News-CRUX-10     19th January 2024        

Context: Iran and Pakistan have carried out air attacks on each other’s territories, along their 909 km-long border.

Iran-Pakistan Tensions

  • About: The recent triggering event in the ongoing tensions between Iran and Pakistan involved Iranian missiles and drones striking targets in Panjgur, Balochistan. 
  • Focus of the attack: It  was on the strongholds of Jaish al-Adl (JAA), a Sunni Salafist militant group advocating for independence in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan province.
  • Jaish al-Adl (JAA): Formed in 2012 as a successor to the Jundallah organization, Jaish al-Adl emerged after the capture and execution of its leader Abdolmalek Rigi by Iran. 
  • Objective: To secure recognition of Baluchi cultural, economic, and political rights from the Iranian government. However, Tehran labels it a terrorist group due to deadly attacks on Iranian outposts and security forces.
  • JAA's Activities: JAA primarily targets Iranian security personnel, government officials, and Shia civilians through various tactics such as ambushes, assassinations, assaults, hit-and-run raids, kidnappings, and suicide bombings. 
  • Pakistan's Response: In response to Iran's strike, Pakistan targeted hideouts of two Baloch militant groups—Baloch Liberation Front (BLF) and Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA)—both designated as "terrorist organizations" by Pakistan.
  • Baloch Liberation Front (BLF): Founded in 1964, the BLF played a significant role in Baloch insurgencies in Iran and Pakistan.
  • Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA): Founded around 2000, BLA began a violent struggle for Baloch self-determination in Pakistan in 2004. Led by Basheer Zeb, BLA, like BLF, has carried out various attacks.
  • Allegations of Indian Support and China's Involvement: Pakistan has alleged that BLF and BLA maintain close ties with India, receiving arms, training, and financial aid. These militant groups, however, and India reject these claims, emphasizing a complex geopolitical scenario in the region.