SUI, Sept 6: Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has categorically stated that no military operation is taking place in Balochistan.
Speaking at a function to mark the Defence Day at the Sui Military College in this town of Dera Bugti district on Friday, Gen Kayani said the army was extending all types of cooperation to Balochistan government in its efforts for maintaining peace, fighting terrorism, carrying out activities for socio-economic development and promoting education in the province.
Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, Commander Southern Command Lt Gen Nasir Khan Janjua, Inspector General of Frontier Corps Maj Gen Ejaz Shahid, Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Mohammad, Commandant of Military College, Sui, Brigadier Imranul Haq, MPA Mir Sarfraz Bugti and a large number of tribal elders attended the function.
The chief minister in his address stressed the need for a joint fight against illiteracy, poverty and backwardness, saying that improving the standard of life of the people of the province was the priority of his government.
The army chief said a strong and prosperous Balochistan would guarantee development across the country.
“Not a single soldier of Pakistan Army is involved in any operation in Balochistan,” Gen Kayani said. Work on three under construction army cantonments in the province had already stopped and the Sui cantonment had been converted into a military college where over 600 students were studying, he added.
He said the army was providing assistance to the Balochistan government in its fight against poverty and backwardness. In this regard, he added, the army was providing latest weapons and training facilities to Balochistan police so that it could effectively fight terrorism.
The army chief said efforts were being made to bring the youths of Balochistan into the mainstream and for the purpose the army had set up the country’s third military college in Sui.
Gen Kayani said at present over 12,000 students were studying in various schools and colleges being run by Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps.
Under the Chamalang education programme, over 4,500 students belonging to Balochistan were studying in best educational institutions being run by the army, he added.
He said the Army established the Institute of Medical Sciences in Quetta where classes were started last year. The institute, he added, would produce more doctors for Balochistan and help overcome the shortage of doctors in the province.
He made a mention of the Gwadar Institute of Technical Education, Balochistan Institute of Mineralogy and Balochistan Institute of Technical Education, praising these institutions for imparting quality education.
Gen Kayani said at present over 20,000 youths of Balochistan were serving in Pakistan Army. He said over the past three years over 12,000 youths from Balochistan had been recruited in the Army, adding that more Baloch youths would soon be part of this force. For the purpose, he said, a special centre was being established in Quetta to prepare youths for the ISSB test. The percentage of recruitment in the Army from Balochistan had increased from 1.7 to 3.5 over the past three years, he added.
The army had launched many development projects in Balochistan.
The chief minister said everyone had a role to play for bringing stability, progress and prosperity in Balochistan.
He said the youths of the province needed quality education so that they could play their role for development of the country.
Dr Baloch said local people should be given jobs in the PPL and OGDCL as it was their right.
He called upon the administration of the military college to give admissions as many students as possible from Dera Bugti.
He announced a grant of Rs10 million for the college and some amount for other schools in district.
The chief minister said the government was establishing three medical colleges and three more universities in Balochistan and that it had increased funds allocation for the improvement of education in the province.
He urged warring tribes and angry Baloch people to shun their differences and play their role in the development of Balochistan.
Dr Malik Baloch called upon members of Balochistan Assembly not to support those teachers and doctors who were not ready to perform their duty honestly.
Mir Sarfraz Bugti also spoke on the occasion.