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IRAN, PAKISTAN: Death of consular official in Peshawar raises stakes


He was leaving his home in Peshawar on his way to work this morning. That's when the motorcycles zipped by. A hail of gunfire ensued. Left behind by the gunmen were shell casings and the bullet-riddled body of Abul Hassan Jaffry, an employee at Iran's consulate in Peshawar.

The Pakistani citizen, the consul's public affairs chief, was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Iran’s state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported that Jaffry was shot at least four times. Local police in Peshawar said no one spotted the attackers, who, according to witnesses, disappeared on their motorcycles after opening fire on Jaffry. 

So far, authorities have declined to speculate on the motives behind Jaffry’s killing. Both countries were quick to denounce the incident. Pakistan's foreign minister condemned the "heinous crime" and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice. Iran said Jaffry’s killing was a "terrorist and inhumane act" and called on Pakistan to step up measures to ensure the protection of its staff. 

Iran has long had a strained relationship with Pakistan, which has been accused of providing a safe haven for the Taliban. Iran holds the Sunni radicals responsible for the killing of nine Iranian diplomats at the Iranian consulate in Afghanistan’s northern city of Mazar-i- Sharif in 1998.

Before the day of the attack in early September 1998, Pakistani diplomats had relayed assurances to Tehran from the Taliban about the safety of the Iranian consulates and diplomats working at the consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif.

Tensions have spiked between Pakistan and Iran following a suicide bombing that killed 42 people in southeastern Iran last month. Fifteen members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, including six senior officials, were killed in the attack, for which the Sunni Muslim rebel group Jundullah (God's Soldiers) has claimed responsibility.

Iranian authorities say the rebels are hiding on the Pakistani side of the border and has called on Pakistan to hand over Jundallah’s leader, Abdolmalek Rigi. Pakistan insists that Rigi is operating out of Afghanistan. 

Iran does not appear to be convinced.

Today, Iran's semiofficial Fars News Agency reported that Rigi had opened a new school in Pakistan where he was training suicide bombers to carry out attacks in Iran. Drug addicts from Pakistan's impoverished Baluchistan province were among those enrolled at the school, according to the Fars report.

Jaffry’s killing comes a year after the Iranian commercial attaché Heshmatollah Attarzadeh was kidnapped at gunpoint in Peshawar. The diplomat has been missing ever since.

--  Alexandra Sandels in Beirut

Photo: The body of an Iranian consulate employee is carried to an ambulance.  Credit: Mohammad Sajjad / Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (6)

It amazes me how little Islamic outcry the attacks in pakistan receive, yet Muslims worldwide will crow about the deaths in Palestine continually. It is a brand of selective mourning they have developed. If it's Israel or the west who fire the bullets, then that's bad, but if it's Islamic bombs going of, they are slower to condemn.

You're either in the Ummah or you're not. It's that simple.

The circle is complete. The Iranian's train and fund terror organizations and now their own diplomats are being killed by terror organizations. It wouldn't surprise me if our government finally caved in and realized "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." The CIA worked with the ISI to build al Qaeda in the first place. Is it really a stretch of the imagination to think that the ISI might be targeting Iranian's through a proxy like Jundullah?

HEY! I got a GREAT idea! you know how the Middle East has been a mess since...well, forever?!? And you know how U.S. involvement in the ME has cost us us TRILLIONS of dollars and THOUSANDS of American lives? And it hasn't achieved SQUAT, except buy us a little more oil? 'bout we absolutely get the hell out of there and spend our resources on...OURSELVES?!? You know, stuff like infrastructure, healthcare, schools, renewable energy, etc?

a taste of your own least they are not firing Katyusha rockets like your counterparts do in Israel and Lebanon.

This surely is the second evil provocation to Iran from terrorists who want to open another battle front to divide dilute and squander the legitimate and hard fought efforts and meagre resources of Pakistan armed forces. The world surely feels and extends some consolation for the poor beleagured, innocent, suffering masses in Pakistan.

So what else is new? Perpetrators based in PAkistan commit another heinous crime and all the Pakistan government can do is plead helplessness in maintaining law and order in its borders.

And the US continues to give billions of dollars of aid to this country.


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