Pakistan-Iran air strikes: China urges both countries to ‘exercise restraint’

China President Xi Jinping. [File Photo]

China has called for “restraint” from both Pakistan and Iran following an air strike by Tehran in Balochistan, which resulted in the deaths of two children and now recently from Pakistan retaliation, according to statements from the foreign ministry of China.

The incident has strained diplomatic relations between the two neighboring countries, which have a history of mutual suspicion over militant attacks. The strike also adds tension to an already unsettled Middle East, marked by Israel’s conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

Iran, in state media reports later withdrawn without explanation, claimed the attack targeted bases of the militant group Jaish al-Adl, also known as the “Army of Justice.”

The group seeks an independent Balochistan and operates across Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. Jaish al-Adl acknowledged the assault in a statement, revealing that six bomb-carrying drones and rockets struck homes housing children and wives of their fighters. Two children were killed, and two women and a teenage girl were wounded, according to the group.

Videos purportedly from the site, shared by the Baloch activist group HalVash, depicted a burning building and two charred, small corpses.

In response, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry issued a strong protest with Iran’s foreign ministry and summoned an Iranian diplomat in Islamabad to convey its “strongest condemnation of this blatant violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty.” The ministry emphasised that the responsibility for the consequences would lie squarely with Iran.

On Wednesday, Pakistan said it launched “highly coordinated” military strikes against Iran, just over 24 hours after Iranian air strikes in Balochistan.

A senior Pakistani security official, speaking anonymously, stated that Iran had shared no information prior to the strike, as reported by The Nation.

He asserted that Pakistan reserved the right to respond at a time and place of its choosing, with any such retaliation being measured and in line with public expectations. The official expressed concern over the dangerous precedent set by Iran, describing it as destabilizing with reciprocal implications.

Jaish al-Adl, founded in 2012, has been linked to Pakistan by Iranian officials. The group has claimed responsibility for bombings and kidnappings of Iran’s border police in the past. While Pakistan has accused Iran of hosting insurgents in the past, Iran has fought against militants in border areas. The missile-and-drone attack on Pakistan is unprecedented, raising questions about the timing and motive behind Iran’s actions.

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