ISLAMABAD, April 20: Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said on Saturday that since Islam is the basis of Pakistan’s creation, it can never be taken out from the body politic.

“Let me remind you that Pakistan was created in the name of Islam and Islam can never be taken out of Pakistan. However, Islam should always remain a unifying force. I assure you that regardless of odds, the Pakistan Army will keep on doing its best towards our common dream for a truly Islamic Republic of Pakistan, as envisioned by the Quaid-i-Azam and Allama Iqbal,” he said in his address at the passing out parade of 127th PMA Long Course, 46th Integrated Course and the first Mujahid Course at the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul.

Turning to national security, Gen Kayani said Pakistan was strong enough to defend itself against any external aggression and that internal threats had not weakened the capabilities of its armed forces.

“Let it suffice to say that Pakistan is fully capable of responding effectively to any threat,” the army chief said, without naming India or any other country. “Despite our current focus on internal security, we remain fully prepared to defeat an external direct threat.”

Without mentioning the incidents but apparently referring to the January cross-border strife at the Line of Control (LoC), he said: “We have exercised restraint in the face of some very belligerent statements in recent months… Let there be no doubt that with a strong Pak Army and the nation standing with it united, no harm can ever come to Pakistan, Insha Allah.”

Pakistan faced a barrage of accusations from India of launching deadly attacks on their side and violating the 2003 ceasefire along the LoC.

The chief of army staff said: “Pakistan is a peace loving country. Our quest for peace is essentially based on a genuine desire to improve our lot and that of our future generations, let no one see it as a weakness.”

He said in its short history the country had overcome many challenges which were not so easily tackled by smaller countries.

“I am sure we can do it again. We are going through difficult times but so has every other successful nation at some time in their history,” the COAS said.

He said that the army was committed to the cause and as always standing with the nation. “I assure you that we will succeed if we remain committed to the basis for creation of Pakistan and remain steadfast as a nation.”

Addressing the future army commanders, he said: “You will be fortunate to command the soldiers who are known for their unflinching loyalty and sense of sacrifice. Our soldiers are known for delivering best results in the most challenging environment.

He congratulated the graduating cadets on successful completion of their basic military training, including those from other Muslim countries including Palestine, Sudan and Turkmenistan.

He expressed confidence in the high standards of training at the academy and said that life as commissioned officers in the army would be challenging because it demanded the best in professional skills and leadership qualities.

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