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January 6, 2020

Pak soil not to be used against anyone: DG ISPR

Pakistan

January 6, 2020

RAWALPINDI: Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor on Sunday said that Pakistan will only play the role of a peacemaker and not take sides in the ongoing conflict between the United States and neighbouring Iran.

The DG ISPR, in an interview with a news channel, said "Pakistan has defeated terrorism on its territory and will not allow its soil to be used against any other country." Major General Asif Ghafoor said Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa have made efforts for moving Pakistan forward with its positive role for peace in the region. Quoting the prime minister and army chief, he said Pakistan would not allow use of its soil against any country.

“Pakistan will not be a party to or against anyone but will be partner of peace and peace alone,” Major General Asif Ghafoor, while further quoting the prime minister, said. The military spokesman said that Pakistan is very much relevant country in the region enjoying an important place. He said international civil and military leadership continue to engage with Prime Minister Imran Khan because of his credibility and his relevance, while the army chief also continuously engages with international civil and military leaderships.

The DG ISPR pointed out that India is playing lead role in spreading rumours that Pakistan will support the United States against Iran, requesting the masses that they should believe only in authentic sources. He also rejected an impression given in an article appearing in Indian media that Pakistan has ditched Iran because ofrestoration of military training by the US.

He said that linking restoration of military training by the US to Iran conflict is part of propaganda, adding that talks between the two countries were on for the last five to six months which is also part of military to military engagement.

“We have achieved peace in the region after rendering many sacrifices and will not become part of any process which can deteriorate peace here,” he maintained. Major General Asif Ghafoor observed that any tense situation with reference to any regional country was against efforts for peace. He said that General Qamar Javed Bajwa told the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he called him that no step should be taken which could jeopardise Afghan peace and reconciliation process as the region is moving towards better security situation and Pakistan is also playing its due role in the process.

Secondly, he said General Bajwa told Pompeo that tension between different countries should be eased while playing constructive role and following dialogue process. “In this connection, the army chief also told the US official that Pakistan supports all peace efforts so that the region does not face any war-like situation,” the DG ISPR said.

He said the region has been facing many problems from security point view in the last four decades during which Afghan war and 9/11 also took place which followed war on terror. He observed that the region also saw escalations between Pakistan and India bringing them at the verge of war on February 27, 2019 and India faced humiliation and suffered huge loss as two of its aircraft were shot and pilot taken into custody.

The DG ISPR pointed out that during this period Pakistan made every effort which could take the region towards peace including war on terror, protect Pak-Afghan border and played positive role in peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. He said Pakistan also demonstrated its role as responsible state despite all the conspiracies of India.

Responding to a question about threatening language used by the new Indian army chief, the DG ISPR said the Indian army chief might be new in the current position, but he was not new in his army and he must be aware of regional situation and potential of Pakistan’s armed forces.

“The Indian army chief should demonstrate wisdom as Pak armed forces know how to defend the motherland,” he said, adding that Pakistan desires peace in the region but will not make compromise on country’s defence and sovereignty. He advised the Indian army chief to focus on ending siege and brutalities in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and ending Hinduvata activities elsewhere in India otherwise what was happening there would take India towards disaster.

Agencies add: Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi had telephonic conversations with his counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Iran, UAE and Turkey in a bid to defuse tension in the region amid the US-Iran standoff.

There was wide-ranging exchange of views on the unfolding situation in the region during telephonic conversations. Highlighting Pakistan’s deep concern over the recent developments, Shah Mehmood Qureshi underscored the imperative of avoidance of conflict, exercise of maximum restraint and de-escalation of tensions. He renewed the call on all parties concerned to abide by the UN Charter and principles of international law to settle differences through peaceful means.

The foreign minister also reaffirmed that Pakistan would neither let its soil be used against any other state nor become part of any regional conflict. Sharing Pakistan’s perspective, Shah Mehmood expressed hope that the progress made in the Afghan peace process would be preserved and further advanced. The minister reiterated Pakistan’s readiness to continue to play a role in preventing further escalation and maintaining regional peace and stability.

In his discussion with Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif, the Middle East situation following Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani’s killing in Iraq by the US came under discussion. Matters pertaining to peace and security in the region were also discussed.

During telephonic conversation with Saudi Arabia’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, Qureshi highlighted Pakistan’s deep concern over the recent developments and underscored the imperative of avoidance of conflict, exercise of maximum restraint and de-escalation of tensions.