In top commanders' huddle, army expresses concern over 'atrocities' in Indian-held Kashmir

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa chaired the 219th Corps Commanders’ Conference in Rawalpindi on Thursday. (ISPR)
Updated 07 March 2019

In top commanders' huddle, army expresses concern over 'atrocities' in Indian-held Kashmir

  • Indian ‘brutalities’ must stop ‘in the interest of regional peace,’ say participants of the Corps Commanders’ Conference
  • General Bajwa instructs the army to help other state institutions with the implementation of National Action Plan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Army’s top brass convened the 219th Corps Commanders’ Conference at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Thursday, reviewing the geostrategic environment of the region and expressing concern over “atrocities” in Indian-administered Kashmir in the aftermath of the Pulwama incident.

According to an official handout circulated by the military’s public relations wing, the forum observed that “continuity of such brutalities [in Indian-administered Kashmir] was only fueling the fire and need to be stopped in the interest of regional peace.”

The participants of the conference also condemned the “deliberate targeting of civilians along [the] Line of Control [LoC] by Indian occupation forces” and expressed strong will and resolve “to defend the motherland against any misadventure or aggression.”

The conference was held just a few days after tensions broke out between the two South Asian nuclear states, India and Pakistan, in the wake of a suicide attack in the Pulwama district of Indian-administered Kashmir last month. The incident was followed by Indian airstrikes near Balakot in which New Delhi claimed to have targeted a militant training camp.

Pakistan denied that the airstrikes had caused any damage to the infrastructure or resulted in any causality on its side, though it did not prevent its air force to engage “non-military targets” on Indian side of the LoC, shoot down fighter jets of the enemy nation, and capture an Indian pilot who was later returned to his country.

The showdown between the two countries also resulted in heightened tensions in Indian-administered Kashmir where New Delhi has imprisoned separatist leaders without framing any charges against them.

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who presided over the conference, appreciated the morale and performance of Pakistan’s forces and expressed his gratitude to the nation for its continued support toward the country’s military. He also instructed the men in his command to continue with their state of vigilance and respond to any threat to their country.

“Pakistan is on the positive trajectory of peace, stability and progress,” he said. “No one can make us budge through use of threat or use of force. Similarly, policy and the right of use of force shall remain the prerogative of the state alone.”

The army chief also discussed progress on the National Action Plan which provides guidelines in dealing with the threat of terrorism within the country and instructed the military to assist other state institutions to help accelerate its implementation.

Pakistan says Israel-UAE agreement will have 'far-reaching implications'

Updated 16 min 41 sec ago

Pakistan says Israel-UAE agreement will have 'far-reaching implications'

  • The country’s foreign office noted that peace in the Middle East was Islamabad’s key priority
  • Pakistan 'has an abiding commitment to the full realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people' – FO

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday described the normalization process between the United Arab Emirates and Israel as a development with significant consequences for the region. 

“We have noted the Joint Statement announcing agreement of UAE and Israel to have full normalization of relations,” the new foreign office spokesman, Zahid Hafeez, said in a statement while responding to an Arab News query. “This is a development with far-reaching implications.” 

The UAE and Israel announced their decision to normalize diplomatic ties and build a more functional relationship on Thursday. The peace deal was facilitated by United States President Donald Trump who described it as a “huge breakthrough” and a “historical peace agreement.” 

Responding to the development, Pakistan said it had an abiding commitment to the full realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination. 

“Peace and stability in the Middle East region are also Pakistan’s key priority,” the statement said, adding that for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace, Pakistan had consistently advocated a two-state solution in accordance with the relevant United Nations and Organization of Islamic Cooperation resolutions. 

While the deal was made after Israel decided to suspend its planned annexation of the occupied West Bank, it surprised Palestinian leaders and prompted President Mahmoud Abbas to demand an urgent Arab League meeting. 

Reading a statement outside the presidential office in Ramallah, Abbas’s senior adviser Nabil Abu Rudeinah said: “The Palestinian leadership rejects and denounces the surprising UAE-Israeli-US trilateral announcement.” 

He also termed the development as a “betrayal of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa and the Palestinian cause.” 

Meanwhile, Pakistan, which has been striving to protect the rights of Kashmiris in the region, said its approach would be guided by its “evaluation of how Palestinians’ rights and aspirations are upheld and how regional peace, security and stability are preserved” by the deal.