ISLAMABAD: In the wake of ongoing debate over ‘martyrs and traitors,’ Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Tuesday commended “Ghazis (living) and Shaheeds (martyred)” of Pakistan Army for sacrificing their today for ensuring a better tomorrow for future generations.
Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Munawar Hassan’s controversial statements giving the certificate of martyrdom to Hakimullah Mehsud, the former chief of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) killed in a US drone attack, and deriding military personnel who have rendered sacrifices in the war against terrorists, have drawn strong ire of the army which had asked him to tender an unconditional apology.
The statements have also drawn strong reactions from political forces of the country demanding Hassan’s resignation as JI chief and to try him under treason charges.
The JI chief has however chosen to stand by his remarks with his party’s backing which on Monday said that the army’s reaction to the statement was a direct intervention in the country’s politics.
“Those who have fought for Pakistan, Ghazis (living) and Shaheeds (martyred), have sacrificed their today for ensuring a better tomorrow for our future generations and all of them are our benefactors,” a statement released by the Prime Minister House quoted Sharif as saying.
The statement came after conclusion of his visit to the Pakistan Army General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi earlier today where he was briefed by the top military leadership on the current security situation in the country.
In his first visit to the GHQ after assuming office, the prime minister laid a floral wreath at the memorial of martyrs and held a one-on-one meeting with the outgoing Chief of the Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The meeting was followed by a detailed briefing by the military's top brass.
During the briefing, Sharif said Pakistan is a democratic and peace-loving country that wants stability in the world.
He said the people of Pakistan have full faith in democracy and believe that a strong defence and stable democracy are essential for the country.
Praising services of the armed forces, the prime minister said: “The nation holds Pakistan Army in the highest esteem as they have always shown professional excellence in times of war and peace.”
Talking to Army Chief General Kayani, he said Pakistan Army has set a historic example by sacrificing lives for defending the motherland.
Nawaz Sharif expressed his “utmost confidence in the professional capabilities of Pakistan Army.” He hoped the country would soon be recognised as a peaceful and developed country among the community of nations.
He said each soldier of Pakistan Army enters the battlefield with a passion to lay his life for the country and desire of attaining martyrdom.
“It is this passion and high morale that is the biggest strength of our forces,” said Sharif.
The army chief and principal staff officers briefed Prime Minister Sharif regarding operational environment, spectrum of threat, national security issues, contributions of Pakistan Army in nation building, support to civil administration in law and order situation and natural calamities.
He was also apprised on engagements of army battalions deployed at border areas and the level of preparedness against external and internal threats.
The prime minister was also briefed by the military leadership on the pros and cons of contacting new Pakistani Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah, a sworn enemy of the army.
“Those who have laid their lives in the fight against terrorism would be remembered forever,” said the premier.
Following the TTP’s latest threat to carry out attacks on the military and government installations and functionaries, the government is virtually in a bind as far as the proposed peace talks with the Taliban are concerned.
After the briefing, the premier visited various sections of the General Headquarters and expressed satisfaction.
Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar, Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Special Assistant to PM Tariq Fatemi also accompanied the prime minister.