RAWALPINDI, Sept 7: In sharp contrast to the reconciliatory tone of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan towards India, Army chief General Qamar Jawed Bajwa has vowed to avenge blood of the country’s soldiers being shed on the border.
General Bajwa’s comments came while addressing the Defence Day ceremony in Rawalpindi on Thursday to mark the 53rd anniversary of the 1965 war with India. He also paid respect to “brothers and sisters in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir who’re writing the history of resistance”.
“We will avenge the blood flowing on the border,” Geo News quoted General Bajwa, as saying in the presence of Prime Minister, who had earlier said that his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government favoured good relations with India and wanted to see leaders of the two countries sitting across the table to resolve all disputes, including Kashmir.
“Our armed forces and the entire nation have learned much during their service to Pakistan. Fear and terrorism were thrust upon us. Our homes, schools, places of worship, recreational sites and national institutions were attacked,” General Bajwa said.
“Efforts were made to weaken and divide us from within. But I salute all the citizens of Pakistan and the ones safeguarding our nation who fought remarkably in these difficult times and stood against such elements,” the Army chief added.
“We have sacrificed a lot but our job is not done. The war is still ongoing. We have yet to reach the pinnacle of peace. We have to make Pakistan reach a level where no one can look at us with an evil intent.”
Former Indian cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu earlier came under severe criticism after he hugged General Bajwa during Khan’s oath-taking ceremony last month.
Sidhu’s photo of him seated next to President of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) Masood Khan at the ceremony had also created some ripples back home.
Speaking at the same event, Khan said that “Pakistan would no more participate in someone else’s war” and insisted that there was no civil-military divide in the country.
He said that he was against the war from the very beginning and his government’s foreign policy would be in the best interest of the nation.
“I was against this war from the very beginning. “We will not become part of a war of any other country (in future)... Our foreign policy will be in the best interest of the nation,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani government and the military are willing to hold talks with India for regional peace, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Friday. In an interview to BBC Urdu, the minister said that while Pakistan is willing to hold talks, the present government has not received any positive indication from India.
“(Prime Minister) Imran Khan has given many hints to New Delhi in this regard,” Chaudhry told the publication.
“As soon as he was elected Prime Minister, Imran (Khan) invited Indian cricketers... In his first speech, he said that we will take two steps forward in response to one step from New Delhi,” Chaudhry said.
He further added that Khan also spoke to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, according to the report.
Chaudhry further said that military is in agreement with the government’s decision to approach India to improve ties and hold talks. “Both Khan and General Qamar Javed Bajwa understand that a country cannot progress in isolation,” he said.
“Both leaders understand that we will be left behind in the race of development if regional peace is not ensured.”
Chaudhry also said that Pakistan will soon open the Kartar Singh border for Sikh pilgrims and allow them to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur without having to obtain a visa. “A system has been formed for the pilgrims entering Pakistan,” he said. (IANS)