Army chief General Raheel Sharif vowed on Friday Pakistan and China would defeat the “nefarious designs” of forces detrimental to increased cooperation between the two countries, particularly on the economic corridor, adding that both the countries were facing the same enemy.
He said this during a ceremony to celebrate the Chinese Army’s 88th anniversary held at the country’s Islamabad embassy, apparently referring to India, which has publicly voiced its opinion against the recently agreed multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The army chief told the gathering that the CPEC would benefit the entire region and should be looked at through the “same lens”, according to a statement issued by the military’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
“I reiterate our resolve that any attempt to obstruct or impede this project will be thwarted at all costs,” reiterated Gen Raheel. “Your [China’s] enemy is our enemy. Eliminating the ETIM (East Turkestan Islamic Movement) is a manifestation of this. Our cooperation is for regional stability.”
Describing Pak-China friendship as all-weather, sweeter than honey, higher than the Himalayas and deeper than the ocean, he said the strategic cooperation between the two neighbours would further grow in these testing times. “The rest of the world takes this relationship as iconic, and both nations are indeed proud of it.”
Gen Raheel said Pakistan Army and Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) of China formed the edifice of “our strategic relations”. “We will all defeat nefarious designs of forces detrimental to us. The PLA is one of the best armies,” he observed.
“The regional stability efforts of both our countries, especially seen in the context of Afghanistan, will have lasting effects in the region,” he added. “Our efforts are likely to squeeze the space for the states and non-state actors, who intend to see a destabilised and inimical Afghanistan.”
The army chief’s statement comes against the backdrop of growing tensions between Pakistan and India following the recent attack in Gurdaspur. India pointed the finger at Pakistan although Islamabad strongly dismissed the allegation.
Earlier while reviewing the army’s ongoing flood relief efforts, the Chief of Army Staff directed all the personnel to continue rescue and relief efforts in flood-affected areas leaving no stone unturned.
Announcing a day’s worth of army ration to help flood-hit families, Gen Raheel directed all officers to act first and report their achievements later.
Pakistan Army has continued its rescue and relief operations in Chitral district and other flood-hit areas of the country.
More than a hundred villages have been affected by floods in various districts of Punjab whereas 200 villages along the River Indus have been evacuated.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2015.