Operation Marg Bar Sarmachar: How Pakistan retaliated to Iran's air raids on its territory

Pak jets remained inside the country's airspace and used extended-range munitions

IRAN-PAKISTAN/ A man looks at a television screen after the Pakistani foreign ministry said the country conducted strikes inside Iran targeting separatist militants, in Karachi | Reuters

Less than 48 hours after Iranian missiles hit Balochi militant bases in Pakistan, Islamabad hit back with "precision military strikes" against the "terrorist hideouts" in Iran's Siestan-Balochistan province. 

The intelligence-based operation codenamed 'Marg Bar Sarmachar' resulted in the death of seven people, including three women and four children, in a border village near the city of Saravan. Iran has said that all of the killed were non-Iranian nationals.

A statement issued by the Foreign Ministry, as quoted by Karachi-based newspaper Dawn, said Pakistan has shared with Iran "serious concerns about the safe havens and sanctuaries enjoyed by Pakistani-origin terrorists, who call themselves Sarmachars, on the ungoverned spaces inside Iran." It blamed Tehran for not taking action which caused the Sarmachars to "spill the blood of innocent Pakistanis with impunity."

"This action is a manifestation of Pakistan’s unflinching resolve to protect and defend its national security against all threats," said the statement, adding that Pakistan continues to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iran. 

As per reports, several explosions were heard in the area of Saravan city around local time 4:50 a.m. "We found out that Pakistan had targeted one of Iran's border villages with a missile,"  Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency quoted senior official Alireza Marhamati.

Sources in Pakistan told PTI that the Joint Staff Headquarters of the Pakistan Armed Forces ordered lethal counterinsurgency-specific precision airstrikes inside Iran, pre-authorised by the Government of Pakistan.

Fighter jets of the Pakistan Air Force fighter used stand-off extended-range munitions while remaining inside Pakistani airspace. There were seven target locations in total and the strike was approved after the presence of multiple multiple high-value terrorist targets was confirmed. Extensive aerial reconnaissance via unmanned aircraft was used for the purpose.

These targets were over 80 kilometres inside Iranian territory, sources said. No Iranian civilians or military personnel were targeted, they added.

Iran's attack and Pakistan's retaliatory strikes have worsened the relations between the two countries, following which Pakistan downgraded its diplomatic relations with Iran. Islamabad recalled its ambassador from Tehran and expelled the Iranian envoy to Islamabad, 

However, the statement from Pakistan's foreign office maintained that Iran was "a brotherly country and the people of Pakistan have great respect and affection for the Iranian people."

"We have always emphasised dialogue and cooperation in confronting common challenges including the menace of terrorism and will continue to endeavour to find joint solutions," it added.


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