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PESHAWAR: Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has said that peace has largely returned to the erstwhile Federally Adminis­tered Tri­bal Areas except for a few incidents of IED (improvised explosive devices) blasts such as the one that recently took place in North Waziristan.

“No conflict ends through kinetic operations alone,” Gen Bajwa was quoted by the Inter-Services Public Relations as saying during a visit to South Waziristan Tribal District. He was briefed about stabilisation operations and progress of fencing along the Pak-Afghan border at Angoor Adda in South Waziristan.

Pakistan has started the multi-billion-rupee fencing project in an attempt to stop cross-border movement of terrorists and other unlawful activities.

The COAS appreciated the quality and speed of work in the border area. He also addressed a jirga of elders from North and South Waziristan in Wana. The elders thanked the COAS for restoration of peace in the area, merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtun­khwa province and ongoing efforts for socioeconomic development of the area, said the ISPR.

The tribal elders assured Gen Bajwa of their unflinching support to security forces and the state. They highlighted the need in the region for additional communication infrastructure, electricity, drinking water, educational institutions and upgrade of cellular network facilities.

The army chief said that while stability operations continued alongside border fencing progress on socioeconomic prong was also gaining momentum. The same shall get more attention through implementation of merger measures, he said.

“Terrorism and development cannot go together, there­fore collectively we have to make sure that un­rest doesn’t return,” he said. He asked all concerned, especially local population, to remain vigilant as the main stakeholder to retain peace and stability in the area by safeguarding the environment from inimical forces who are eyeing to reverse the gains.

He said that suggestions offered by tribal elders were valid and most of these were already included in the mid- to long-term development plan of the government.

The Peshawar Corps Com­mander and the IGFC KP (South) were also present.

Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2018