ISLAMABAD: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Bajwa on Wednesday called on ‘stakeholders’ in the Afghan peace process to contribute positively to it rather than blaming Pakistan for the failures there.
In a statement issued at the end of the corps commanders conference, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) quoted Gen Bajwa as having said: “Being a collective responsibility, all stakeholders have to play their part positively for enduring peace in Afghanistan which is pivotal for stability in the region. Misperceptions and scapegoating must be avoided to counter designs of spoilers.”
Corps commanders conferences are a monthly feature and are usually day-long activity at the General Headquarters in which the top army brass takes stock of the external and internal security environment, besides discussing professional matters.
However, this time the conference continued for two days, which is rare. The evolving situation in Afghanistan and its potential repercussions for Pakistan’s internal security dominated the proceedings.
The generals were briefed about the contingency plans for dealing with the emerging situation.
It is feared that violence in Afghanistan can spill over to Pakistan and there can be an influx of refugees. Pakistan is already hosting three million refugees and another up to 700,000 are expected to come over.
Gen Bajwa’s latest comments come in the backdrop of increased criticism of Pakistan following rapid advances made by the Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan in recent days.
Not only was the United Nations Security Council’s emergency meeting last Friday an unfriendly for Pakistan, but recent Pentagon spokesman’s statement that US was talking to Pakistan for closing down alleged terrorist safe havens along the border with Afghanistan strengthened the narrative that does not positively see Pakistani role.
“We have made every possible effort to facilitate Afghan Peace Process leading towards a negotiated settlement with utmost sincerity and will continue to do so,” Gen Bajwa underscored.
According to ISPR, the army chief expressed satisfaction over “stringent measures” being taken for ensuring effective border control as part of the comprehensive border management regime.
Gen Bajwa asked for maintaining a high level of vigil along the western border.
“COAS commended formations for maintaining high standards of operational readiness and providing sustained support to civil administration during ongoing national efforts against Covid-19, monsoons and National Polio Drive,” the ISPR further said.
Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2021