KARACHI: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa assured the people of Karachi on Wednesday that the change of military command would not affect the Karachi operation as more “efforts will be made to consolidate the gains achieved so far” for peace in the metropolis.

It was Gen Bajwa’s first visit to Karachi after taking over the army command last month. He arrived in the morning and went straight to the mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah to pay homage to the father of the nation.

He reached the headquarters of the V Corps and later visited the headquarters of Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, on Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road. A detailed briefing was given to him on operational preparedness of the formation and security situation in Sindh focusing on peace efforts in Karachi.

Gen Bajwa was full of praise for the people of Karachi for extending full support to the armed forces.

According to a statement issued by the Inter Services Public Rela­tions (ISPR), the COAS said: “Karachi is the economic hub of the country and security in the metropolitan has a direct bearing on overall business climate and economic activities of the entire country.”

The ISPR statement reflected the army chief’s resolve that the Kara­chi operation, which has been going on for more than three years, is not going to end any time soon as efforts for a “sustainable peace” will continue despite the cha­nge in the top military command.

The army chief emphasised that all-out efforts would be made to consolidate gains made so far during the operation and indiscriminately eliminate remnants of terrorists with their sleeper cells, the statement said, adding that he particularly lauded the support and sacrifices of the people of Karachi in the journey towards peace.

Gen Bajwa said that the “gains of the operation will not be allowed to be reversed and it will continue till attainment of sustainable peace”, it added.

The new army chief’s remarks will help address the concerns of the people of Karachi who have been concerned over the fate of the Rangers-led targeted operation, which was launched in September 2013. The operation was instrumental in restoring peace and improving the city’s security situation after years of bloodshed on sectarian, ethnic and political grounds.

Gen Bajwa not only praised the army and Rangers, but he also lauded the role of other law enforcement and intelligence agencies for bringing about considerable improvement in law and order and issued directives for a focussed and synergised effort of all military and civilian intelligence agencies for optimum effects to pre-empt potential threats to the peace of Karachi.

“The army chief said that the Pakistan Army would render all necessary assistance to the provincial government for capacity-building and training of law enforcement agencies for long-term effectiveness against organised crime and enduring peace for the city,” added the statement.

Outgoing Karachi Corps Comm­ander Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar, who has been designated as the new director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence, and new Corps Commander Lt Gen Shahid Baig Mirza were also present.

Published in Dawn, December 15th, 2016

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