Army does not support jihadist groups: Lt Gen Mehmood

Corps commander Peshawar says security forces will be withdrawn from erstwhile FATA within two years


Our Correspondent January 06, 2019
PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Army does not support any jihadist group or faction and has always desired sustainable peace and stability in the region, corps commander Peshawar says.

“Security forces will be withdrawn from erstwhile Fata within two years but a limited number of troops will be stationed there to maintain peace and border vigilance,” said Lt Gen Shaheen Mazhar Mehmood while addressing the media in erstwhile Fata on Sunday.

“Troops withdrawal is conditional as it largely depends on peace and stability on the western border,” the corps commander added.

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On the fencing issue, Lt Gen Mehmood said, “The only motive behind it is to stop cross border movements and to address the grievances of Kabul, which claims that militants come from across the border. To stop that, we have started fencing and the national exchequer is bearing the cost.

“We have also started military operations in erstwhile Fata to dismantle terrorist safe havens on our side of the border. We did it at the cost of officers, jawans and civilians as we are committed to peace in the region.”

Lt Gen Mehmood said no more military operations would be carried out in the seven tribal districts as it was time for development and economic revival.

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“The Pakistan Army has formed citizen action committees to address people’s concerns and issues,” he added. “The tribal people have rendered matchless scarifies for stability, peace and ideology and now it’s the security forces’ priority to provide every facility, including health and education, to them at their doorstep.”

Mehmood said Khasadar and Levies forces would be transformed into police force and given modern training and weapons.
“Education and reconstruction are the main sectors we are working on and health facilities, which were rare in the past, will soon be available in remote villages in the tribal region,” said the corps commander.

The journalists also visited Bala Hissar Fort and Torkham and Landi Kotal where they were briefed on the trade and peace prospects with the Afghanistan.

The journalists apprised the corps commander of the tribal and media issues.

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