Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has said that the strength of any country’s armed forces is dependent on the nation’s support.
“Without nation’s support, the army is like a wall of sand as we witnessed in the neighbouring country,” the army chief said while addressing a Defence and Martyrs’ Day ceremony at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi on Monday.
While giving references to Pakistan’s wars with India, the COAS said Pakistan armed forces have proved that they can defend the country during all challenges.
“Martyrs sacrifices will not go in vain and welfare of their families is the responsibility of the armed forces,” he added.
Gen Qamar said Pakistan’s military is ready to fight all internal, external, conventional and non-traditional challenges like hybrid warfare.
The purpose of fifth-generation warfare is to weaken the foundations and damage the national security of the country, he added.
“Pakistan’s enemies want to achieve their nefarious designs through propaganda… we are aware of the tactics and conspiracies of the external enemies but we have to deal with an iron fist with internal elements spreading chaos in the country.”
The army chief said Pakistan armed forces with the support of the people will thwart all sinister designs of the enemies.
Gen Qamar said the use of force is the sole prerogative of the state and no group or individual will be allowed to blackmail the state on the basis of ethnicity and religion.
The army chief said Pakistan’s security and stability is linked to democracy. “To make it [Pakistan] more stable we have to ensure implementation on Constitution and adopt principles of tolerance, justice.”
In the 21st century, Gen Qamar said, there is a need to pursue a policy of geo-economics instead of geo-politics for the prosperity and welfare of the people.
“Education, health, infrastructure development and climate change should be our priority.”
Gen Qamar said the military is closely monitoring the situation in the region particularly the situation in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of Western forces. “While there is an opportunity of peace in Afghanistan, the situation can also lead to new challenges and threats.”
Pakistan desires peace and prosperity for the people of Afghanistan and expects that the international community including the United Nations will play its role in rebuilding the war-torn country, the COAS said.
Pakistan, he added, is expecting a stable and inclusive government in Afghanistan “which should respect women rights and not let Afghan soil be used against any country”.
“In addition to this, we also expect that the world community will not abandon the Afghan people and will not let any humanitarian crisis take place in the country,” Gen Qamar said, adding that Pakistan will extend all-out support to the international community to help the Afghan people.
Eastern border challenges
Pakistan dealt with many critical challenges at its eastern borders with India after 2019 but Pakistan exercised restraint and proved that it’s a peace-loving country, Gen Qamar said.
“However, Pakistan’s desire for peace should not be misconstrued as our weakness. We are capable of dealing with any aggression.”
The COAS also said the Kashmir dispute is of “great importance” and added that Pakistan rejected all unilateral Indian actions including abrogating the special status of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
He also assured the Kashmiris that Pakistan would continue its diplomatic, moral and political support for the Kashmir cause at all international forums.
President Arif Alvi Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCS) General Nadeem Raza, federal ministers, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and other senior civil and military officials are in attendance.
Defence and Martyrs Day is being observed across the nation today, September 6, to pay tribute to the country’s martyrs and ghazis to reaffirm Pakistan’s commitment to defend the country against any misadventure.
It was on this day in 1965 that the Indian armed forces crossed the international border to attack Pakistan. However, the nation gave a befitting response and foiled the enemy’s nefarious designs.
The day was observed through various ceremonies held in cities across the country. Special prayers were offered in mosques for the progress and prosperity of the nation.
The day began with a 31-gun salute at the federal capital and 21-gun salutes at provincial capitals.
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