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Pak expresses concern over Soleimani killing, calls for maximum restraint

General Soleimani was killed when a drone fired missiles into a convoy that was leaving the Baghdad International Airport early on Friday

Press Trust of India  |  Islamabad 

Qassem Soleimani
File Photo: Qassem Soleimani prays in a religious ceremony at a mosque in the residence of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Pakistan on Friday expressed deep concern and called for maximum restraint from all sides after the US killed top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, dramatically escalating hostilities in the Persian Gulf region.

General Soleimani, the powerful commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, was killed when a drone fired missiles into a convoy that was leaving the Baghdad Airport early on Friday.

The strike also killed the deputy chief of Iraq's powerful Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force and some local Iran-backed militias.

"Pakistan has viewed with deep concern the recent developments in the Middle East, which seriously threatens peace and stability in the region," the Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) said.

The FO asked all parties to exercise maximum restraint, engage constructively to de-escalate the situation, and resolve issues through diplomatic means in accordance to the UN Charter and laws.

The FO said respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity were the fundamental principles of the UN Charter which should be adhered to.

The FO said unilateral actions and use of force must be avoided.

The Pentagon has confirmed the death of Soleimani, saying the military action was carried out at the direction of President Donald Trump.

"At the direction of the president, the US military has taken decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organisation," the Pentagon said in a statement.

First Published: Fri, January 03 2020. 20:45 IST