‘No world peace without Pakistan’

Initially published in The News by Murtaza Ali Shah on October 16, 2018

WARWICK/LONDON: Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor has said peace cannot be established in the world without the help of Pakistan.

The DG ISPR delivered a comprehensive talk about Pakistan and its contributions to regional peace at the Warwick University on Tuesday to a mix of students, including Pakistanis. Professor Chrstine Ennew, Provost of the Warwick University, and several faculty members attended the talk. Renowned Pakistani educationist Syed Abidi was also present on the occasion.

General Ghafoor said the defeat of al-Qaeda could never have been possible without the intelligence help provided by Pakistan. Asif Ghafoor said Pakistani intelligence apparatus provided key information to the international forces against al-Qaeda, which helped defeat the terror group. He said Pakistan is indispensably and positively relevant to the world and the future global economy passes through this part of the region.

The DG ISPR through a presentation explained Pakistan’s importance to students and how Pakistan deals with various challenges and what are the actual issues confronting the country and the region. He took questions from students on the issue of security and the region and explained Pakistan’s point of view in detail.

He said that Pakistan made available ground lines of communication (GLOCs) for critical logistic support to the international forces operating inside Afghanistan without which they couldn’t have sustained. Talking about the future of Afghanistan, the DG ISPR said that Pakistan has achieved relative stability in the country; however, there cannot be enduring peace in Pakistan and the region if there is no peace in Afghanistan.

The DG ISPR said Pakistan is positively relevant to the geo-political and geo-economic pursuits of the world powers in the region. “The future of the region and the globe is not without Pakistan, we have a potentially rich economy, we are bestowed with great resources, majority of today’s Pakistani population is youth,” he said.

Asif Ghafoor explained that there was a time not long ago when terrorists were only 60 miles away from the capital threatening to take over the capital and it was at that time when the conflict in the neighbourhood had overflown into Pakistan. He said the army decided to take the threat of a new kind of terrorism head on and nearly 70,000 sacrificed their lives in the war against militancy. “It has not been without human and financial cost. The sacrifice we have paid to restore Pakistan is huge,” he said.

“These are not just the pictures but our soldiers and civilians who have sacrificed their lives to make Pakistan peaceful,” said the DG ISPR while showing pictures of few of the martyrs of Pakistan to students and researchers.

Asif Ghafoor explained the peculiarities of western zone and said Pakistan is often misunderstood and blamed for the things that the country can never think of doing. He explained how the issues of refugees and terrorism had bogged down the country, yet Pakistan has gone out of its way to help its Afghan brothers throughout by hosting them in their millions and now helping them in their rehabilitation.

The DG ISPR said that Kashmir is the mother of all disputes and Pakistan will never compromise on the rights of Kashmiri people and will continue to offer moral support. He said that war is never without a cost and this is paid both by the security forces as well as the local population. “Military operations alone cannot bring peace, it has to be followed up by development-pronged strategies,” he said.

Asif Ghafoor talked about three-soft-pronged strategy, development initiatives, youth employment and de-radicalisation. He showed the work done by the government and the army over the last six years in this regard. He told students: “There is still much to be done in this regard. This is the real success. If youth of Pakistan, especially from the neglected and conflict ridden areas, have the similar education opportunities as the privileged youth sitting here in the university, only then real peace and stability would come to Pakistan,” he said.

He explained to students how a section of youth was radicalised by terrorists and used for their purposes but the Pakistan Army has played a big role in de-radicalisation and rehabilitated the affected youth. He said that Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai was attacked in Swat by terrorists who were against the education of girls and youth and the same elements threatened to take over the Pakistani society. He said that terrorists had declared war on Pakistan because they were against education and national cohesion.

“No other country has withstood against the onslaught of terrorism in the manner Pakistan has. Lots of Muslim countries are in flames today because of terrorism and internal strife, but Pakistan is on a positive trajectory of peace and stability. Terrorism is a global phenomenon and Pakistan alone cannot fight terrorism. Every country has to deal with it as a global response,” he said.

Answering a question, the DG ISPR said that raising the education level in Pakistan was highly important and empowerment of the youth is critical for the progress of Pakistan. He said that in the last few years, nearly 500 youth from affected tribal areas got commissioned in the Pakistan Army, while five times more were being given resident student facilities at the army-run schools and colleges. He said that Pakistan belonged to all its communities including the non-Muslims.

“Pakistan Army is true reflection of our national integration. There are a few stand-alone incidents which are negatively exploited in the western world due to vested interests of few. These stand-alone engineered incidents do not define Pakistan where 207 million people live with inter-religious harmony,” he said.

Talking about the power of youth, he said that Pakistani youth is competent, vibrant and has huge potential. He said that presently nearly 50,000 doctors are serving in the US, and in other parts of the world. He encouraged the youth to study and come back to serve Pakistan. “Yes, the state needs to provide you better opportunity to secure your future as well, while you serve the country. Let me assure you the state is working on this to provide you the environment that serves both you and the country,” he said.

Answering a question by a student, Asif Ghafoor said that demands of the Pakhtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) are genuine and there are genuine issues in the tribal districts. He said that Pakistani government is doing lots of work in the tribal districts and areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to carry out the development work with help from the local people. He said that Pakistani state was fully aware of the issues faced by the local people while devoting itself to development work. He said that demands of the PTM were genuine but the methodology was not right.

The DG ISPR said Pakistan has the will to enforce its writ at all costs.

Syndicated from: https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/381674-no-world-peace-without-pakistan

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