Pak army says border fencing with Iran to be ready next year

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s army on Thursday said that fencing along the 900-kilometer border with Iran would be completed by December 2021. “As far as the Pakistan-Iran border is concerned, 30 percent of it has been fenced so far and I believe by December 2021 we will complete that,” Military spokesperson Major General Babar Iftikhar said in an interview with Global Village Space earlier this week.
“Now, there are just a few places in between which are snow-clad most of the time, and the terrain over there is really difficult, so those areas will be manned in another way, but we are trying to fence hundred percent of our Western border,” he added.
Pakistan began fencing its border with Iran last year, as part of its policy to enhance border security.
Earlier this year in April, Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) approved PKR 3 billion ($18.6 million) as additional funds for the demarcation line which begins at the Koh-i-Malik Salih mountain and ends in Gwadar Bay, in the Gulf of Oman.
The border through a diverse landscape of mountain ridges, seasonal streams, and rivers is notorious for human trafficking, smuggling and cross-border militancy. To address the issues, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in April last year, announced the formation of a joint reaction force between the two countries to combat militant activity along the border.
It followed a deadly attack on Pakistani security personnel on the coastal highway in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan, where 14 soldiers lost their lives.
Soon after the incident, Pakistan lodged a strong protest with Iranian authorities, saying that the attackers had crossed over from Iran, with Pakistan’s foreign minister saying that the border would be fenced “to ensure peace.”
For more than a decade, Pakistan has been battling an ethnic Baloch separatist movement, with armed groups carrying out frequent attacks against security forces and government targets in the Balochistan province, amid accusations of providing safe havens for insurgents in Iran.