Today in DNA, Sourab Raaj Jaain has analyzed Pakistan’s retaliatory strike on Iran. Iran conducted an airstrike on Pakistan, and within 36 hours, Pakistan responded with a missile attack on Iran. However, after this counterattack, Pakistan appears to be uneasy, attempting to extend an olive branch to Iran. Pakistan seems apprehensive about the possibility of Iran declaring war against it. If Pakistan had such concerns, why did it launch a missile strike on Iran? Was it a necessity, or did Pakistan’s military undertake this action to safeguard its prestige?
In its claim, Pakistan states that its Airforce targeted the Sistan-Baluchistan province within 48 kilometers of the Iranian border. Pakistan’s military conducted strikes on seven locations using missiles and drones.
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Pakistan asserts that the success of “Operation Marg Bar Sarmachar” is evidence of its military’s capability to retaliate against any attacks within the country. Pakistan was well aware that an offensive against Iran might strain relations between the two nations. Yet, after Iran’s strike, Pakistan finds itself in a delicate situation. It faces a dilemma – whether to retaliate against Iran or not. Attacking Iran would mean further deteriorating relations with a neighboring country, while refraining from retaliation could be seen as a compromise to protect Pakistan’s army’s honour.
To safeguard its reputation, Pakistan decided to strike Iran, a move that its Foreign Ministry is justifying. However, there is an underlying sense of unease within Pakistan. This is evident from the fact that, post Iran’s attack, Pakistan imposed a ban on media coverage in the Baluchistan region where Iran conducted its strike. This move seems aimed at preventing the revelation of the extent of damage caused by Iran’s attack.
Pakistan is in no position to escalate tensions with Iran further. The country already faces challenges at its border with Afghanistan due to the ongoing tussle over the Durand Line. Border closures, skirmishes, and terrorism attempts within India have strained relations with India over the years. Some in Pakistan believe that if the country continues to sour relations with all its neighbouring nations, especially in its current economic predicament, the future looks bleak.
The late former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee once said, “Friends can change, neighbours cannot.” This wisdom is crucial for Pakistan to comprehend, as souring relations will yield little benefit. If Pakistan had fostered better ties with its neighbours, especially during times of economic hardship, it might not be in its current precarious economic state.