US-Iran tensions: PM Khan calls for de-escalation, ensures Pakistan won’t be part of conflict

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday expressed deep concern over the recent US-Iran tensions and called for a de-escalation between the two countries, reiterating that Pakistan will not take part in any conflict, according to Radio Pakistan.

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The prime minister met Oman’s Minister for Endowment and Religious Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Abdullah Assalami where “he expressed deep concern over the evolving situation in the region (Middle East)”.

In a response to the US strike that killed Al Quds commander Qassem Soleimani, Iran fired multiple surface-to-surface ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq that housed American troops. This was the first time that Iran has directly engaged the US military in conflict as previously the two countries waged battles against each other through proxies and militias.

Making it clear that Pakistan will not be part of any conflict, Khan said “war is in nobody’s interest”. The premier recalled how Pakistan itself had suffered for many years owing to regional conflicts.

During the meeting, the prime minister said he had earlier tried to facilitate contacts between Iran and the US as well as Tehran and Riyadh. The prime minister reiterated that Pakistan will continue to be a “partner for peace” and do its part to avoid conflict.

During the meeting, the prime minister spoke of Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir as well, urging the international community to act against the inhumane act of the BJP government against the Muslim population in the disputed territory.

He highlighted the “dire human rights and humanitarian situation” arising out of Indian-held Kashmir for more than five months.

Qassem Soleimani killed in US strike on Baghdad

Top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani was killed last week in a US strike on Baghdad´s international airport.

The Pentagon had said US President Donald Trump ordered Soleimani’s “killing,” after a pro-Iran mob this week laid siege to the US embassy. Declaring three days of mourning across the country, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed to take “severe revenge” for Soleimani´s death.

The US had acted in response to a rocket attack days earlier that had killed an American contractor working in Iraq. Trump had blamed Iran for a spate of rocket attacks targeting US forces as well as the siege at the embassy, saying: “They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat.”

Trump says ‘all is well’ after Zarif tweets Iran targeted base in ‘self-defense’

United States President Donald Trump confirmed that Iran had carried out missile strikes on a US base in Iraq, shortly after the attack. The US President said that an assessment of the casualties and damages was taking place and a statement would be made early Wednesday.

“All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning,” he tweeted.

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