‘Operation should have started yesterday’, says army chiefPakistan
WASHINGTON: Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif has assured Pakistanis here that military operations against terrorists, their backers and financers would continue uninterrupted.
Addressing the Pakistani community at a dinner on Thursday, Gen Sharif expressed the “unflinching commitment of the armed forces in ensuring peace and security in the country as well as in countering external threats”.
He said that the operation against terrorists “should have started yesterday” but now that it had started it would continue.
“The armed forces of Pakistan would take the war against terrorism to its logical conclusion and would not let the sacrifices of martyrs go in vain,” he said.
The speech, which was embargoed till Friday morning, also highlighted Pakistan’s commitment to friendly relations with its neighbours “with dignity and honour”.
The stress on dignity and honour earned him a warm applause from the audience who interrupted the speech on several occasions to express their appreciation.
Gen Sharif also noted that Pakistan and the United States had convergence of views on countering the existing and emerging threats. He expressed satisfaction at the upward trajectory and growth in the Pakistan-US defence and counter-terrorism cooperation at this critical juncture.
The army chief said that the American officials he met during his five-day visit to Washington endorsed his assessment that Zarb-i-Azb operation was a success story.
He said that the resilient Pakistani nation was providing unprecedented support to the armed forces that had lost 5,000 uniformed men in this fight, including those from the Rangers and police.
The armed forces, he said, had conducted 12,000 intelligence-based operations in Karachi and KPK and hundreds of militants and their sympathisers had been arrested. “There is no going back now. The operations will continue,” he said. “I see light at the end of the tunnel.”
Gen Sharif said that the Indian intelligence agency RAW was on top of the list of foreign elements that were stirring troubles in Pakistan.
He said that simultaneous with the return of peace and normalcy to the country, the completion of CPEC would herald greater economic prosperity throughout the region.
China, Iran and Afghanistan would also benefit from this project, he added.
Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2015