Saturday, 27 November 2021

COAS UK visit ‘very important’

Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa

LONDON: Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Sunday reached London on a three-day official visit where he will be highlighting India’s intransigence in resolving bilateral disputes as well as the developments in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s war against terrorism. According to military’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Gen Bajwa during his visit would interact with political and military leadership of the United Kingdom. Analysts are attaching great significance to the visit of the army chief. There are several key issues General Bajwa would be highlighting to solicit international support especially from the United Kingdom, which has assumed strategic role in the international political arena following its divorce from the European Union. Among the key issues the army chief would be highlighting are India’s intransigence in resolving its bilateral disputes with Pakistan in the larger interest of peace and stability in south Asia. Gen Bajwa would also highlight India’s unprovoked firing across the Line of Control (LoC) targeting civilian Pakistani nationals. According to Maj Gen (retd) Farooq Malik, one of the leading defence analysts, India wants to divert international attention from the human rights violations in occupied Kashmir by resorting to unprovoked firing along the LoC. He said that our armed forces should give a befitting reply to the Indian aggression. He said that Pakistan needed to pursue the matter diplomatically and politically on forums such as the United Nations. “Although Pakistan is a peaceful country that does not want war but it should give a strong response to Indian aggression,” Malik said. He said that Pakistan should go to the UN and protest over Indian actions but it was not the only solution to this problem. Foreign policy expert Dr Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema said that despite perpetual pressure by India, independence movement in Kashmir had not been suppressed. The struggle for Kashmir is an indigenous movement.

Dr Cheema said that India opens fire along the LoC to divert attention from rights abuses in IOK, and human rights organisations had never criticised India openly over its activities in Kashmir. The role of Muslim-majority countries in this regard, he said was not too impressive and it was not in the interest of the European countries and America to antagonise India. Other key issues, the army chief is expected to highlight during his interactions with political and military leadership of the United Kingdom are the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s war against terror especially the ongoing military operation Raddul Fasaad. London has been playing an important role to bring Pakistan and Afghanistan on the table to discuss and evolve a common strategy against a common enemy. However, despite friendly gestures from Pakistan, the Afghan government is not forthcoming to normalise its ties with Pakistan and to evolve a common strategy in fighting terrorism. According to former ambassador Rustam Shah Mohmand, Afghanistan should not allow terrorists to use its soil against Pakistan.  “It is the responsibility of the Afghan government to make sure that its soil should not be used against any country,” he said, and added that Pakistan had always wanted peace in the region but such activities were a hindrance to overcoming the menace of terrorism. “Afghan forces should eradicate the terrorist groups operating from their soil”, Mohmand said. He said that ISIS was active in more than three provinces of Afghanistan and it was expected that ISIS was involved in Parachinar incident too. Mohmand was of the view that border management should be done to stop terrorist infiltration in Pakistan and Afghanistan government did not have control on nearly 40 per cent of the country and it could not take action against terrorists. He said that America had technology and human intelligence and it could help in eradicating the menace of terrorism.

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