MUZAFFARABAD: Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa made it clear on Thursday that the army’s belief in peace and stability should not be misconstrued as troops were fully prepared and determined to defend the country.
According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media affairs wing of the army, the COAS made the observation during his visit to Sarpir and Pandu sectors along the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).
“Pakistan Army is fully invested in peace and stability of the region. However, we are ready and resolute in defending the motherland against any misadventure,” said Gen Bajwa while addressing troops deployed along the LoC.
During his visit, the army chief reiterated Pakistan’s principled stance on the Kashmir issue, in the wake of stepped-up atrocities in India-held territory that have led to dozens of deaths over the past few days.
“Kashmir remains the core unresolved agenda and we stand by the Kashmiris in their just historical stance,” Gen Bajwa said, according to the ISPR.
The heavily militarised LoC has been witnessing exchanges of fire in a serious breach of a truce signed between the two armies in November 2003. The violations mostly lead to civilian casualties as Indian troops have been deliberately targeting unarmed civilian population in AJK.
On Oct 14, an eight-year-old boy was wounded in Haveli district after Indian troops resorted to unprovoked mortar shelling.
According to Saeed Qureshi, a senior official at the State Disaster Management Authority, some 25 people, seven of them women, have lost their lives so far this year to Indian shelling in different areas of AJK, while another 140, including 67 women, suffered injuries.
The shelling has also left at least 28 houses partially damaged and two houses and a shop completely damaged, he said.
Published in Dawn, October 26th, 2018
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