China calls for restraint as Pakistan condemns ‘unprovoked’ Iranian airstrike

ISLAMABAD (PEN) : China has called upon Pakistan and Iran to exercise “restraint” after Tehran carried out an air strike on its territory that killed two children and injured three girls.

“We call on both sides to exercise restraint, avoid actions that would lead to an escalation of tension and work together to maintain peace and stability,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a regular briefing on Wednesday.

“We consider both Iran and Pakistan as close neighbours and major Islamic countries,” she said.

Pakistan has strongly condemned the unprovoked violation of its airspace by Iran, warning that violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty is completely unacceptable and can have serious consequences

“It is even more concerning that this illegal act has taken place despite the existence of several channels of communication between Pakistan and Iran. Pakistan’s strong protest has already been lodged with the concerned senior official in the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tehran,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office added.

Both Iran and Pakistan are close partners of Beijing and members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

Iran offered no immediate official comment but its state-run Nour News agency said the attack destroyed the headquarters of the militant group Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice).

Earlier today, caretaker Balochistan Information Minister Jan Achakzai said the violation of Pakistani sovereignty by Iran “damages relations” between Tehran and Islamabad.

“The enemy forces are trying to intervene externally in Pakistan, especially in Balochistan. The enemies will never succeed in their plans,” the minister added.

Formed in 2012, Jaish al-Adl is blacklisted by Iran as a terrorist group and has carried out several attacks on Iranian soil in recent years.

The strike came after Iran launched missile attacks on “spy headquarters” and “terrorist” targets in Syria, and in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region.

The Iranian strikes add to multiple crises across the Middle East, with Israel waging a war against Hamas in Gaza and pro-Palestinian Houthi rebels in Yemen attacking commercial vessels in the Red Sea.