WEB DESK: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman and former president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari on Monday said his party is standing by Pakistan Army and termed Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Raheel Sharif’s decision of refusing extension in service “premature”, according to Aaj News. In a statement issued here, he said Pakistan was facing a multitude of different challenges as criminal gangs and separatists were hatching conspiracies to destabilise the country with the help of their foreign handlers.
The statement comes against the backdrop of reports earlier in the day regarding the likely arrests of some high-profile personalities in the next few days in connection with the detained leader of People’s Amn Committee (PAC), Uzair Baloch. The PPP leader further said that overall security situation of the country worsened in the aftermath of militant attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar. Expecting Army’s role in political matters, accountability and other national issues is not fitting, said Zardari. He urged the nation and political forces to unite and stand shoulder to shoulder with the armed forces in order to root out the menace of terrorism from the country.
Zardari went on to say that eternal sacrifices and struggle of the Army should not be wasted due to political differences and opportunism. Terming the Army Chief’s decision of refusing to accept extension in service as before time, the PPP co-chairman urged the political leadership to take the right decision keeping the greater national interest and the country’s security in mind when the time is ripe.
He said that continuity in leadership and army’s resolute struggle guarantees protection and security of Pakistan. Zardari said the announcement made by the Army Chief sparked debates and discussions on national media which are based merely on speculations and termed the same an ‘exercise in futility’. The PPP leader, however, added that when the time comes the political leadership must take the final decision in regard to the extension in service to CoAS in the greater national interest by keeping in view the prevailing circumstances and aspirations of the people.
The PPP joined hands with the government in shaping up the national strategy at an All-Party Conference under which the army began the operation Zarb-e-Azb and accomplished great successes by undertaking effective actions in the battle against the scourge of terrorism, he said. Zardari also lauded the Pakistan Army for operation ‘Khyber One’ and Balochistan against the ‘enemies and terrorists’. He also credited the army for what he called the elimination of organised crime in Karachi and tightening the noose on the abettors and facilitators of terrorists across the country, thus, breaking the backbone of militants.