QUETTA: Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif said on Tuesday that Balochistan has become a hotbed of proxy wars for regional and global grand strategy by many powers.
“This is a battle that we all are fighting, and we shall continue to fight, till peace prevails across the width and breadth of the province,” Gen Raheel said, adding that Pakistan Army, Frontier Corps, Police, Coast Guards, Levies and above all, the people of Balochistan, have defended the integrity of Pakistan with unflinching resolve for which they deserve special appreciation. He said Pakistan Army was making all-out efforts to eliminate terrorist and militant hideouts and sever their linkages across the country.
Addressing a seminar titled “Peace and Prosperity in Balochistan”, he said operation Zarb-e-Azb enjoys the support of the people of Pakistan from all walks of life. “As per the aspirations of the people of Pakistan, this operation will be taken to its logical end,” he asserted. The seminar was attended by Balochistan Chief Minister Nawabzada Sanaullah Zehri, former chief minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, Commander Southern Command, members of parliament and representatives of academia and media.
Gen Raheel said Pakistan Army took pride in being truly a national army. “It can isolate and neutralise warring factions. It reaches out to those in distress and alleviate their hardships, but the real foundations of peace and prosperity can only be laid through active participation of the people of Pakistan.” Reviewing the prospects of peace and prosperity in Balochistan, he said it was indeed the need of the hour, and this seminar was aptly timed and focused.
On a personal note, he said Balochistan was very close to his heart. “I was born in Quetta at 10 Litton Road. As a young lieutenant, my first posting was at Khuzdar. I have spent almost nine years in Balochistan and served as Chief of Staff Southern Command. “Overtime, he said, diverse and divergent interests had led Balochistan to most complex problems. Its roots range from personal vested interests to international geo-strategic designs, manifested in plethora of socio- economic, ethnographic and sectarian divides.” He said the lack of developed infrastructure, extreme poverty, poor educational and health facilities, and rampant unemployment lend credibility to the complaints of the aggrieved section of society.