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India fanning flames of fire: Gen Bajwa

RAWALPINDI: Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday said India was fanning the flames of fire and this situation merited the attention of international community.

Chairing the 219th Corps Commanders’ Conference at the General Headquarters (GHQ) here, General Bajwa said continuity of brutalities in the Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) was only fueling the fire and needed to be stopped in the interest of regional peace.

“The policy and right to use of force shall remain a prerogative of the state alone,” he emphasised, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

Appreciating the morale and performance of the armed forces, support from the nation and above all blessings of Almighty Allah, General Bajwa directed continued state of vigilance and alertness so as to be prepared for a response to any threat.

“Pakistan is on the positive trajectory of peace, stability and progress and no one can make us budge through use or threat of use of force,” he added. He directed speedy implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) in line with the government’s decisions while rendering full assistance to other state institutions.

The National Action Plan was launched towards the end of the year 2014 to intensify crackdown on terrorism and extremism. The commanders reviewed the geo-strategic environment and situation due to the ongoing Pakistan-India standoff.

The forum expressed strong will, resolve and determination to defend the motherland against any misadventure or aggression. The top brass of Pakistan Army also expressed concern over increased Indian atrocities in the Indian Held Kashmir post-Pulwama incident and continued deliberate targeting of civilians along the Line of Control (LoC) by the Indian occupation forces.

Meanwhile, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir on Thursday met Prime Minister Imran Khan soon after his arrival in Islamabad. According to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Saudi Arabia had expressed its “deep appreciation of Pakistan's peace overtures for normalisation of current situation” which was the result of Indian aggression against Pakistan under the pretext of Pulwama suicide attack.

The premier was told that Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman had acknowledged therole played by Pakistan for regional peace and stability. The Saudi foreign minister is on an official visit to Pakistan to follow up on the visit of Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman last month.

It is understood that Saudi Arabia has played significant role in defusing tension between Pakistan and India in the wake of Pulwama suicide attack and Indian aggression against Pakistan that was responded befittingly.

The countries virtually reached the brink of a war due to Indian provocations. Recalling the landmark visit of crown prince to Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed the confidence that the decisions of releasing 2107 Pakistani prisoners detained in Saudi jails and increasing the Haj quota to 200,000 would be implemented in a smooth and timely manner.

He said the crown prince had won the hearts of Pakistani people by his generous offer of support to the Pakistani community. Expressing satisfaction over the progress towards medium and long-term economic and investment cooperation, the prime minister hoped that the newly launched Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council will help build a comprehensive, tangible and result-oriented relationship between the two countries.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Secretary Ms. Tehmina Janjua and Saudi ambassador in Pakistan Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki were also present during the meeting. Conveying sincere wishes of Crown Prince to the leadership and people of Pakistan, Adel al-Jubeir expressed deep appreciation of Pakistan's peace overtures to normalise current situation and its role for regional peace and stability.

Adel al-Jubeir also met his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi and assured him of his country’s full cooperation for peaceful settlement of all the outstanding issues between Pakistan and India.

During a meeting here, the two counterparts discussed matters of mutual interest, including Pakistan-India tension and regional peace. The Saudi minister was on a daylong visit to Pakistan at the direction of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and his tour was aimed at normalizing the current tense between Pakistan and India.

Qureshi welcomed the crown prince’s mediation offer to deescalate tensions between Pakistan and India. Both the foreign ministers agreed to implement steps to promote two-way economic, political and security cooperation under Pak-Saudi Supreme Coordination Council.

Speaking to a private television channel prior to the Saudi minister’s arrival, Qureshi said Pakistan endeared its relations with Saudi Arabia adding that Adel Al-Jubeir had declared Pakistan his second home. Sources said that Adel Al-Jubeir will convey an important message of Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman to PM Imran Khan.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi Thursday said Pakistan would welcome European Union to play role as mediator on bilateral issues with India. He was addressing a joint press conference with the foreign minister of Luxembourg Jean Asselborn here at Foreign Office.

Qureshi said India had always proposed bilateral dialogue process and whenever Pakistan brought the third party, India showed its preference for a bilateral table talk. The minister said Pakistan and Luxembourg had delegation level talks on mutual interests, bilateral trade, and investment.

“We have had a discussion on Pakistan’s FATF status, post-Pulwama attack scenario and developments on the Afghan peace process,” he added. Jean Asselborn appreciated Pakistan’s significant role in defusing tension with India and thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for his goodwill gesture of releasing the captured Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman.

To a question, he said no one in world favored an armed conflict in the region and offered that his country was ready to play role as mediator for peace between the two nuclear countries. He stressed that both the countries knew that it was not only terrorism but resolving the Kashmir issue could bring a significant change in bilateral relations.

He also lauded Pakistan's role in the ongoing Afghan peace talks. “We welcome Pakistan’s effort for facilitating talks between the US and Taliban. A peaceful Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s interest and we believe Pakistan has really important influence in this regard,” he added.

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