Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms, says CJCSC

Published February 18, 2019
Pakistan has been playing a key role in regional and international peacekeeping initiatives, says CJCSC Chairman General Zubair Mahmood Hayat. — File photo
Pakistan has been playing a key role in regional and international peacekeeping initiatives, says CJCSC Chairman General Zubair Mahmood Hayat. — File photo

TAXILA: Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Zubair Mahmood Hayat has said that Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms not only in Pakistan but also in the region and beyond.

He was speaking as chief guest at the traditional orange festival organised by the Zaildar family led by Syed Zaheer Shah and Syed Ahsan Shah here on Sunday.

The traditional orange festival — which presents folk songs, cultural shows featuring horse dancing, etc, and traditional sports like stone lifting — turned into a galaxy of foreign diplomats as it was attended by over 60 Islamabad-based ambassadors, high commissioners and attaches, including from Europe, Far East, Middle East, and Gulf and Asian countries.

General Hayat on the occasion said that Pakistan had been playing a key role in regional and international peacekeeping initiatives, adding that the country had participated in 43 United Nations’ peacekeeping missions in 26 countries. He said presently 6,000 Pakistani soldiers, including 400 women, were participating in UN peacekeeping missions.

General Hayat said 157 Pakistani peacekeepers, including 24 officers, had laid down their lives for global and regional peace and security efforts under the UN banner. He said Pakistan’s credentials as a peaceful country had improved a lot, that was why the number of tourists visiting this great country had multiplied.

The CJCSC told the diplomats that Pakistan was gifted with best tourist resorts. Tourism is making healthy gains in Pakistan and improved security situation has increased the flow of tourists.

He said: “We are proud of our progress in agriculture. All major crops of Pakistan have witnessed phenomenal rise in yield. For example, wheat production is up by 628 per cent — a country of 30 million people in 1947 was deficient in wheat. Today a country of 220 million is producing surplus wheat.”

He said production of rice and sugarcane had also witnessed a huge increase. Cotton yield is yet another area where the agriculture sector has shown tremendous growth. Pakistan happens to be the fifth largest dairy producer in the world and is increasing its exports both in milk and beef.

The agriculture share in the GDP currently stood at 18pc which could easily be increased to 38pc of the GDP and the country was on the path to do it, he added.

General Hayat further said Pakistan had suffered economic losses in excess of $123 billion direct and $500bn indirect since 2001.

Ambassador of Turkmenistan Atajan N. Movlamov, dean of the diplomatic corps, said in his address that Pakistan was a peaceful county and its people were friendly.

He said that Pakistan had been on the right path of economic development and stability and that the country was gaining importance in the geostrategic arena.

The dean of COSA in his address said that diplomats were generally reluctant to serve in Pakistan. But, he added, after observing the diverse culture, peaceful society and friendly people, they became reluctant to leave this country.

He said events like the orange festival would not only play an important role in promotion of soft image of the country, but also provide opportunity for diplomats to better understand the Pakistani culture.

In his welcome address, Syed Ahsan Shah said that the city of Taxila belonged to the country’s old Gandhara civilisation which is rich in history and culture. The country’s diverse culture and hospitality was showcased through events like the orange festival, he added.

Published in Dawn, February 18th, 2019

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