Gen Bajwa offers ‘sound counsel’ to US Defence Secretary Mark Esper

COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Tuesday “offered sound counsel” to US Defence Secretary Mark Esper amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington over last week’s killing of a top Iranian general in Baghdad.

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“I always appreciate speaking with our partners and allies in the region,” wrote Esper. “We all seek de-escalation of tensions with Iran.”

He added that while Washington did not want conflict, it will “respond forcefully” if required.  “Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Pakistani General Bajwa both offered sound counsel and advice in calls today,” tweeted the US official.

Earlier, the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, made a phone call to Gen Bajwa to discuss the regional situation after the killing of General Qassem Soleimani, a top commander of Iran’s elite Al Quds force in Baghdad.

Pakistan’s stance

It may be mentioned here that no direct communication between PM Imran and US officials has been reported yet.

With high stakes, Pakistan has been on the fore-front of the push to de-escalate tensions. Citing Prime Minister Imran Khan and the army chief, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Major General Asif Ghafoor said Islamabad will not allow its soil to be used against anyone and will play its role to secure peace in the region.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Pakistan will not take sides in the escalating confrontation between neighboring Iran and the United States.

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