Pakistan Expels Iranian Ambassador, Recalls Envoy From Tehran

Suspends all high-level visits with southwestern neighbour, with Pakistan reserving the right to respond with the responsibility for consequences lying squarely with Iran

Pakistan Expels Iranian Ambassador, Recalls Envoy From Tehran

Islamabad on Wednesday decided to recall its ambassador from Tehran and suspend all high-level visits following Tuesday night's unprovoked violation of its airspace.

Pakistan also decided not to allow the Iranian ambassador to return to Pakistan "for the time being" and suspend all high-level visits planned between Pakistan and Iran.

This was announced in a formal statement issued by Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch on Wednesday. 

In a televised press statement, she said that Pakistan had conveyed to Tehran the change in Islamabad's position.

"We have conveyed this message to the Iranian government. We have also informed them that Pakistan has decided to recall its ambassador from Iran and that the Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan, who is currently visiting Iran, may not return for the time being."

Baloch termed Tuesday night's cross-border attack 'unprovoked" and a "blatant breach of Pakistan's sovereignty by Iran," which violated international law and the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

"Pakistan reserves the right to respond to this illegal act. The responsibility for the consequences will lie squarely with Iran," she said, adding that Iran's illegal act was completely unacceptable with no justification whatsoever. 

The spokesperson said that Pakistan had also decided to suspend all high-level visits which were ongoing or were planned between Islamabad and Tehran in the coming days.

China calls for calm

China, which has worked extensively with Pakistan and Iran, has called on both countries to exhibit calm. 

During the daily news briefing in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning was asked about the flare-up in tensions between Pakistan and Iran. 

"China believes that the relations between countries should be handled based on the basic norms governing international relations underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and international law, and all countries' sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity should be earnestly respected and protected," Ning said.

"Iran and Pakistan are close neighbours and major Islamic countries. We call on the two sides to exercise restraint, avoid actions that escalate the tension and jointly keep the region peaceful and stable," she urged.