Pakistan ready to 'facilitate' efforts to reduce regional tension - PM Khan

A handout picture provided by the Iranian Presidency on October 13, 2019 shows President Hassan Rouhani (R) and Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan giving a joint press conference in the Iranian capital Tehran. (AFP)
Updated 14 October 2019

Pakistan ready to 'facilitate' efforts to reduce regional tension - PM Khan

  • Pakistani premier visited Tehran on Sunday to promote regional peace and security
  • Pakistan on Friday rejected reports that Saudi Arabia had asked Islamabad to mediate on Iran 

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday that Pakistan will extend full facilitation of efforts to de-escalate tensions in the Arabian Gulf and help resolve differences and disputes through political and diplomatic means, as he held wide-ranging talks with the Iranian leadership in Tehran.

“Pakistan will act as a facilitator, not as a mediator to help reduce tensions – now and in the future,” Khan said addressing a joint news conference with President Hassan Rouhani.  

Khan said that “I am happy to facilitate talks between Tehran and Riyadh...I am very hopeful as I had constructive talks with the (Iranian) president.”

Pakistan's foreign office said in a statement that Khan’s Iran visit was “part of his initiative to promote peace and security in the region.”

The prime minister was accompanied by a high-level delegation including Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Special Assistant to the PM on overseas Pakistanis, Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari, and other senior officials.

Khan also met Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during his day-long visit. He is scheduled to travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

“The Prime Minister reaffirmed his resolve to comprehensively upgrade Pakistan- Iran relations. He also apprised the Supreme Leader of his initiative for regional peace and security,” the foreign office said.

The latest trip will be Khan’s second visit to Iran this year. He also held a bilateral meeting with the Iranian president on the sidelines of the 74th United Nations General Assembly session in New York last month.

On Friday the Pakistani foreign office in a statement rejected media reports that Saudi Arabia had asked Pakistan to play a mediatory role to defuse tensions with Iran. 

“These reports are without any basis as no such letter or message was conveyed, nor has Saudi Arabia asked Pakistan to play any mediatory role with Iran,” the foreign office said. 

Pakistan to resume outbound international flights on Saturday

Updated 29 May 2020

Pakistan to resume outbound international flights on Saturday

  • International travel was suspended on March 21, as a measure to contain the spread of coronavirus
  • Airlines operating international flights will have to follow the SOPs of their destination countries

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will resume outbound international flight operations from Saturday, after having its airspace closed for commercial flights for over two months.
“Both national and foreign airlines shall be allowed to operate from all international airports of Pakistan with exception of Gwadar and Turbat,” the Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) said in a statement on Friday.
As the pandemic is not over, PCAA said airlines operating the flights will have to follow the standard operating procedures of their destination countries.
“SOPs for outbound international flights have already been issued according to which airlines will be required to follow the SOPs of the destination country. Additionally, disinfection of aircraft will be ensured and no congestion at airports shall be allowed,” the statement read.
International travel was suspended on March 21, as a measure to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Also on Friday, the PCAA said domestic flight volume would be increased, starting from June 1, to up to 45 percent of pre-pandemic operations from the current 20 percent, amid growing business and public demand for air travel. 
Domestic flights resumed at five airports on May 16, when the country started to reboot economic activity and ease coronavirus restrictions on businesses.
The five airports are Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore, Islamabad International Airport (IIAP), Quetta International Airport, and Bacha Khan International Airport in Peshawar.