Pakistan’s Foreign Office also advises constructive engagement to de-escalate tense situation
Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday emphasized the need for maximum restraint during a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over the situation in the Middle East following the killing of an Iranian commander in a drone strike.
In a press release, the Inter-Services Public Relations Directorate said the two officials had the regional situation in light of the events of Jan. 3—when the U.S. targeted a convoy near the Baghdad international airport, killing Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force. The assassination has been deemed a massive escalation of conflict between the U.S. and Iran, with Tehran declaring it an act of war and vowing retaliation.
During their phone call, said ISPR, the Army chief emphasized the need for constructive engagement by all stakeholders to de-escalate the situation in the broader interest of peace and stability. “[The] COAS also reiterated the need for maintaining focus on success of the Afghan peace process,” it added.
On Twitter, Pompeo also said he had spoken to Bajwa about the “U.S. defensive action” to kill Soleimani. “The Iran regime’s actions in the region are destabilizing and our resolve in protecting American interests, personnel, facilities, and partners will not waver,” he added.
The Pentagon on Friday morning said U.S. President Donald Trump had ordered Soleimani’s killing after a pro-Iran mob this week laid siege to the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. It claimed Soleimani was actively planning attacks on American diplomats and service members throughout the region.
Separately, Pakistan’s Foreign Office issued a statement urging both Washington and Tehran to avoid unilateral actions and abide by each other’s territorial sovereignty. “Pakistan has viewed with deep concern the recent developments in the Middle East, which seriously threaten peace and stability in the region,” said the statement. “Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity are the fundamental principles of the U.N. Charter, which should be adhered to. It is also important to avoid unilateral actions and use of force,” it said. “All parties are urged to exercise maximum restraint, engage constructively to de-escalate the situation, and resolve issues through diplomatic means, in accordance with U.N. Charter and international law,” it added.