Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif on Tuesday said no external force would be allowed to obstruct the Pakistan China Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and any such attempt would be dealt with an iron hand.
Addressing the main ceremony on the occasion of Defence Day of Pakistan here at General Headquarters (GHQ), he said, “CPEC is the paramount evidence of Pakistan-China relationship.
This great project will not only consolidate our mutual economic relations but will also help the overall prosperity of the region. Its timely completion and protection is our national undertaking.”
He said the greatest example of a relationship based on mutual respect and principle of equality in the region is the Pak-China friendship.
The army chief paid tributes to the martyrs and heroes of the nation “whose unmatched sacrifices, courage and sense of duty enabled us to breathe in an independent and respectable country.”
The war of September 1965 is a glorious chapter of national history that bestowed a new determination and unity upon the people of Pakistan.
The supreme valour of the men and officers of Pakistan Army, Air Force, and Navy have made this day the most distinguished day in the history of Pakistani nation, he added.
He said 50 years later, this day has also become the emblem of the sacrifices, steadfastness, and bravery of all those martyrs and heroes who successfully stood up to such enormous challenges as the Operation Zarb-e-Azb and a decade-long war against terror.
“I want to make it clear to all enemies of Pakistan that Pakistan has always been strong and today it is invincible.” For the past few years, our country is faced with the menace of terrorism and an unconventional war in which the nation and the armed forces have rendered countless sacrifices side by side.”
He said while terrorism has crumbled many countries around the world, Pakistan, by the grace of Allah Almighty, has valiantly fought this challenge.
“A few years ago, we were faced with terrorist attacks almost on a daily basis. No part of the country, including defence installations, was beyond the enemy’s reach.
The writ of the state had practically ended in many parts of the country. North Waziristan had become a hotbed of terrorists.”
Doubts and misgivings about war on terrorism were common in many circles, he said adding, “But, as Chief of Army Staff, I held full faith in the capabilities and resolve of the armed forces of Pakistan.
It was this faith that encouraged us to launch the Operation Zarb-e-Azb.” “We named Operation Zarb-e-Azb after the Sword of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) so that we would be guided on every step by the Edicts of Allah Almighty and the examples of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).
This sword can only be raised for the protection of the oppressed and the innocent and to eradicate evil and disorder from the land.”
The army chief said, “the process of indiscriminate elimination of terrorists from our soil that we started two years ago in the form of the Operation Zarb-e-Azb has attained its laid down military objectives, and, today, the green banner flutters proudly over all parts of our dear homeland.”
“Since the start of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, we have undertaken over 19,000 operations across the length and breadth of the country to overcome terrorism.
In this long voyage of success, Pakistan Army has been aided by invaluable sacrifices rendered by Rangers, Frontier Corps, Police and Levies. Our intelligence agencies have played a vital role in these achievements.”
General Raheel Sharif said the success of Zarb-e-Azb results from unparalleled tri-services cooperation. “Especially Pakistan Air Force has worked in close harmony with Pakistan Army at every stage of this operation. This mutual harmony of the Armed Forces is our treasured asset,” he observed. -APP