Pakistan ready to play de-escalation role: FO

By Asghar Ali Mubarak ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday expressed its readiness to contribute towards peace in the region, saying it would welcome any move by the United States and Iran to deescalate the current tense situation. “Any attempt by the concerned parties to diffuse tension and restore peace in the region will be welcomed by Pakistan,” Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqi said at a weekly press briefing. The spokesperson said U.S President Donald Trump’s address to his nation carried a hint of peace following a retaliatory attack by Iran on its military bases in Iraq after assassination of its top military commander General QassemSuleimani in an air strike by U.S. forces on January 3. “We believe there is an indication by President Donald Trump that peace must be given a chance,” she said, adding that Pakistan was evaluating the contours of his speech. Spokesperson Farooqi said there was always a room for engagement within the region and beyond, saying the upcoming visits of Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to Saudi Arabia, Iran and United States on direction of Prime Minister Imran Khan was aimed at delivering a message of peace. “War is in no one’s interest and the region cannot afford any more conflict. The collective wisdom demands that all must play their role towards peace, which Pakistan is certainly doing at the moment,” she said. The spokesperson said

Continued on Page 7