ISLAMABAD, Oct 10: Amy Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani vowed on Wednesday to carry on the fight against terrorism undeterred by militants’ brutal attack on children.

“We refuse to bow before terror. We will fight, regardless of the cost. We will prevail, Insha Allah,” an ISPR statement quoted Gen Kayani as saying after a visit to the Combined Military Hospital in Peshawar for inquiring after the health of Malala Yousafzai and other schoolgirls who were critically wounded in Tuesday’s terrorist attack.

The army chief said the Mingora school van attack was a “heinous act of terrorism” perpetrated by “cowards”, who had no regard for human life and could go to any extent to “impose their twisted ideology”. While the statement did not directly name Tehrik-i-Taliban, the terrorist group that claimed responsibility for the attack, there was a conscious effort by the army’s public affairs wing to underscore that ‘terrorists’ involved in the attack disregarded the sayings of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and they were followers of a “twisted ideology”, whereas, it was the army that was fighting to preserve Islamic values.

The objective behind the carefully crafted message could have been to convey to people that terrorists had nothing to do with the religion which they (terrorists) quite often exploited to garner public support.

The army has long struggled to convince people that the war on terror was their own fight and that it wasn’t targeted against fellow Muslims.

In his famous speech at Kakul Academy on the eve of 65th anniversary of Pakistan’s independence Gen Kayani had also referred to this aspect. He had said: “The fight against extremism and terrorism was our own war and we are right in fighting it. Let there be no doubt about it, otherwise we’ll be divided and taken towards civil war. Our minds should be clear on this.”

The army chief repeated the call in his Wednesday’s statement and said: “It is time we further unite and stand up to fight the propagators of such barbaric mindset and their sympathisers.”

The ISPR said the army with the backing of people was fighting to preserve the values of “an Islamic society, based on the principles of liberty, justice and equality of human beings”.

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