Iran said the guards were just chasing drug dealers when they crossed into Pakistani soil Monday. But some in Pakistan suspect it has to do with last week's deadly suicide bombing in Iran.
Pakistani authorities on Tuesday released 11 Iranians – initially identified as members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard – who had been detained a day earlier for trespassing on Pakistani soil. The guards were arrested on Monday in the Mashkhel area near the Iran-Pakistan border eight days after a suicide bomber in Iran's Sistan-Balochistan province killed 42 people, including Revolutionary Guard commanders.
That attack heightened tensions between the two as Iran alleged those responsible were based in Pakistan. Islamabad denied the accusation.
After the guards' arrest in Pakistan, Iranian state television claimed that the border police had been pursuing suspected drug dealers and followed them into Pakistan as per a normal procedure, reports Al Jazeera. (For a map of the Iran-Pakistan border, click here.)Pakistan's decision to release the detained guards comes two days after Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Najjir agreed to initiate "joint border management to effectively control cross-border movement of terrorists, criminals, and illegal immigrants," reports the Pakistani daily, Dawn.