LANDIKOTAL: Rubbishing the Indian claim of carrying out surgical strikes inside Pakistan, army chief General Raheel Sharif on Thursday warned the eastern neighbour that if Pakistan carried out such strikes on their soil, their future generations would remember them for centuries.
New Delhi on September 29 claimed its forces carried out surgical strikes inside Pakistan against alleged ‘terror launch pads’. The claim was forcefully rejected by Islamabad while it was also contested by a number of independent experts.
“India’s surgical strike claim is a farce.
If Pakistan carries out such strikes on Indian soil, their generations will remember them for centuries, and their government will know what surgical strikes actually mean,” General Raheel said while addressing tribal elders in the Bara area of Khyber Agency.
The army chief, who is set to retire by the end of this month, was paying a farewell visit to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and Peshawar.
He said the tribal people of Fata and the armed forces had defeated the militants and militancy in the area and had nurtured peace in the seven agencies through their blood.
“In times of crisis, we have witnessed that Fata tribes have stood shoulder to shoulder with the armed forces and in every military operation their cooperation is consummate,” Raheel added.
He said due to the sacrifices of the armed forces, most ‘no-go’ areas of Fata had been turned into peaceful areas. He thanked the tribal people for rendering full support to the army in cleansing their areas of terrorists, and praised them for their steadfastness.
“We have fought this menace of terrorism together over the years and it has woven us eternally in an unbreakable bond,” he said.
The army chief also appreciated the sacrifices of the armed forces and assured the officers and jawans that after his retirement from the force, he will establish an institution for the widows, orphans and families of the armed forces to reciprocate their sacrifices for the nation.
General Raheel also laid the foundation stone of Shahid Afridi Cricket stadium at Bara to be built by Army Engineers. The stadium has been named after renowned cricketer Shahid Afridi to honour him for his services for Pakistan and is built as part of sports infrastructure to explore talent in Fata.
Tribal elders paid their gratitude to General Raheel for the army’s extra efforts in ensuring dignified return and quality reconstruction in all tribal areas.
Afridi also later took to Twitter to express his gratitude to the army chief for visit to Fata and inauguration of the sport complex. “It’s an honour and privilege to inaugurate stadium in Khyber Agency with COAS Raheel Sharif, You are Pakistan’s hero and my hero too,” the cricketer said.
Earlier, Raheel visited Wana area of South Waziristan Agency, where he addressed officers and soldiers from Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps. The army chief commended the troops for successfully ‘unhinging terrorists from their sanctuaries’ in Fata and destroying their infrastructure.
“Alhamdolillah, with support of the nation, we have completed the cycle of counter terrorism operations in such unique and comprehensive way. Our stabilisation operations and resettlement phase are helping us consolidate our gains,” he said, according to a statement issued by the military’s media wing.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 25th, 2016.