MUZAFFARABAD: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Asim Munir on Thursday renewed the determination of his institution for the defence of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity against all kinds of threats and continuity of support to the just cause of Kashmiris struggling for their right to self-determination.

“Pakistan Army will defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan against all kinds of threat and is determined to support [the] just cause of Kashmiris and seeks resolution of [the issue of] Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the United Nations resolutions,” the army chief said during his visit to forward areas along the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

It was his second visit to the heavily-militarised dividing line in the disputed Himalayan region of Jammu and Kashmir that has long been the scene of skirmishes and artillery duels with India.

The 740-kilometre-long LoC had long witnessed exchange of fire between the rival troops until Nov 2003, when the nuclear armed South Asian neighbours had agreed in a landmark decision to silence their guns across the dividing line.

Barring isolated incidents of violations, the agreement held for over a decade. But, afterwards, particularly after 2016, ceasefire violations became almost an ord­er of the day, causing frequent los­ses to civilian lives and properties.

In a welcome move in February 2021, Islamabad and New Delhi recommitted themselves to revive the spirit of the Nov 2003 understanding and ever since the LoC has been tranquil. Nevertheless, both sides are observing a high state of vigil, without any tangible cut in troop deployment.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the military’s media affairs wing, Gen Munir appreciated officers and men for “maintaining continued vigil, remarkable operational preparedness and high state of morale”

after he was given a detailed briefing on the situation along the LoC as well as the operational preparedness of the deployed formations.

In his interaction with officers and troops, Gen Munir emphasised upon them to extend all-out support to the local population, remain steadfast and discharge duties with utmost sincerity and devotion.

Earlier, on arrival at the LoC, the army chief was received by Rawalpindi Corps Commander Lt Gen Shahid Imtiaz.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2023

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