ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Wednesday expressed concerns over the growing tensions in US-Iran relations and said the region could not afford a war.
In the early hours of Wednesday, Iran launched missile attacks on two US military bases in Iraq in retaliation for the US drone strike on Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani whose killing has raised fears of a wider war in the war-torn Middle East.
“The region cannot afford war. It is not in anyone’s interest and will impact the global economy,” Qureshi said, according to a statement issued by the foreign minister’s spokesperson.
Qureshi added: “The ones who were attacked this morning are still assessing the damage. Initial reports suggest that there has been no loss of human life.”
Commenting on Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s recent statement, Qureshi said it reflected Iran’s intent to not escalate tensions.
“The statement reflected the seriousness of the situation and showed restraint. The US should also exercise caution.
“There is still a large majority in the US which is not in favor of war and does not want to thrust the US army into the frontlines,” he said.
The foreign minister added he had been in touch with his counterparts in the region. “We are also endeavoring to ensure that tensions in the region remain in check.”
Qureshi went on to say that the views expressed by him during the Senate session on Monday were the views of the government.
“It is too premature to say anything for certain as the situation is still precarious. However, Pakistan does not want tensions to escalate. This region cannot witness yet another war,” the foreign minister emphasised.
“Such matters need to be resolved through dialogue. The UN security council and the international community needs to play a role in resolving tensions in the region,” he said.
PAKISTAN URGES NATIONALS TO AVOID TRAVELLING TO IRAQ
The Foreign Office has advised Pakistanis to “exercise maximum restraint” while planning a visit to Iraq.
According to a press release issued on Wednesday, the FO advised “those already in Iraq […] to remain in close contact with the Pakistan embassy in Baghdad”.
Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui also confirmed the same on Twitter.
In view of recent developments & prevailing security situation in the region, Pakistani nationals are advised to exercise maximum caution while planning visit to Iraq at this point.
Those already in Iraq are advised to remain in close contact with Pakistan Embassy in Baghdad.
— Spokesperson 🇵🇰 MoFA (@ForeignOfficePk) January 8, 2020