TEHRAN: Pakistan police on Tuesday charged three Iranian border guards with the murder of a Pakistani man shot dead on Sunday in a cross-border attack in the country’s southwest.
The three guards were held late Sunday in southwestern Balochistan province along the Iranian border after they allegedly crossed the frontier and shot at a car, killing a Pakistani national.
Police said they had charged the Iranians following a written complaint from the father of the victim.
“We have registered a murder case against the three Iranians and will present them in court,” said Abdul Malik, officer in charge of the Mazan Sar Mashkail area, where the three were arrested.
A brother of the victim was also wounded by gunshots in the incident, police said.
The Iranians reached the area in Washuk district, three kilometres inside Pakistan, where they opened fire on a vehicle they were chasing, according to officials in the insurgent-hit province.
Pakistani officials said the Iranian guards were trying to take both Pakistani nationals back into Iran.
Malik said the three Iranians were in the custody of Pakistan paramilitary Frontier Corps and a request has been sent to hand them over to police.
Iran working to secure release of border guards
The Iranian Border Guards Commander Brigadier General Hossein Zolfaghari on Tuesday called on Pakistan to release three Iranian border guards who had “entered Pakistan by mistake while chasing armed drug smugglers.”
“Pakistan border guards should immediately release the three guards who were doing their job,” Zolfaghari told IRNA news agency adding that a second round of negotiations with the Pakistani border police will take place in coming hours to secure the release of the detainees.
“Three days ago border guards in Saravan, Sistan Baluchestan province, exchanged fire with a group of vandals and armed smugglers, killing two, injuring and arresting two others while the rest managed to escape into Pakistani territory. 500 kilograms of drugs were also seized,” he stated.
The Iranian Commander said that a group of Iranian border guards chased the smugglers at night at zero point of the border and “unintentionally crossed into Pakistan before being arrested by their Pakistani counterparts.” Zolfaghari also called on Pakistani border guards to stop cross border drug trafficking into Iranian soil, IRNA report said.
Iran guards ‘unintentionally’ crossed Pakistan border
Earlier, Iranian border guards accused of killing the Pakistani civilian “unintentionally” entered Pakistan in pursuit of drug traffickers, the commander of Iran’s police border guard said Tuesday.
“Three Iranian border guards pursued the drug traffickers and unintentionally and due to darkness entered Pakistani territory and were arrested by Pakistani forces,” Hossein Zolfaqari was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.
Zolfaqari denied any Pakistani civilian was killed in the incident.
Zolfaqari said a delegation of Iranian border guards had spoken with Pakistani officials asking for the release of their colleagues and that more talks were scheduled.
He noted that the border is poorly marked.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast, asked about the incident, told reporters on Tuesday: “We do not have precise details. Usually such incidents do occur in the borders but it will be solved with discussion by both sides.”
Iranian officials say 3,500 members of their security forces have been killed in clashes with traffickers over the past 30 years, mainly in areas bordering Afghanistan or Pakistan.