PESHAWAR (Dunya News) – Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday met tribal elders of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and hailed the courage and resilience of the areas residents, according to a press release issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
During the army chief s interaction with Senators, MNAs, businessmen, lawyers, academia and others in Peshawar, General Bajwa shared his candid thoughts about the security environment, achievements in war against terrorism, challenges and way forward.
The COAS said that lately the Pakistani nation successfully passed through very difficult times of fighting extremism and terrorism but much is still left to be done.
He hailed the courage and resilience of the people of Pakistan especially residents of FATA and KP, who have been victims of terrorism.
General Bajwa stated that the army fully supports socio-economic development in affected areas. He added that now is the time to unitedly keep moving forward towards enduring peace and stability.
Discussing the issues related to check posts and unexploded ordnance etc., the army chief said that measures to facilitate general public at check posts without compromising security and clearance of unexploded ordnance were already in process on completion of kinetic operations.
"No one is more interested than the security forces to have a peaceful and stable environment that allows their [security forces ] complete de-induction," he said, according to the ISPR.
"However a threat is still residing across the border and some disorganised residual potential including the ones morphed into Afghan refugees. Therefore we still need to move with caution."
General Bajwa further added that notwithstanding the genuine problems of the peaceful citizens, the main concern was to not allow any anti-state agenda in the garb of engineered protests etc aimed at reversing the gains achieved at the heavy cost in blood and national exchequer to succeed.
He said the security of innocent citizens and defence of motherland comes first and foremost. The army chief reiterated that long-term dividend of peace is linked to earliest mainstreaming of FATA.
Audiences also interacted with General Bajwa and expressed their views candidly. They acknowledged the contributions and sacrifices of security forces and expressed their desire for Pakistan to move forward on the path to peace and prosperity.
The army chief concluded to assure the notables that the Pakistan Army, as a part of the state, is determined to root out extremism and terrorism on the premise that prerogative of use of force rests with the state alone.
"Our vision is peaceful Pakistan and peaceful region and our efforts are geared towards that end," he said, according to the army s media wing.
Commander Peshawar Corps and field commanders were also present in the meeting.