On the occasion of 52nd Defence Day of Pakistan, chief of army staff General Qamar Javed made an impressive speech wherein he articulated Pakistan’s long & short term policy goals, the country’s indomitable role, peerless contribution as well as the sacrifices rendered by the nation during a decade long war against terror. He also voiced serious concerns over the security situation in Afghanistan; internal and external threats faced by the Pakistani nation, and stressed the need for a peaceful settlement of lingering Kashmir dispute that as a matter of fact has been bone of contention in the region.
Highlighting Pakistan’s efforts to root out terrorism and extremism from the region he said that Pakistani nation has paid huge price in terms of life and property. “Since 1971 Pakistan has remained a victim of terrorism. We have paid the price for the wars started by super powers in the form of terrorism, extremism and economic loss. We are abiding by our policy that we will not allow our soil to be used against any country, and expect the same of other countries”, he said.
Referring to recent criticism by the US President Donald Trump over Pakistan’s role against war on terror, he made it clear that “If Pakistan has not done enough in this war then no country in the world has done anything”.
He said that instead of baseless criticism world must acknowledge Pakistan’s role saying that “Our actions and sacrifices should be appreciated”. Asking world to do more on this account General Bajwa said, “From Operation Sher Dil, to Rah-i-Rast, Rah-i-Nijat, Zarb-i-Azab and now Radd-ul-Fasaad, we have paid for each inch [of gains] with our blood”.
Regarding Afghanistan he said “We have tried to help Afghanistan beyond our capabilities, but Afghanistan’s war cannot be fought in Pakistan. “We wish to have mutually respectful relations with all countries. If other countries cannot help us fight against terrorism then they should at least not hold us responsible for their own failings”, the army chief said.In a message to arch rival India the Army chief said, “It is in India’s favour that they prioritize political and diplomatic solutions for sustainable resolution of the Kashmir issue instead of insulting Pakistan and using force against Kashmiris”. Regarding Kashmiris’ ongoing struggle for right to self-determination he said that rather than blaming Pakistan India should realize the bitter reality that the peaceful struggle of hundreds of thousands of youth in Kashmir does not need interference from Pakistan or Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Hitting out at miscreants and non-state actors who have been fomenting trouble in Pakistan, the army chief said that whatever they have been doing is not Jihad but Fassad. Stressing the need for national unity the COAS warned that Pakistan will not tolerate anyone shaking our foundations on the basis of religious, sectarian or caste differences.General Bajawa’s assertion that a monopoly over violence should only be the prerogative of the state is a clear indication that there is no place for extremist elements and self-styled anarchist in Pakistan who are hell bent upon to create a chaos in the country.
The genuine security concerns voiced by the army chief merit special attention of the international community as Pakistan has been worst victim of terrorism over the past several years.
Despite witnessing widespread death and destruction at the hands of terrorists aided and abetted by foreign agencies, the Pakistani nation has demonstrated unprecedented will and resilience to fight the much controversial war against terror. Pakistan did what ever was humanly possible to fight this dreaded war. The COAS has rightly said that it was now world’s turn to do more to take this years’ long battle to its logical end. As far as the terrorism and extremism is concerned it has now become a global phenomenon, which needs to be addressed through coordination and co-operation at global level.