ISLAMABAD: Voicing serious concerns over the deepening crisis in the Persian Gulf, Pakistan on Thursday urged Iran and the United States to show restraint as any “miscalculated move can transmute into a large-scale conflict”.
Speaking at a weekly news briefing in Islamabad, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said recent developments in the Persian Gulf region were disturbing.
He emphasised the need for resolving all issues through peaceful dialogue and engagement by all sides.
“The US decision to deploy aircraft carrier and bombers has added to the tensions and the existing precarious security situation in Middle East,” Faisal said. “We expect all sides to show restraint as a miscalculated move can transmute into a large-scale conflict.”
His statement came against the backdrop of heightened fears of a clash between the US and Iran. The US has recently sent an aircraft carrier and a bomber taskforce to the Middle East in response to what officials called “a credible threat” by Iranian regime forces.
Saudi Arabia said that several of its oil tankers had been damaged in mysterious “sabotage attacks” after US warnings that Iran could target shipping in the region.
Observers believe that any serious conflict between Iran and the US would test the diplomatic skills of Pakistan, which has close ties with Iran’s arch rival Saudi Arabia but at the same time does not want to antagonise the neighbouring country.
Sensing the gravity of the situation, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi recently admitted that Pakistan needed to evolve a clear strategy on the Iran-US tensions. He went on to say that Pakistan would not join any camp in case of a conflict broke out between the Tehran and Washington. Qureshi noted that Pakistan would evolve its strategy keeping in view its best national interests.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson said the UAE government had decided to release 572 Pakistani prisoners languishing in their jails. “Our mission in the UAE is in touch with the UAE authorities in order to expedite their release and deportation,” Faisal said.
He also said that soon a good news would be shared regarding the release of Pakistani prisoners from Saudi jails. Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman during his visit to Pakistan in February had agreed to release over 2,000 Pakistan prisoners, held over minor crimes, at the request of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The spokesperson also confirmed that 50 Pakistanis were deported from the United States on Wednesday through a chartered flight.
On the current situation in Kashmir, Faisal strongly condemned the Indian atrocities, saying the valley had been turned into a military camp, “where people are under siege, facing injustice, harassment and barbarism”.
The spokesperson asked India to stop “misleading international community on Kashmir dispute and accept the ground realities and aspirations of the people of Kashmir.”