Balochistan

Terrorists supported externally, facilitated internally, says COAS

QUETTA: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif promising to take operation Zarb-e-Azb to its logical end on Tuesday said that terrorists in the country are externally supported and internally facilitated, according to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

Addressing the attendees at a seminar titled “Peace and Prosperity in Balochistan” here, the COAS said, “Balochistan is very close to my heart. I was born in Quetta at 10 Litton Road, while as a young lieutenant my first posting was at Khuzdar”.

He said that diverse and divergent interests have led Balochistan to most complex problems, adding, “Its roots range from personal vested interests to international geo-strategic designs, manifested in plethora of socio- economic, ethnographic and sectarian divides”.

“These issues are further complicated by the foreign interference in the largest province of Pakistan and across a porous border spanning hundreds of kilometers.”

“Our foreign adversaries have been more than eager to exploit any opportunity to destabilize Pakistan by harbouring, training and funding dissidents and militants,” said Gen Sharif. “Balochistan, in fact, has become a hotbed of proxy wars for regional and global grand strategy by many powers.”

This is a battle that we all are fighting, and we shall continue to fight, till peace prevails across the width and breadth of the province, he resolved.

The COAS said that Pakistan Army, Frontier Corps, Police, Coast Guards, Levies and above all, people of Balochistan have defended the integrity of Pakistan with unflinching resolve for which they deserve special appreciation.

Besides security responsibilities, Pakistan Army is serving the people of Balochistan in a multitude of ways. Today, the military-run institutions in the province are providing educational facilities to around twenty-five thousand children of the province, he noted. In addition, Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps are running a huge network of medical facilities across Balochistan.

“Over 18000 youth from all parts of Balochistan have joined the armed forces and Frontier Corps in recent times,” said the army chief.

He expressed his pleasure while announcing that soon, a campus of NUST will also start functioning in Quetta, which will provide a historical opportunity to the youth of Balochistan to equip themselves with scientific and technological knowledge and contribute to the progress of Balochistan and Pakistan.

In the end, the COAS said that we need to continue our endeavours with full resolve and dedication to bring back stability to the province.

 

Below is complete text of COAS’ address with the seminar as issued by the ISPR:

 

Bismillah Irrakhman Nirraheem

Honourable CM Balochistan Nawabzada Sanaullah Zehri,Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, Comd SC, Respected Members of Parliament, Representative of Academia and Media, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Assalam-O-Alaikum

Ø   It is indeed a matter of great honour and privilege for me to be part of this August gathering. I am extremely grateful to Govt of          Balochistan, HQ Southern Comd and organziers of the seminar for giving me this opportunity to attend this event of great   significances.

Ø   Reviewing the prospects of Peace and Prosperity in Balochistan is indeed need of the honour, and this seminar is aptly timed and focused

Ø   On a personal note, Balochistan is very close to my heart. I was born in Quetta at 10 Litton Road. As a young lieutenant, my first    posting was at khuzdar. I have spent almost 9 years in Balochistan and  served as Chief of Staff Southern Command.

Ladies and  Gentlemen,
Ø   Overtime, diverse and divergent interests have led Balochistan to most complex problems. Its roots range from personal vested interests to international geo-strategic designs, manifested in plethora of socio- economic, ethnographic and sectarian divides. Lack of developed infrastructure, extreme poverty, poor educational and health facilities, and rampant unemployment lend credibility to the complaints of the aggrieved section of society.

Ø   These issues are further complicated by the foreign interference in the largest province of Pakistan and across a porous border           spanning hundreds of Kilometers.

Ø   Our foreign adversaries have been more than eager to exploit   any opportunity to destabilize Pakistan by harbouring, training and funding dissidents and militants. Balochistan, in fact, has become a hotbed of proxy wars for regional and global grand   strategy by many powers. This is a battle that we all are fighting, and we shall continue to fight, till peace prevails across the width and breadth of the Province. Pakistan Army, Frontier Corps, Police, Coast Guards, Levies and above all, people of Balochistan have defended the integrity of Pakistan with unflinching resolve for which they deserve special appreciation.

I must also appreciate the efforts of all political parties in creating harmony as per the aspirations of people of Balochistan.

Ø   A great challenge for the Civil Armed forces of Balochistan is the security of the long and porous border. Efforts are underway for capacity building of the security forces for this purpose.Besides this, the role of Army is to provide an enabling environment in the province where these problems can find their solution at the table of social justice, trust and fraternity. I understand that use of force brings nothing but destruction, distress and suffering, often to those who had no part in it. Involvment of the people and state institutions, therefore, is the correct way forward for the prosperity of Balochistan.

Ladies and  Gentlemen,
Ø    “Peace through Integrated Approach” has been our primary focus, where Federal and Provincial governments, state institutions, entire security apparatus and people of Balochistan are working towards creating an environment of harmony, progress and prosperity.

Ladies and  Gentlemen,
Ø    “The future of Balochistan is the Youth of Balochistan. It is, therefore, imperative that their potential be raised to the optimal level so that they come equal to the onerous responsibilities awaiting them. To this end, it is important to make the Youth of this great province partners in peace and prosperity. Our efforts aim at bridging the gap between the state and youth including small discontented segments, lured by vague slogans and elusive dreams.

Ø    Besides security responsibilities, Pakistan Army is serving the people of Balochistan in a multitude of ways. Todays, the military-run institutions in the province are providing educational facilities to around twenty-five thousand children of the province. In addition, Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps are running a huge network of medical facilities across Balochistan.

Ø    We played our national role in the rehabilitation of Awaran after the devastating earthquake of 2013 that claimed the lives of our 800 people and caused enormous damage to property. More than ever before, today the youth of Balochistan is getting good opportunity to obtain commission in the officers’ cadre of Pakistan Army. Sui Educational City, including a Military College, has started to send forth a stream of young professionals including military leaders. Over 18000 youth from all parts of Balochistan have joined Armed Forces and Frontier Corps in recent times. At this occasion, it is my pleasure to announce that soon, a campus of NUST will also start functioning at Quetta. This will provide a historical opportunity to the youth of Balochistan to equip themselves with the scientific and technological knowledge and contribute to the progress of Balochistan and Pakistan..

Ø    The resilience of the people, its geo-strategic location, and enormous wealth of natural resources such as RekoDiq are the true assets of Balochistan, which must be fully optimized for prosperity of the province.

Ø    China –Pakistan Economic Corridor  and development of Gawadar port will transform the Province altogether, and for this, the local population must be its greatest beneficiary. Once the people find their stakes in this progress, the need for check posts and barricades will disappear

Ø    Pakistan  Army, once instrumental in the completion of Makran Coastal Highway, is today playing a pivotal role in the timely completion of CPEC projects in Balochistan.

Ø    The unprecedented contributions in communications infrastructure will usher Balochistan into an era of prosperity.  Since 2014, 632 kilometers of roads have already been   constructed. By the end of this year, a total of 870 kilometer of  roads will be completed by FWO.

Ø    It is heartening to note that successive governments in the Centre and Province have sought to pursue a policy of reconciliation and engagement in Balochistan. The measures taken in this regard may not be sufficient for some, but they are steps taken in the right direction.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Ø    Terrorists are externally supported and internally facilitated. They are defiant and cunning. Law enforcement Agencies have       conducted over 2400 intelligence-based Operations in Balochistan since Aug 2014 and 204 lives have been sacrificed.

Ø    Operation Zarb – e – Azb enjoys the support of people of Pakistan from all walks of life. Our men are out to eliminate terrorist           and militant hideouts and sever its linkages across the country. As per the aspirations of the people of Pakistan, this operation will be taken to its logical end.

Ø    Pakistan Army takes pride in being truly a national Army. It can isolate and neutralize warring factions. It reaches out to those in distress and alleviate their hardships, but the real foundations of peace and prosperity can only laid through active participation of the people of Pakistan

Ø    Politics of violence, hatred and terror has tarnished the image of Quetta and Balochistan for decades. We need to continue our endeavours with full resolve and dedication to bring back stability to the province and return the charm of Quetta that it was once admired for. I hold this as  a personal passion and Inshallah, together we will achieve this goal.

Thanks once  again for giving me this honour. May Allah be our guide and protector.

Balochistan Zinda Bad,

Pakistan Painda Bad

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