ISLAMABAD: The army on Wednesday said it would continue foiling Indian designs against Pakistan, besides exposing its human rights abuses in occupied Kashmir and terrorist links.

This was stated in a press statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) at the end of the corps commanders’ conference at the General Headquarters.

Heightened tensions with India, expected commencement of intra-Afghan dialogue, army’s participation in the national initiatives against Covid-19 and locust infestation, and the external and internal security situation were on the agenda of the top military commanders’ meeting, which is a monthly feature at the army headquarters.

“Noting the Indian aggression, forum resolved to continue thwarting Indian designs and expose Indian targeting of innocent civilians in Kashmir and open support to terrorist outfits,” the ISPR said.

The plan, besides countering the overt military threat from the hostile eastern neighbour, places strong emphasis on diplomatically and politically unmasking India at the international forums.

The strategy closely resembles the planning by the Pakistan government for challenging Indian credentials as it prepares to take up a seat at the United Nations Security Council as a non-permanent member for the 2021-22 term.

The diplomatic strategy of the government envisages highlighting non-implementation of UN resolutions, the threat posed by Indian actions to the regional peace, its maltreatment of minorities, human rights abuses in held Kashmir, and involvement with terrorist groups to destabilise other countries.

India has, meanwhile, been continuing with high ceasefire violations at the Line of Control, besides undertaking a massive arms build-up, which is primarily aimed against Pakistan.

The commanders were also briefed on the progress in the Afghan peace process, which has created hopes of commencement of the intra-Afghan dialogue.

Pakistan facilitated the US-Taliban agreement, signed in Doha in February, and later helped with confidence building measures, including release of prisoners that paved the way for the intra-Afghan talks. The prisoners’ swap between the Afghan government and Taliban insurgents — a key condition for the start of the dialogue — is expected to be completed this week.

Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, during his visit to Kabul last week, assured Afghan leaders of Pakistan’s support for peace efforts and start of the intra-Afghan talks.

The corps commanders, the ISPR said, had “expressed satisfaction” over the improvement of security situation along the border with Afghanistan. They acknowledged the “gradual positive effects of ongoing Afghan peace process along the western border and resolved to keep supporting the normalisation process through national institutions,” the statement added.

The commanders also deliberated on ways for “improving” support for government measures for dealing with Covid-19 and locust threat, and polio campaign within “available resources”.

Army’s involvement with Covid-19 containment efforts started on March 23. Its role was limited to enforcement of the lockdown at that stage. The lockdown has to a large extent been eased. However, the government has now begun imposing smart lockdown in Covid-19 hotspots across the country in view of a sudden surge in the number of cases across the country.

The army has also been playing a major role in running the National Command and Operation Centre, where the coordination of actions for containing Covid-19 is done.

The commanders underscored the need for a ‘whole of nation approach’ with everyone playing their part by observing the restrictions aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus.

Published in Dawn, June 18th, 2020