Lahore              -          Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday urged “maximum restraint” and “constructive engagement” to de-escalate the situation in the Middle East.

In a statement on his official twitter account, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj-General Asif Ghafoor quoted the Army Chief as saying this in a telephonic call he received from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Mike Pompeo telephoned General Bajwa to discuss the situation after the death of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in a US attack in Baghdad yesterday. “Pakistan’s Chief of (Army) Staff General Bajwa and I spoke today about US defensive action to kill Qassem Soleimani,” Pompeo tweeted.

According to the US secretary of state, he told General Bajwa that Iran’s actions in the region were “destabilising” and the United States’ “resolve in protecting American interests, personnel, facilities and partners will not waver”.

Pompeo also made other tweets saying that he had contacted other officials including German Minister for Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

In the first of his two tweets, the DG ISPR said the Army Chief received a telephone call from the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Regional situation including possible implications of recent escalation in Middle East was discussed, said the DG ISPR.

The first tweet was followed by one more saying that “COAS emphasised need for maximum restraint and constructive engagement by all concerned to de-escalate the situation in broader interest of peace and stability.”

The COAS also reiterated the need for maintaining focus on success of the Afghan Peace Process, said the DG ISPR.

ISLAMABAD DEEPLY CONCERNED

Pakistan yesterday urged the parties to de-escalate tension in the Middle East.

Pakistan viewed the recent developments in the Middle East with “deep concern,” which seriously threaten peace and stability in the region.

“Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity are the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, which should be adhered to. It is also important to avoid unilateral actions and use of force,” said a foreign ministry statement issued in Islamabad.

It added: “All parties are urged to exercise maximum restraint, engage constructively to de-escalate the situation, and resolve issues through diplomatic means, in accordance with UN Charter and international law.”