Pakistan expects Taliban will fulfil promises on women and human rights: Army chief

Statesman Report

KAKUL: Pakistan expects that the Taliban will fulfil promises made to the global community regarding women and human rights and will not allow Afghan land to be used against any other country, Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Friday.

He made the comments during a wide-ranging speech at the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) Kakul where he was the chief guest for the Flag Presentation Parade.

Gen Bajwa said that Pakistan wanted peace in the country and the region and this desire was shown by its “sincere efforts” to support an Afghan-led process to resolve the decades-long conflict in the neighbouring country. “We have unambiguously and repeatedly asked [the] global community to play its part in an inclusive and unbiased Afghan process as well as economic sustenance of Afghanistan,” he stressed.

Despite paying a “huge price” for the instability in Afghanistan and its own economic challenges, Pakistan had been hosting over three million Afghan refugees for the last four decades, he pointed out.

The chief of army staff reiterated that Pakistan would continue to play its role for peace and stability in Afghanistan, which he said was “direly needed” for the entire region but especially for Afghans themselves.

“We expect that Taliban will fulfil promises [made to the] global community [regarding] women and human rights and Afghan territory won’t be used against any other country,” he said.

Gen Bajwa also talked about the Kashmir issue, saying the people in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) were under the “worst military occupation in human history”.

He said the hearts of Pakistanis beat with their brethren in Kashmir and they would continue to stand with the people of the occupied valley “always and ever”. “Regional peace will remain elusive without a just and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue,” he said.

‘Forces trying to weaken society through hybrid war’

The army chief said people of the subcontinent must not forget that the ultimate goal in the struggle against imperialism was to “secure [an] independent, harmonious and prosperous region wherein all [newly] created countries could live peacefully”.

However, those goals had become “hostage to increasing polarisation and radicalisation in our neighbourhood”, he stated, warning that inimical forces were “trying to weaken the society and state through hybrid war”.

Gen Bajwa said the Pakistan Army was “fully cognisant” of the challenges and was prepared to tackle them. “We will ensure the country’s defence by focusing on core competencies and technology.”

Addressing the cadets at the ceremony, he reminded them that “only strong armed forces can guarantee the defence of the motherland.”

He advised them to focus on their training and gain knowledge about the latest technologies. “Pakistan Army is proud of its young officers who continue to lead their men from the front with courage and devotion to defend the freedom of the motherland,” he added.