Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has once again called for de-escalation of tensions between Iran and the United States hours after Tehran fired missiles at two US military bases in Iraq in revenge for the target killing of its revered military commander.
US Secretary of Defence Dr Mark T Esper telephoned Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing security situation in the Middle East.
“[The] COAS received telephone call from US Secretary of Defence Dr Mark T Esper. Both discussed ongoing security situation in the Middle East,” the military’s media wing, the ISPR, said in a statement. “The secretary said that the US doesn’t want to seek conflict, but will respond forcefully if necessary.”
The army chief, on his part, said: “We would like situation to de-escalate & 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,” Gen Qamar was quoted as saying by the military spokesperson. He added that Pakistan would continue to play its constructive part towards success of the Afghan reconciliation process, so that “it doesn’t get derailed and region goes towards conflict resolution instead of new conflicts”.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan asked 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.”
A day earlier, in a statement on Twitter, Esper had acknowledged receiving “sound counsel” from Gen Bajwa as well as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.