1973 raid on the Iraqi embassy in Pakistan
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The 1973 discovery of arms in the Iraqi Embassy in Pakistan refers to an armed conflict between the State of Pakistan and the Iraqi Embassy situated in Islamabad. The conflict ended with a successful special military operation led by Pakistan's Special Service Group (SSG) and the Pakistan Paramilitary Rangers. Following the incident, the Iraqi Ambassador and his staff were expelled from Pakistan as personae non gratae.
Relations between the Baloch separatists and the State of Iraq had historical roots and were strong before the United States invasion of Iraq. Following the 1971 war, Iraq collaborated with the Soviet Union to launch a covert operation to provide military aid to the Balochi nationalists in Pakistan and Iran. The aim of this exercise was to destabilize the two countries by helping dissident Baloch parties in their struggles to seek independence from the Pakistani and Iranian States. The operation remained successful during the early 1970s, but ultimately failed when there was a dispute amongst the Nationalist leaders involved in this operation. The dispute took place when Balochi leaders Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo and Ataullah Mengal of National Awami Party refused to accept the demands of Akbar Bugti to establish himself as the Governor of the Province of Balochistan.
On the midnight of 9 February 1973, Akbar Khan Bugti told Pakistani authorities about a weapons shipment smuggled from the Soviet Union with Iraqi assistance. He reported that the weapons were being kept in the Iraqi embassy in Islamabad. On 10 February 1973, the Pakistani authorities began to prepare a quick military operation. After limited hours of planning, a special military operation was led by Special Service Group accompanied by the Pakistan Paramilitary Rangers to storm the Iraqi embassy. Following this incident, authorities found 300 Soviet submachine guns with 50,000 rounds of ammunitions and large amount of money that was to be distributed amongst Baluchi separatist groups.
Following this incident, the nationalist leader Sher Mohammad Marri visited Baghdad. Newspapers reported that the arms were intended to be given to Balochi separatists in both Pakistan and Iran to fuel tensions among the two states and the dissident tribes. A few months later, it was also reported that in reality, the arms were not found in the Iraqi Embassy but in the Iraqi consulate in Karachi. Some authorities predicted that the discovery of these weapons would muster greater support for the government from other ethnic groups in the country. A military operation was also launched in Baluchistan shortly after this incident. This counter-insurgency operation finally ended in 1977 after the end of insurgency and rebellion in Baluchistan. Despite this setback, Iraq continued to support underground activities to empower Balochi nationalists and destabilize Pakistan.
- Iraq-Pakistan relations
- Baloch (disambiguation)
- Iraqi support of Baloch rebels
- Sistan and Baluchestan Province
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