unfortunate that Iran treated Pakistan similarly to Iraq or Syria and emphasized that joint counterterrorism cooperation would have been the ideal approach. Haider argued that opening a front with Pakistan in the east makes no logical, strategic sense for Iran, given its precarious position in the region due to ongoing conflicts involving its proxies.
As the situation unfolds, the international community remains on edge, hopeful for a diplomatic resolution to avoid further escalation and instability in the region.