RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa Tuesday said Pakistan will continue to play a "responsible and positive role" in diffusing regional tensions without compromising its national security and defence of the country.
Gen Bajwa presided over a Corps' Commanders Conference at the General Headquarters (GHQ) to discuss threatening statements from India and the "evolving" US-Iran situation. A statement from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) quoted the army chief saying that Pakistan is one of the "lead participants" for regional peace in reference to recent remarks by Indian Army Chief Gen Manoj Mukund. He had said that if his army receives orders from the Indian parliament to 'reclaim' Azad Kashmir from Pakistan, it will take military action.
"Pakistan is one of the lead participants with significant contributions towards peace and stability efforts in the region. We shall continue to play our responsible and positive role towards this end without compromising national security and defence of the motherland at whatever cost," read a statement from the ISPR.
Tensions have soared in the past two weeks between Washington and Tehran after a US drone strike ordered by President Trump killed top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani . Tehran responded a few days later by targeting two military bases in Iraq housing US troops with ballistic missiles.
On Prime Minister Imran Khan's instructions, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has held meetings in the past couple of days with his Irani and Saudi counterparts. Pakistan had made it clear it will not participate in anyone else's war again.
Army chief expresses grief over loss of lives in Azad Kashmir
According to the ISPR, the army chief expressed grief over the loss of lives due to intense snowfall in Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Balochistan. He also offered condolences to the bereaved families.
The army chief gave directions for continued assistance to the civil administration for rescue and relief operations.
“Army helicopters are undertaking operations in snow hit areas of Sharda, Sargan, Bakwal and Taobat,” said the ISPR, adding that Pakistan Army Urban Search & Rescue teams are evacuating stranded population.
The ISPR said that doctors, paramedics, tents, rations, blankets, and medicines are being provided to the affected families.