Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday that Pakistan will "never get involved" in other countries' wars again and will serve as an "example" for other Muslim countries and "lead" them.
Khan made the comments a day after he directed Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to visit Iran, Saudi Arabia and the US as part of Pakistan's efforts to defuse the tensions in the Gulf region following the killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike and Tehran attacked military bases in Iraq housing American troops.
He said Pakistan will become a country that will "serve as an example for other Muslim countries around the world and lead them".
I even told President Donald Trump that I will help establish peace between Iran and the United States, Imran Khan said
Geo News quoted Khan as saying that Pakistan had been committing mistakes in its foreign policy "by getting involved in others' wars".
"Pakistan will never participate in anyone's war again," he said while launching an ambitious skill development programme here aimed at the emancipation of youth through quality professional training.
Khan has previously said that Pakistan has suffered immensely over its role as a front-line state during the 'Afghan Jihad' in the 1980s and the US-led war on terror following the 9/11 terror attacks.
He had also said that even though there were economic advantages to these conflicts, with foreign funding flowing into Pakistan, the eventual cost to the fabric of Pakistani society was not worth it.
"Pakistan will become the country that encourages peace in other countries," he said, adding that Islamabad will do its best to bring about peace between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
"This (peace between Saudi Arabia and Iran) will be our biggest effort," he said.
"I even told (President) Donald Trump that I will help establish peace between Iran and the US," he was quoted as saying.
'Nobody Ever Wins a War'
Khan said that "nobody ever wins a war", saying that Pakistanis knew very well how much Pakistan had suffered due to the War on Terror.
Meanwhile, a senior aide to the prime minister said the US sought Pakistan's help to de-escalate tensions in the Persian Gulf amidst the recent standoff between Washington and Tehran.
I have asked FM Qureshi to visit Iran, KSA & USA to meet with respective foreign ministers, Secretary of State; & COAS Gen Bajwa to contact relevant military leaders to convey a clear message: Pakistan is ready to play it's role for peace but it can never again be part of any war — Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) January 8, 2020
The US has asked Pakistan for help to de-escalate tensions in the region, according to Moeed Yusuf, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Division.
While taking part in a talkshow, Yusuf said "Washington asking Islamabad to play a role in the Middle East row shows Pakistan's international standing as a peacemaker."
The Nation newspaper noted that Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark Esper discussed the situation in the Gulf region during recent telephonic conversations.
Pakistan in a Tight Spot
- Pakistan is majority Sunni Muslim but has a large Shi’ite minority and is anxious to avoid any regional upheaval.
- An ally of Saudi Arabia, Tehran’s arch regional foe, Pakistan has a complex relationship with Iran, with which it shares a long border.
Pakistan is grappling with a severe economic crisis and its long land frontier with Iran is rife with cross-border militant activity.
Islamabad has also long had a tense relationship with the United States over the war in Afghanistan
But it badly needs US support, both in handling its severe balance of payments problems and in dealing with India
In Karachi, thousands of Shi'ite protestors, including women and children, carried images of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as of Soleimani.
They marched and chanted slogans of "Death to America," and "Death to Israel.
A smaller rally was also held in the capital, Islamabad, where protestors burnt US and Israeli flags.