Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa pictured at the Shuhada Monument.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa pictured at the Shuhada Monument.

ISLAMABAD: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for “reposing confidence” in the army during the latter’s first visit to the General Headquarters for a briefing on matters pertaining to national security.

“COAS thanked PM for his visit and posing confidence in the army. COAS assured that Pakistan Army shall InshaAllah continue to deliver on nation’s expectations of defending the motherland at all costs and sacrifices,” the Inter-Services Public Relations said in a statement.

Prime Minister Khan praised the army for its “professionalism, operational readiness, and contributions and sacrifices” in the fight against terrorism.

The visit was announced by the ISPR through a tweet, saying: “Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived to visit GHQ. Received on arrival by COAS. PM being briefed on defence, internal security and other professional matters.”

Imran briefed at GHQ on defence, internal security, counterterrorism operations

The briefing given to the civilian leadership covered security environment, threat spectrum and response, counterterrorism operations, the situation in Karachi and the Khushal Balochistan programme.

The external challenges pertain to the threat posed by India, the India-US nexus that is growing in strength in the region and the presence of terrorist sanctuaries in Afghanistan. Issues faced by the country in the region also have a strong bearing on its external relations. On the internal front ailing economy and terrorism/extremism are two of the most important threats to national security.

PM Khan said the country would overcome these challenges through “a cohesive national approach” and “support of the nation”. He vowed to fully resource army’s requirements.

The prime minister was accompanied during his visit to the military headquarters by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Minister-designate of State on Interior Shehryar Afridi.

The visit took place three days after Gen Bajwa visited PM Khan at the Prime Minister Office. The two had at that meeting agreed to work closely for achieving peace in the country and the region. Security issues had dominated their discussions as well.

Security issues have been one of the major friction points in the long troubled civil-military relations. The military has been in the driving seat on security and foreign policy matters, but civilians have in the past taken flak for failings in the fight against extremism and terrorism.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in his last tenure got his security briefing five months after assuming office, whereas ex-PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi only got a chance to visit the Joint Staff Headquarters after eight months in office.

Published in Dawn, August 31st, 2018