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Govt, Army do not appear to be on the same page

Lahore : Veterans of Pakistan (VOP) said recent statements of the federal ministers make it doubtful that government and the Army are on the same page in the fight against terrorism.

It expressed deep concern as the Foreign Minister (FM) agreed with the US demand that Pakistan needs to do more including the elimination of the Haqqani network which was absolutely opposite to the statement of COAS that this group had moved into Afghanistan, a long time ago.

Army’s stance is supported by the latest statement of Hamid Karzai that Taliban were controlling half of Afghanistan therefore, VOP said, the militants do not need any sanctuary inside Pakistan.

This was observed in a special meeting of the Executive Council of VOP, with Lt Gen Ali Kuli Khan (Retd) in the chair. Vice Admiral Ahmad Tasnim (Retd), Brig Mian Mahmud (Retd), Brig Arbi Khan (Retd), Mr Salim Gandapur, Col Dalel Khan (Retd), Maj. Farouk Hamid Khan (Retd), Brig Masud ul Hassan (Retd) and others were also present.

The former military leaders said that Mr Karzai’s statement that US was arming Daesh terrorists is very alarming. Two Afghan members of parliament had also made similar statements in recent past. Even Donald Trump blamed Hillary Clinton for inventing ISIS before his election.

They said that our FM also referred to the Indian spy Kalbhushan Yadev as a prisoner whose exchange could be considered. The prisoners which are exchanged are generally poor fishermen.

After visiting the US, the FM failed to mention US warning that Pakistan has been given last chance to do more before the US adopts other means that would hurt Pakistan the most..

The veterans said that Foreign Office has made no comment on a highly successful visit of our COAS to Afghanistan and his bold offer for a joint watch of the border.

Foreign Minister should have asked American government to support to our project of building the barrier along international border to prevent unlawful cross-border movement.

Finally, the cat came out of the bag when US Defence Secretary, using Indian language, stated that they are opposed to CPEC because it is passing through ‘disputed territory’.

He showed no concern about the way India was treating people of ‘disputed territory’ under its control. It clearly indicated that our relations with China are the real pricking points that America wants to settle by blaming Pakistan for their failure in Afghanistan.

If US wants to promote democracy in Afghanistan, then elections under UN peace force are the best means. Democracy comes from ballot and not bullet. Under the cover of peace talks, America actually wants Taliban’s surrender.

Members highly appreciated declarations by our COAS and other Services Chiefs that Armed Forces were fully supportive of CPEC and would provide all assistance for this vital project.

On the other hand, there are suspicions in certain quarters about our government’s real intentions because of the slow progress on the development of Gwadar port and other related infrastructure.

Our Interior Minister has created his own front against Army on the issue of stopping his entry into the Judicial Complex by a Ranger’s sentry. Instead of creating a scene in public, he should have shown grace by going back and ordering an inquiry.

After all, he was not prevented from performance of his duties as Interior Minister. He was going there just as a supporter of a man on trial. DG ISPR has correctly stated that the sentry could stop even COAS if he was without entry pass.

Members also felt that employment of Civil Armed Forces on police duties is gradually on the increase. This is having an adverse effect on their primary function of watching the international borders.

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