Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa called on Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Prime Minister Office on Monday.
The prevailing security situation of the country was discussed during the meeting. The meeting comes in the wake of escalation of tensions with India after the February 14th Pulwama attack in Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK). After the banned Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) accepted the responsibility of killing 44 Indian soldiers, India alleged that the group operated from Pakistan with its support. Islamabad had denied the claim and sought evidence.
Just two days ago, the premier reiterated Islamabad’s desire for peace, but made it clear that the country’s armed forces and people are fully prepared and would fight till the end to protect the nation’s independence and sovereignty.
“Be it India or any [other] superpower, if anyone wants to subdue us, we along with our armed forces would fight to the end. Our people, as well as the armed forces, are fully prepared,” Imran said on Friday while addressing a large public meeting in Sindh’s Tharparkar district.
He said Pakistan desires peace and has also sent this message to New Delhi time and again. “We also handed the [captured] pilot to India, because we do not want war, and also offered cooperation to India after the [February 14] Pulwama incident.”
The premier, however, categorically stated that no one should have any misunderstanding that these steps were taken out of fear. “This is the new Pakistan and we want to focus on alleviating poverty.”
Imran said after coming to power, he talked to Indian PM Narendra Modi and told him that the subcontinent faces the highest levels of poverty in the world, and that all issues should be resolved through dialogue. “But I did not know that Modi will stoop so low after launching his election campaign,” he added.
Addressing the Indian prime minister he said: “If you (Modi) indulge in any bloodshed to win the [upcoming] elections, there should not be any misunderstanding, we will retaliate.”
Imran said he was born in an independent Pakistan as opposed to his parents who were born under the British rule and that his parents never let him forget this fact.
“When I describe Tipu Sultan as our hero, it is because of the fact that Tipu opted to fight for independence till his last breath, whereas [last Mughal Emperor] Bahadur Shah Zafar surrendered and accepted slavery,” he said.
Imran said all political parties had agreed as part of the 2015 National Action Plan (NAP) that no armed group would be allowed to operate in Pakistan but the plan could not be fully implemented until recently.
“There are people among these groups who have undertaken welfare work, they shouldn’t worry … I know there are groups whose militant wings have already been abolished but we are part of the international community and we will not allow any militant armed group to function here,” he added.
The premier was talking about the government’s recent crackdown against proscribed organisations. The government on February 22 imposed a ban on Hafiz Saeed’s charity organisations – Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) – ‘as part of NAP’ and later launched a country wide crackdown against the group, taking over its properties and outlets across the country.