RAWALPINDI: Despite the sacrifices of people and security institutions, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, said that Pakistan still remained in a state of war. He was addressing the commemorative ceremony for Youm-e-Shuhada (Day of Martyrs) in Rawalpindi on Monday.
However, he expressed confidence that the nation would succeed against the odds. “We will succeed in our efforts if we have complete faith in the ideology of Pakistan.”
With the question of national sovereignty and foreign policy being asked again as Pakistan bid adieu to US Af-Pak special ambassador Marc Grossman, Kayani said the armed forces would follow the national policy formulated with consensus in the Parliament, keeping in view sovereignty and dignity of the country.
Addressing the gathering of distinguished guests, including parliamentarians, diplomats, families of martyrs and senior military officials on the third Youm-e-Shuhada Day (day of martyrs), he said, “the main objective for all of us is to make Pakistan a strong country and we should not forget this objective.”
He said the armed forces believed in a strong democratic system and its continuity in the country, whose development and prosperity was linked with the respect of democratic values.
General Kayani said the Constitution clearly determines the responsibilities and duties of national institutions and “it is imperative to fulfill our responsibilities in such a manner which improves our own and the country’s image.”
He said the primary objective of democratic system should be the welfare and prosperity of people besides creating a balanced society with equal opportunities of justice. “It is only way to further strengthen Pakistan’s national security.”
About the Abbottabad incident and the attack on Salala post, he said despite the unprecedented sacrifices of Pakistani people and the armed forces, some external forces have failed to acknowledge it. The resultant situation has put the people under mental stress, and as a result, were forced to review bilateral relations with them, he said, before adding, “we understand that others should also respect our sovereignty and dignity.”
Recounting the successes of Pakistan’s security forces, including the Army, Frontier Constabulary, Frontier Corps, Rangers and Police, he said what they had achieved, was through sacrifices in the fight against extremism and terrorism in difficult areas. He said these sacrifices were a hallmark of history. “We all pay glowing tributes to them,” he added.
Even as he praised the security forces, he was quick to point out that the most important sacrifices were rendered by the Pakistani people who gave courage and determination to the forces to fight on.
Giyari soldiers remembered
The Chief of Army Staff expressed his, the army and the nation’s sorrow over the tragedy that befell 139 soldiers trapped under the avalanche in Gayari sector, on Siachen glacier.
“We are utilising all our resources to recover our colleagues despite very difficult conditions there,” he said, adding that the entire nation, especially the armed forces, were sad over the tragic incident.
Appreciating the role of countries, institutions and individuals who have extended their cooperation for the recovery of missing soldiers, he vowed to continue the search and rescue operation until the last missing soldier is recovered.
Earlier, General Kayani laid a wreath at the Yadgar-e-Shuhada monument to pay homage to the sacrifices rendered by sons of the soil. A smartly turned out contingent of the Pakistan Army presented guard of honour to the martyrs.
Federal Defence Minister Ch Ahmed Mukhtar, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira and Interior Minister A Rehman Malik were also present at the ceremony.