Pakistan, Iran trying to stem militant flow to Iraq

Pakistan, Iran trying to stem militant flow to Iraq
Tue Jul 22, 2008: Reuters

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan is working with Iran on a joint-strategy to stem the flow of Islamist militants through their territory to and from Iraq, Pakistan's senior most interior ministry official said on Tuesday.

"From Iran, they go to Iraq and then come back," Rehman Malik, adviser to the prime minister on interior ministry affairs, told reporters after talks with his Iranian counterpart. "We are preparing a joint strategy to control it."

Pakistan has come under intense pressure from Western allies that have troops in Afghanistan to stop Taliban and al Qaeda militants from using sanctuaries in tribal areas along the border.

Pakistan, which itself is facing rising militancy at home, says it is committed to fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban militants but will not allow foreign troops to operate on its soil.

Malik said Iran, which is predominantly Shi'ite Muslim, and Pakistan, mainly Sunni Muslim, had agreed to set up a joint commission of clerics to reduce sectarian strife in Pakistan.

"It will send a good message to Shi'ite and Sunni brethren that they should stop cutting each other's throats," Malik said.

Thousands of people have been killed in sectarian attacks by militants from the two Muslim sects in Pakistan over the past three decades.

(Reporting by Zeeshan Haider; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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