SEVILLE: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani said on Friday that Pakistan had a sovereign right to formulate a policy in accordance with its own national interests and wishes of its people.
The COAS made these remarks at a meeting of the NATO Chiefs of Defence that was held in Seville city of Spain.
Reiterating Islamabad’s resolve to fight militancy and extremism, Kayani underlined that Pakistan has a sovereign right to formulate its policies in line with it own national interests and the wishes of its people.
He recalled Pakistan’s role in the war on terror, highlighting the sacrifices made to fight terrorism as well as reiterating Pakistan’s expectations, in terms of support, from the rest of the world.
Earlier, the COAS met US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen and French Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Edouard Guillaud on the sidelines of the NATO session.
Earlier on Thursday Spain had conferred the country’s highest military honour, The Grand Cross of Military Merit award, upon General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.
The award was in recognition of Pakistan Army’s contribution in the fight against terrorism.
Kayani doubts Afghanistan ready for troops pullout
Pakistan’s army chief said he doubted neighbouring Afghanistan would be ready for international troops to leave by 2014 as planned.
“Frankly, I have my doubts,” General Ashfaq Kayani told Reuters on the sidelines of the NATO Military Committee conference, adding that he thought an alternative deadline might be possible.
“No date can be a final date,” he said.
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force is training Afghan security forces and is due to fully withdraw from the war-torn central Asian country by 2014.
NATO considers Pakistan to be a key regional player and Afghanistan’s security situation was on the agenda at the US-led alliance’s two-day conference in Seville.
A NATO spokesman said the alliance thought the gradual withdrawal of international forces was moving ahead on time.
“There are encouraging signs of progress as far as transition at this stage is concerned,” Brigadier General Massimo Panizzi told journalists.
Taliban rebels have recently, however, managed to attack several well-guarded targets in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Kayani added that he thought relations between the US and Pakistan were satisfactory.
“Relations are good. They are improving,” he said.