Text of speech of Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif

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COAS visits National Counter Terrorism Centre, inaugurates state of art features

RAWALPINDI, Sep 7 (APP): Following is text of the address of Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif on the occasion of Defence Day of Pakistan on September 6 at General Headquarters (GHQ) here:

Families of the Martyrs of Pakistan, Distinguished Guests, Officers, Junior Commissioned Officers and Soldiers of Pakistan Army,  Assalam o Alaikum, Today we have gathered to pay tribute to those martyrs and heroes of the Nation whose unmatched sacrifices, courage and sense
of duty has enabled us to breathe in an independent and respectable country.

The war of September 1965 is a glorious chapter of our
national history that bestowed a new determination and unity upon
the people of this country. The supreme valour of the men and
officers of Pakistan Army, Air Force, and Navy has made this day the
most distinguished day in the history of Pakistani Nation.
Fifty years later, this day has also become the emblem of the
sacrifices, steadfastness, and bravery of all those martyrs and
heroes who successfully stood up to such enormous challenges as
Operation Zarb-e-Azb and a decade-long war against terror. I want to
make it clear to all enemies of Pakistan that Pakistan has always
been strong and today it is invincible.
Dear Audience,
For the past few years, our country is faced with the menace
of terrorism and an unconventional war in which the Nation and the
Armed Forces have rendered countless sacrifices side by side. While
terrorism has crumbled many countries around the world, Pakistan, By
the Grace of Allah Almighty, has valiantly fought these challenges.
A few years ago, we were faced with terrorists attacks almost
on a daily basis. No part of the country, including defence
installations, was beyond the enemy’s reach. The writ of the state
had practically ended in many parts of the country. North Waziristan
had become a hotbed of terrorists. Doubts and misgivings about War
on Terrorism were common in many circles. But, Ladies and Gentlemen,
as Chief of Army Staff, I held full faith in the capabilities and
resolve of the Armed Forces of Pakistan. It was this faith that
encouraged us to launch Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
We named Operation Zarb-e-Azb after the Sword of the Holy
Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) so that we’d be guided on every step by
the Edicts of Allah Almighty and the examples of the Holy Prophet
(Peace Be Upon Him). This sword can only be raised for the
protection of the oppressed and the innocent and to eradicate evil
and disorder from the land.
The process of indiscriminate elimination of terrorists from
our soil that we started two years ago in the form of Operation
Zarb-e-Azb has attained its laid down military objectives, and,
today, the Green banner flutters proudly over all parts of our dear
homeland.
Since the start of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, we have undertaken
over 19,000 operations across the length and breadth of the country
to overcome terrorism. In this long voyage of success, Pakistan Army
has been aided by invaluable sacrifices rendered by Rangers,
Frontier Corps, Police and Levies. Our Intelligence Agencies have
played a vital role in these achievements.
The success of Zarb-e-Azb results from unparalleled Tri-
Services cooperation. Especially Pakistan Air Force has worked in
close harmony with Pakistan Army at every stage of this operation.
This mutual harmony of the Armed Forces is our treasured asset.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
During the War on Terrorism, almost 18,000 innocent citizens
and 5,000 officers and soldiers of the Armed Forces have laid their
lives while over 48,000 Pakistanis have suffered serious injuries.
We shall not allow the sacrifices of our martyrs to go in vain.
Zarb-e-Azb might be just another military offensive for the world,
but for us, it is the war of survival for our homeland. We shall not
hesitate from going to any extents to ensure our national security.
I realize that our brave tribals have borne the hardships of
leaving their homes for the sake of peace. Pakistan Army is
vigorously engaged in all the projects for the better and brighter
future for TDPs and their coming generations. God Willing, the
repatriation process for the TDPs will also be concluded soon.
As a nation, we can be rightfully proud of the accomplishments
made during this brief span. Now we see the solutions instead of new
problems. But we must remember that the internal and external
threats to peace have not yet ended completely.
For a lasting peace, it is necessary to ensure country-wide
implementation of National Action Plan, formed out of the collective
wisdom of the nation, in its true letter and spirit.
Scholars, intellectuals and media must propagate the peaceful
and universal message of Islam in order to eradicate the negative
notions of extremism.
In order to root out terrorism, we must also remove such
weaknesses in or criminal justice system which impede the complete
eradication of terrorism.
The evil nexus of heinous crimes, corruption and terrorism is
a great impediment to achieving complete peace and is a cause of
social unrest. Effective and far-reaching reforms are needed to
break this nexus.
For the operation to yield its full dividends, all stake
holders and institutions of state must play their respective roles
with utmost sincerity and commitment.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
While Army and Law Enforcement personnel are putting their
lives at stake to curb the Facilitators, Abettors, Financiers and
Sympathisers of the enemies, some elements are trying to create an
atmosphere of mistrust in the nation towards security and
intelligence organizations. Despite all these misgivings and
accusations, our morale remains high.
Distinguished Audience,
We are sincerely playing our active role for peace in
Afghanistan. But some self-seeking quarters that are definitely not
sincere towards Afghanistan, are obstructing these efforts. I bear
upon such elements that Afghanistan is our neighbour and brother
Islamic country. Peace and stability there is vital to Pakistan’s
own interest.
Better management of international border between the two
countries takes precedence in our national interest. We want to
establish an effective border management mechanism in concert with
Afghan government. I am certain that a better peace environment
will lead to our shared economic progress.
We desire peaceful relations with all our neighbours but the
fact can never be overlooked that the true assurance of peace in the
region is the balance of power. Despite all external machinations
and instigations, we are ever prepared for the defence of our
borders and are capable to defend our dear homeland in all domains,
may it be conventional or unconventional.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We salute the great sacrifices of the people of Indian Held
Kashmir for their right of self-determination. The oppressed people
of Occupied Kashmir are once again suffering worst form of state
terrorism and repression for demanding their due rights.
The true solution for this struggle for self-determination
resides not in raining bullets upon the defenceless Kashmiri people
but in heeding to their voice and respecting their aspirations.
Kashmir issue can only be resolved by implementing the UN
Resolutions.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Kashmir is our lifeline, and we shall continue our diplomatic
and moral support to the freedom movement at all levels.
Here I want to make it clear that we are fully aware of all
covert and overt intrigues and intentions of our enemies. Be the
challenge military or diplomatic, be the danger on the borders or
within the cities, we know our friends and foes all too well.
We know well how to abide by bonds of friendship and how to
avenge upon our enemies.
The greatest example of a relationship based on mutual respect
and principle of equality in the region is the Pak-China friendship.
CPEC is the paramount evidence of this relationship. This great
project will not only consolidate our mutual economic relations but
will also help the overall prosperity of the region. Its timely
completion and protection is our national undertaking. I would like
to assure that we shall not allow any external force to obstruct it
and any such attempt will be dealt with iron hands.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the end, I salute the innocent children of Army Public
School, the youthful students of Bacha Khan University,
Balochistan’s lawyers, martyrs of the nation, valiant men of the
Armed Forces, Intelligence Agencies, Rangers, Police, and Levies
whose lives were laid in the defence of the country and the
everlasting greatness of their resolute families. Your passion
reinforces our resolve.
I am proud to command an Army whose officers and men hold
aloft the traditions of the great heroes of yore.
I have an unwavering faith in the courage and determination of
each of my countrymen. Especially our youth is the herald, custodian
and guarantor of Pakistan’s bright future.
On behalf of my entire nation, I want to impress upon the
enemies of peace and humanity that if we can win, we also know how
to protect our victory.
May Allah be our Guide and Protector. Ameen.
Pakistan Army Zindabad
Pakistan Paindabad.”