Army chief General Raheel Sharif on Thursday said the Pakistan Army was fighting terrorism with ‘complete sincerity’ and ‘unflinching determination’.
“Our sincerity in the fight against terrorism is complete and our determination unflinching. We want to end it beyond a doubt and, with support of people of Pakistan, we will do so without any discrimination until we get rid of terrorism in all its forms and manifestation,” he said while speaking at the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) 2014.
Showing his readiness to deal with challenges on any front, he said: “We are also fully cognisant of other threats on the horizon, both conventional and unconventional, and will maintain complete readiness to meet them.”
Speaking at a seminar held on the sidelines of the IDEAS 2014, General Raheel Sharif said that job of the uniformed soldiers has become challenging because, unlike terrorists who use brute force, the army is bound by moral, legal and political codes of the country.
General Sharif pointed out that his country’s security forces have rendered unparallelled sacrifices to fight the threat of terrorism which transcends Pakistan’s borders.
“While we need the world’s continuous support to succeed, it is by no means a one-way traffic. Our successes will improve chances and choices for the forces of order,” the army chief added.
His speech focused on the changing dynamics of warfare and the way conventional battles are being fought on economic, cultural and religious lines.
“We are living in turbulent times. So much so that it is difficult to predict what would be the security situation in 2025,” he noted.
He cautioned that diffusion of power is taking place with non-state actors assuming greater role and clout than the state itself.
These actors, according to him, include not just various interest-based groups fighting for power but multinational companies and non-governmental organisations, which have substantial financial muscle. These groups have the power to create a state of almost paranoia, he said. Security cannot be ensured only by securing the borders, he added.
“Today’s world conflict is pervasive, manifested in multiple domains. It is on one hand interest-based, which is more open to negotiated settlement but on the other value-based that is much more absolute. Reality is somewhere in between.”
Historically, he said, the states used moral, political and legal control mechanism to keep military intervention manageable. “While the armies of democratic nations are constrained by these moral and legal bounds, the challengers to state authority are often not. This has made armies reluctant to take on these challenges.”
“Pakistan is an example for the rest of the world. We have gone through adversary and conflict for the last 35 years and survived. Determination of the brave Pakistani nation and our gallant law enforcement agencies is testimony of our resolve,” General Sharif said.
He also underscored the need for resolving Kashmir and Palestine issues for lasting peace in the world.
Earlier in the day, the COAS visited the IDEAS 2014 exhibition where he met delegates of foreign defence companies.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 5th, 2014.