Pakistan urges US, Iran to resolve issues through negotiations

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Staff Report

Islamabad

Pakistan on Thursday urged the United States and Iran to show restraint and resolve the issues that have ratcheted up tensions between them through negotiations

Addressing a weekly news conference in Islamabad, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said that the recent developments in the Persian Gulf are disturbing. He said the US decision to deploy aircraft carrier and bombers have added to the tension and the existing precarious security situation in the Middle East.

The spokesperson warned that any miscalculated move can transmute into a large scale conflict.

Condemning the Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir, the Spokesperson said the valley has been turned into a military camp where people are under siege facing injustice, harassment and barbarism.

The remarks come a day after the US ordered all nonessential government staff to leave Iraq, and Germany and the Netherlands both suspended their military assistance programs in the country in the latest sign of tensions sweeping the Persian Gulf region over still-unspecified threats that the Trump administration says are linked to Iran.

Recent days have seen allegations of sabotage targeting oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, a drone attack by Yemen’s Iranian-allied Houthi rebels, and the dispatch of US warships and bombers to the region.

At the root of this appears to be President Donald Trump’s decision a year ago to pull the US from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, embarking on a maximalist sanctions campaign against Tehran. In response, Iran’s supreme leader issued a veiled threat on Tuesday, saying it wouldn’t be difficult for the Islamic Republic to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels.

Dr Muhammad Faisal said India should stop misleading international community on Kashmir dispute adding that India cannot crush the freedom movement through its hostilities. He also expressed concerns over illegal detention of Hurriyat leaders and demanded their release at the earliest.

When asked about Samjhauta Express incident, the spokesperson said that Pakistan has raised this issue at all the important forums and also protested with India over the release of the culprits.

Dr Faisal during the news briefing also announced that the UAE government has decided to release 572 Pakistani prisoners who were incarcerated in its jails.

He said that the Pakistani mission in the Emirates is in touch with local authorities in order to expedite the inmates’ release and deportation.

Answering a question, the spokesperson said the nation would also hear a “good news” regarding the release of Pakistani prisoners from jails in Saudi Arabia very soon.

To another question, Dr Muhammad Faisal said that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is scheduled to pay a two day visit to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan from 21st of this month to participate in the SCO meeting of Council of Foreign Ministers. He said the meeting will provide an opportunity to Pakistan to highlight its interest in the regional peace and stability. He said the Prime Minister is expected to participate in the SCO Heads of State Meeting being held on 13th and 14th of next month in Bishkek.

When asked about the return of Afghan refugees, Dr Muhammad Faisal admitted that the pace of repatriation slowed down due to various reasons. He, however, said Pakistan is engaged with Afghanistan to ensure dignified and voluntary return of the refugees.