ISLAMABAD  -  Pakistan has urged the United States to play a ‘meaningful role’ to end the Pak-India tension for the sake of regional peace.

Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that Islamabad had been in regular contact with Washington after the Indian attack late in February that received a response from Pakistan.

“The US is trying to play a role along with other countries to defuse the tension. We want a meaningful role from the US. They are a superpower and can ask India to stop aggression,” said one official.

Another official said the role so far by the US was ‘above neutral’ which was ‘not enough’ to normalize the situation. “The US has to push forward. We want them to ‘do more’ to defuse the tension. They (the US) have pledged to help,” he added.

The official said that Pakistan had told the US that if Washington proved helpful to defuse Pak-India tension, Islamabad will be relatively free to focus on Afghanistan.

“We have been helping them (the US) for peace with the Afghan Taliban. We will be more helpful if we are comfortable with the situation on the eastern side (with India),” he said.

After the February 26 Indian Air Force’s violations in Pakistan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had telephoned US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He said India was putting the regional peace and stability at risk in pursuit of its political and electoral targets.

Qureshi told Pompeo that Indian aggression was worthy of condemnation and hoped that the US will play its role in the situation. He briefed Pompeo about India’s violations at the Line of Control as well as the emotions of the Pakistani government, parliament and the people.

“Pakistan desires regional peace and stability but we cannot compromise on our stability,” Qureshi said. He said Islamabad had already informed the international community about New Delhi’s intentions following the Pulwama attack. However, he said, Pakistan had adopted an ‘extremely responsible attitude’ despite threats from India. He told Pompeo that the joint peace efforts in Afghanistan can be affected by the India’s aggression.

Afghan Taliban also jumped the bandwagon, warning that it could have a bearing on Afghanistan’s peace process. In a statement, the group said ongoing clashes between Pakistan and India would impact the Afghan peace process and told India to refrain from further military action.

“The continuation of such conflict will affect the Afghanistan peace process,” Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said, adding: “India should not carry any further violence in Pakistan because its continuation will affect regional security also the continuation of such conflict will cost a lot to India.”

The statement came while a delegation of the group headed by top Taliban leader Mullah Baradar holds talks with US officials led by US Special envoy on Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar.

The two sides have held a series of talks in recent months in Pakistan, Qatar and the United Aram Emirates without reaching any breakthrough. Many regional countries have also hosted talks with the insurgent group, including Iran, Russia and China.

Latest talks in Doha focused on the withdrawal of Nato forces from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s commitment to not using Afghan soil as a warring ground against other countries.

Defence analyst Dr Talat Wazarat said India’s war mongering posture was a serious threat to regional peace. “The U and other countries need to play a role,” she added.

Pakistan, she said, had shown that that Pakistan army was capable enough to give befitting response to any misadventure.

Wazarat said Prime Minister Imran Khan had rightly mentioned in his speech that “wars are always based on miscalculations.”

She said it was not a wise approach to adopt aggressive posture against a nuclear state. “Pakistan is in a better strategic position after demonstrating its military strength,” she said.

Wazarat said the US and other countries must step in to defuse the Pak-India tension as it was directly linked to the regional peace.