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Kashmir issue can't be put on back burner

General Raheel Sharif 

General Raheel Sharif

In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent and the most Merciful.

Respected families of Pakistan's martyrs, honourable guests, officers, junior commissioned officers and our valiant soldiers - Assalam o Alaikum.

Today's defence day is of immense significance. September 6 is a day of great importance in our national history. This is the day when the enemy dared to attack our country. In response, our valiant armed forces and the nation stood together to successfully defend, and inflict a humiliating defeat on the aggressor. I am extremely proud that today we have amongst us the veterans of that war.

It has been 50 years since September 6, 1965. Over this period, Pakistan has seen many ups and downs. I can say with a lot of conviction that today our country is much stronger and more resolute than ever before. This successful journey was only made possible due to the supreme sacrifices of the martyrs and war veterans of this great nation. Let me reiterate that our armed forces stand fully capable to defeat all sorts of external aggression. If the enemy ever resorts to any misadventure, regardless of its size and scale, it will have to pay an unbearable cost.

Ladies and gentlemen; over the past many years, Pakistan has been confronted with terrorism and sub-conventional war. Operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched at a time when the forces of disorder were challenging the state of Pakistan. The law and order situation in the country was abysmal and deteriorating. The APS Peshawar incident was an inhuman and barbaric act of horrendous proportions. However, the sacrifice of the martyred children and the immense fortitude of their parents reinvigorated the national resolve against terrorism. I can assure you that most of the terrorists involved in that incident have already been brought to justice. With the blessings of Allah Almighty and prayers of the nation, armed forces and other law enforcement agencies of Pakistan, through untiring efforts and sacrifice, have brought the situation under control, and writ of the state has been well established.

Ladies and gentlemen, I wish to commend the Pakistani media, who have unmasked the real face of terrorists, thus playing a critical role in creating national consensus. This was a difficult and complex undertaking. To make this success comprehensive and enduring, all organs of the state will have to earnestly play their part to achieve the objectives of the National Action Plan in the earliest possible time. Today, I reiterate the resolve that we shall not relent until all terrorists, their financiers, abettors, facilitators and sympathisers are brought to justice.

Through concerted civil-military efforts, a great deal of success has been achieved in establishing peace in Karachi and Balochistan. Allah willing, we will continue our efforts to bring these operations to their logical conclusion.

The Pakistan-China Economic Corridor is of importance not just for Pakistan but also the entire region. Its completion is a national obligation; and armed forces of Pakistan will fully play their part in bringing this project to fruition.

I salute my patriotic brothers from FATA for their extreme sacrifices. The process of return of Temporarily Displaced Persons has already begun; it is our sincere endeavour that these people are able to get back to their homes as early as possible in order to start a better life.

Our young generation is the prime focus of all our efforts, they are the real embodiment of the nation's future. Armed forces of Pakistan whole heartedly share the passion and fervour of our youth.

I must highlight that the aggravating security situation in Afghanistan is a point of serious concern. We have strong historical and blood ties with Afghanistan and no power on earth can disrupt this relationship. We have made concerted and sincere efforts for bringing peace in Afghanistan but certain inimical forces are bent upon undermining our efforts. Allah willing their nefarious design will never succeed.

Our national struggle against terrorism has played a vital role for regional and international peace. We hope that the international community acknowledges our extreme sacrifice and assists us in this endeavour without any prejudice.

It is pertinent to mention that Kashmir is the unfinished agenda of the Partition in subcontinent. The innocent people of India-occupied Kashmir are being subjected to injustice and atrocities for over the last seven decades. It should be clearly understood that enduring peace in the region will not be possible without a just resolution of Kashmir. The issue can no longer be put on the back burner. The time has come for the Kashmir issue to be resolved in line with the aspirations of its people in accordance with UN resolutions.

Ladies and gentlemen; I am proud to command one of the most battle-hardened armies of the world, which has no parallel. Armed forces of Pakistan are fully capable to deal all types of internal and external threats, whether conventional or sub-conventional; whether it is a cold start or a hot start. We are ready!

In the end, I take this opportunity to once again salute the martyrs and veterans for their unforgettable sacrifice and contribution in the defence of our beloved motherland. While standing amongst the dear families of martyrs, I reiterate our resolve that we would not let their blood go in vain.

Long live Pakistan Army, long live Pakistan.

Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif, speaking at Pakistan's Defence Day, in Rawalpindi, on September 6, 2015

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First Published: Sat, September 12 2015. 21:45 IST