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Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa urged the world to “do more” while reiterating the colossal sacrifices given by the country and its armed forces in the fight against terror. He said this among other things while addressing a gathering held at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in order to celebrate the 52nd anniversary of the “Defense Day.”

“Despite all our efforts, our countless sacrifice and over decades of war, we are being told that we have not done enough against terrorism,” said General Bajwa, referring to the oft-repeated allegations of the US which have gained more momentum after President Trump announced the new South Asia policy, last month.

“Only Pakistan has seen this level of success with such limited resources. 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 with our blood.And now, I say that the world must do more.”

The US has ramped-up its “do more” demand which has strained ties with that country. General Bajwa retorted and said, “If Pakistan has not done enough in this war, then no country in the world has done anything.” He further asserted that the success achieved by Pakistan in countering the menace of terrorism is unprecedented. He said,”

“Only Pakistan has seen this level of success with such limited resources. 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 with our blood.And now, I say that the world must do more.”

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The Afghan quagmire

COAS addressed the issue of Afghanistan and Pakistan’s role in peace efforts in that country. He said, “We don’t want aid, we want your respect and confidence.” He said that Pakistan has helped Afghanistan far beyond its means and capabilities. “We have tried to help Afghanistan beyond our capabilities, but Afghanistan’s war cannot be fought in Pakistan. We have made well-intentioned efforts for talks and peace in Afghanistan. However, Afghanistan is a self-sufficient country that is free to make its own decisions. If even today they are inclined towards war, then we cannot be a part of this war.” He said that in order to secure the border the country is fencing its entire length. General Bajwa had earlier told his Afghan counterpart, General Yaftali that the war in Afghanistan must not spill into 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.”He reinforced the fact that US and Afghan forces have failed in stopping the surge of the Taliban and the ISIS-K.

“We will encourage actions by America and NATO that will bring peace to Afghanistan specifically and the region at large. But we also wish that our security concerns should also be resolved,” he added, alluding to the need for the US and Afghan forces to target anti-Pakistan elements inside Afghanistan while also limiting India’s role instead of increasing it.

“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.” He reinforced the fact that US and Afghan forces have failed in stopping the surge of the Taliban and the ISIS-K.

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India and Kashmir

“We are keeping a close watch on the designs of our enemies especially as they attempt to destroy the peace in Balochistan,” said the Army Chief, pointing out to India’s sub-conventional war in the province.

He said,”India should realize that the peaceful struggle of hundreds of thousands of youth in Kashmir does not need interference from Pakistan or Azad Jammu and Kashmir. It is in India’s favor that they prioritize political and diplomatic solutions for the sustainable resolution of the Kashmir issue instead of insulting Pakistan and using force against Kashmiris.”

He added, “I would like to tell all anti-state elements that we are ready to combat their terrorism and malicious intentions. And whether we are Punjabi, Pathan, Sindhi, Kashmiri, Gilgiti or Balti, we are ready to sacrifice for Balochistan the way the sons of Balochistan have sacrificed for Pakistan. We have pride in the people of Balochistan who have rejected terrorism and separatism.”

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He said that these attempts are aimed at damaging CPEC, but Pakistan’s ties with China are time-tested and friendship is based on mutual respect. He further said that India’s role in breaking up Pakistan and meting out injustice on the Kashmir issue is out in the open. He said that India has now added support to terrorism and efforts to stop water as planks to subvert Pakistan.

The COAS gave those messages to Delhi, Washington and Kabul which reflect the country’s oft-repeated yet ignored narrative.At a time when the world is ostracizing Islamabad for abetting terrorism in Afghanistan and stoking up violence in the Kashmir Valley, the content of the speech is meaningful and hence is a “Pakistani answer” to the world.

He said, “India should realize that the peaceful struggle of hundreds of thousands of youth in Kashmir does not need interference from Pakistan or Azad Jammu and Kashmir. It is in India’s favor that they prioritize political and diplomatic solutions for the sustainable resolution of the Kashmir issue instead of insulting Pakistan and using force against Kashmiris.” He categorically asserted that no power can dissuade Pakistan from lending, diplomatic, moral and political support to the Kashmiri struggle.

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The COAS gave those messages to Delhi, Washington and Kabul which reflect the country’s oft-repeated yet ignored narrative. At a time when the world is ostracizing Islamabad for abetting terrorism in Afghanistan and stoking up violence in the Kashmir Valley, the content of the speech is meaningful and hence is a “Pakistani answer” to the world. The resolve that the country has shown after Trump’s speech last month permeated in the Wednesday’s speech.

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