Pakistan won’t indulge in others’ war: PM

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Rules out rift in civil-military relations; COAS vows to avenge blood being shed on borders

Sophia Siddiqui

Rawalpindi

Prime Minister Imran Khan, saying on Thursday that the country will not be part of anyone else’s war, rubbished the myth of a civil-military divide in the country.
Addressing the Defence and Martyrs Day ceremony here on the lawns of the General Headquarters, Prime Minister Imran Khan said, “We both [civil, military] have a common goal and that is to take this country forward.”
He said the Pakistani nation was destined to rise as all state institutions were determined to work together, to make it great.
“There is a myth of civil-military rift. There is no such issue. We have to elevate this country. Our life and death; is for this country …,” Imran Khan said.
He saluted the valour and sacrifices of the armed forces, which stood strong against all odds in the aftermath of the 9/11 and the unconventional war that followed, to safeguard the interests of the country.
In categorical terms Imran Khan said, “Pakistan will never participate in anyone’s war. We have a commitment to stand by our people and protect our interests.”
The prime minister, however, stressed that to make the country strong, “we will have to strengthen our weak institutions, ensure merit and follow in the golden principles laid down by our Holy Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him).
Addressing the gathering attended by the families of the martyrs, the real guests of the evening, Prime Minister said the martyrs had the honour of being on the second highest tiers of honour after the Prophets.
Flanked by Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the prime minister witnessed around two hours event along with his wife.
The attendees included Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar, Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaisar, Deputy Speaker Muhammad Qasim Khan Suri, ministers for foreign affairs, defence, defence production, finance, information and railways. Political leaders from across the divide included Shahbaz Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
Addressing the ceremony, the Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa said, “today was a day of solidarity with martyrs of Pakistan and that they all were united for the defence of the motherland.”
He said that September 6 was an important day in the country’s history and that they had learnt a lot from the 1965 and 1971 wars.
“Our forces and nation have rendered sacrifices in the war against terrorism,” General Bajwa said. “Our houses, schools and leaders were attacked. Efforts were made to weaken us internally.”
Noting that more than 70,000 Pakistanis were martyred and injured in this war, the army chief vowed to collectively fight this menace of terrorism. He said that enlightened nations do not forget their martyrs, adding, “We will avenge the blood flowing on the border.”
General Bajwa said the country passed through a very difficult phase during the past two decades and the war is still continued. He also said that continuity of democracy was necessary in the country. The army chief further paid a tribute to the Kashmiri brethren for their struggle for right to self-determination.

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