Iranian foreign minister’s visit to Pakistan signals efforts to mend ties amid recent missile strikes

The tensions had escalated to a point where Pakistan had recalled its ambassador to Tehran, preventing the return of his Iranian counterpart to Islamabad. Additionally, Pakistan had suspended all high-level diplomatic and trade engagements with Iran.

Pakistan announced on Monday that Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, is set to visit the country next week. This diplomatic initiative follows a recent exchange of missile strikes between the two neighbours, targeting what they claimed were militant positions.

The Pakistani foreign ministry, in a statement, revealed that both countries have requested their ambassadors to return to their posts by January 26. Iran’s foreign ministry confirmed Abdollahian’s upcoming visit and disclosed that its ambassador would resume duties in Islamabad on Friday.

The tensions had escalated to a point where Pakistan had recalled its ambassador to Tehran, preventing the return of his Iranian counterpart to Islamabad. Additionally, Pakistan had suspended all high-level diplomatic and trade engagements with Iran.

The Pakistani foreign office conveyed that, in response to an invitation extended by Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani, a visit to Pakistan on January 29, 2024, would be undertaken by Hossein Amir Abdollahian, the Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The recent missile strikes marked an escalation in cross-border incidents between the two nations, raising concerns about regional stability. This development comes in the wake of heightened tensions in the region since the outbreak of the war between Israel and Hamas on October 7.

While Pakistan asserted that its strikes targeted bases of the separatist Baloch Liberation Front and Baloch Liberation Army, Iran countered that its missiles hit militants affiliated with the Jaish al Adl (JAA) group. These militant groups operate in the restive and mineral-rich regions of Balochistan in Pakistan and Sistan-Baluchestan in Iran.

Both regions, largely underdeveloped, have experienced unrest, with the recent strikes leading to casualties on both sides. Iran reported nine fatalities, including four children, in a border village, while Pakistan claimed that two children were killed in the Iranian attack.

The history of strained relations between Pakistan and Iran, compounded by these recent military actions, underscores the complexity of regional dynamics. The diplomatic efforts, highlighted by the upcoming visit of Iran’s foreign minister, indicate a shared interest in de-escalation and the restoration of amicable ties.

 The visit by Iran’s Foreign Minister represents a crucial step towards dialogue and reconciliation in a region where geopolitical tensions have far-reaching consequences.