Pak PM Khan directs Qureshi to visit Iran, Saudi, US

Pak PM Khan directs Qureshi to visit Iran, Saudi, US

Khan has also asked Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to contact "relevant military leaders" to convey Pakistan's willingness for peace. File photo

Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to visit Iran, Saudi Arabia and the US as part of Pakistan's efforts to defuse the tensions in the Gulf region following the killing of a top Iranian general in a US drone strike.

Khan has also asked Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to contact "relevant military leaders" to convey Pakistan's willingness for peace.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Khan said, "I have asked FM Qureshi to visit Iran, KSA & USA to meet with respective foreign ministers, Secretary of State; & COAS Gen Bajwa to contact relevant military leaders to convey a clear message: Pakistan is ready to play it's role for peace but it can never again be part of any war."

Earlier, Foreign Minister Qureshi also said Pakistan would not become part of any war.

"The region cannot afford a war. It is not in anyone's interest and will impact the global economy," he said.

The unexpected US strike, ordered by President Donald Trump, that killed Iran's most powerful military commander Qasem Soleimani on Friday last brought the entire Gulf region closer to a full-blown conflict. Regional tensions remain high after Iran on Wednesday fired missiles at two bases in Iraq used by US forces in retaliation for the killing of Soleimani.

Earlier, Qureshi told the Senate that Pakistan was keeping close look at the situation and would try that it should not escalate.

"Such matters need to be resolved through dialogue. The UN Security Council and the international community need to play a role in resolving tensions in the region," he said.

According to a Pakistan Army statement on Wednesday, US Defence Secretary Mark Esper telephoned General Bajwa and discussed the situation in the Middle East.

"We would like the situation to de-escalate and shall support all initiatives which bring peace in the region. We call upon all concerned to avoid rhetoric in favour of diplomatic engagement. We all have worked a lot to bring peace in the region by fighting against terrorism, Bajwa told Esper.

"We will continue to play our constructive part towards success of Afghan reconciliation process so that it doesn't get derailed and the region goes towards conflict resolution instead of new conflicts," he said.

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