LANDI KOTAL/KARACHI: The three services chiefs have said their troops are fully prepared to counter any external aggression and protect the motherland and warned India not to underestimate fighting capabilities of Pakistan’s armed forces.
Addressing a tribal jirga in Bara, Khyber Agency, on Thursday, Chief of the Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif termed India’s claim about surgical strikes a drama and said: “India had staged a drama about its so-called surgical strikes by making false claims about intruding 30 kilometres into Pakistani territory on at least five locations.
“If we were to carry out any surgical strikes inside India, they will teach their future generations in their educational institutions about how Pakistan conducted those strikes.”
India had claimed that its forces had carried out surgical strikes in Azad Kashmir on Sept 28, which was rejected by Pakistan.
“I have given a very clear message to Modi Sarkar that we have fought and sorted them out [Taliban], so if needed to fight with uniformed [Indian] army, we will pierce in the middle of their army,” said Gen Sharif, who will hand over command of the army to his successor on Nov 29.
Air and naval chiefs
The air and naval chiefs played down aggression on the Line of Control, saying the Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Air Force were well-prepared to counter any challenge.
Talking to reporters during his visit to the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) 2016 at Karachi’s Expo Centre, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman shrugged off any “danger” emerging after ceasefire violations on the eastern border and said that there was no war-like situation, but if it emerged “we know how to grab them [Indian forces] and where to hit them. But let me tell you frankly, we are not worried about India at all.”
Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Mohammad Zakaullah also set aside any potential threat to the country’s marine borders and said it was actually “other factors” which had left the “enemies” with no option but to destabilise the country’s peace and prosperity.
“There are several things going on in the country, which are not digested by the enemies,” he said, possibly referring to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.
“There are several other factors which are behind this recent [Indian] aggression, but we are retaliating in much stronger way. They [Indians] know it well that whenever they try to [make any] mischief, we will respond and respond strongly,” he added.
According to the ISPR, the army chief also visited Wana, the administrative headquarters of South Waziristan Agency, and Peshawar Garrison and praised personnel of the army and Frontier Corps for destroying terrorist sanctuaries and infrastructure in Fata.
Addressing the elders in Bara, Gen Sharif said the army had eradicated the menace of terrorism, rather buried it forever. “We have also defeated those who played football with the chopped heads of our soldiers; they [terrorists] are no more an issue for the army which is second to none in the whole world.”
Elders from seven tribal agencies and seven frontier regions of Fata attended the grand jirga.
Gen Sharif laid the foundation stone of a cricket stadium in Bara to be built by army engineers. The stadium has been named after renowned cricketer Shahid Afridi to honour him for his services for Pakistan. It is being built as part of sports infrastructure to explore talent in Fata.
Mr Afridi was also present on the occasion.
Ibrahim Shinwari contributed to this story
Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2016