PM says Pakistan will not be part of ME conflict

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ISLAMABAD, JAN 08 (DNA) – Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday expressed deep concern over the evolving situation in the Middle East in view of the U.S.-Iran tension, and underlined the imperative of avoiding any further escalation.

The prime minister offered the remarks while talking to Minister for Endowment and Religious Affairs of Oman Sheikh Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Abdullah Assalami in Islamabad after tension between the U.S. and Iran heightened over a U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani on Friday near Baghdad airport.

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) on Wednesday targeted U.S. bases in Iraq including al-Asad and Harir Camp to the north of Erbil with a second wave of surface-to-surface missiles, semi-official.

The prime minister’s office said in Islamabad that Khan and the Omani minister discussed the recent developments in the Middle East and Gulf region and Khan called for immediate measures for de-escalation and said that war is in nobody’s interest.

“Recalling that Pakistan had suffered greatly due to earlier regional conflicts, the prime minister made clear that Pakistan would not be part of any conflict in the region,” according to the statement issued from the prime minister’s office.

Khan also recalled his earlier efforts for facilitation of contacts between the U.S. and Iran as well as Iran and Saudi Arabia for peaceful resolution of differences and disputes.

“Pakistan would always be a partner for peace. Pakistan would continue to play its role in seeking to defuse tensions, prevent a conflict, and preserve the peace,” the statement quoted the prime minister as saying.

The government has been involved in diplomatic efforts over the past few days to defuse tension and the country’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi spoke with foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait.

The Prime Minister extended cordial greetings and best wishes for His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al-Said. Noting the traditionally close fraternal ties between Pakistan and Oman, he expressed the desire to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in all fields.

The Prime Minister highlighted the dire human rights and humanitarian situation arising from the inhuman lockdown in IOJ&K for over five months and noted the discriminatory policies of the BJP government against minorities, especially Muslims. He stressed that the international community had to take urgent steps to address this situation. = DNA

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