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Pak Army chief Gen Bajwa stresses on need for regional peace; warns price of status quo will be devastating

Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa emphasised the importance of regional peace and the development of a mechanism for peacefully resolving all bilateral issues. Bajwa said, "We must give peace a chance by developing a mechanism for peacefully resolving all of our bilateral issues."

Pak Army chief Gen Bajwa stresses on need for regional peace; warns price of status quo will be devastating - adt
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First Published Oct 8, 2022, 3:53 PM IST

Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa stressed the importance of regional peace and the development of a mechanism for resolving all bilateral issues peacefully among countries on Saturday, warning that the cost of maintaining the status quo would be disastrous for all of us.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) said in what could be his final address at the prestigious Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul before retiring at the end of November that the "world has changed, so should we, as the price of status quo will be devastating for all of us."

Without naming any countries, the 61-year-old Pakistan Army chief emphasised the importance of regional peace and the development of a mechanism for peacefully resolving all bilateral issues.

"We must give peace a chance by developing a mechanism for peacefully resolving all of our bilateral issues. Furthermore, rather than fighting each other, he believes we should work together to combat hunger, poverty, illiteracy, population growth, climate change, and disease. The world has changed, and so should we because the cost of maintaining the status quo will be disastrous for all of us," he said.

In his speech, Gen Bajwa stated that in our pursuit of peace, we had made sincere and all-out efforts to develop good neighbourly relations with all of our neighbours and regional countries. We are doing everything we can to break the political impasse that has prevented South Asian countries from moving forward and resolving all regional and bilateral issues peacefully and dignifiedly.

According to the Army chief, the people of South Asia, like the rest of the world, deserved prosperity and better living conditions, which could only be achieved through sustained economic growth, development, and, most importantly, lasting peace.

Therefore, he said, we must work hard to keep the flames of war at bay in the region.

During his tenure, Pakistan and India came dangerously close to war in 2019 due to the Pulwama attack and subsequent events. However, during his tenure, the two sides also agreed to reinstate a ceasefire along the LoC in 2021, providing a ray of hope for peace.

The Kashmir issue and cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan have strained relations between India and Pakistan. On August 5, 2019, India repealed Article 370 of the Constitution, revoking Jammu and Kashmir's special status and dividing the state into two Union Territories.

In response to India's decision, Pakistan severed diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian envoy. India has made it clear to Pakistan that terrorism and dialogue are incompatible.

In his speech, Bajwa also warned that Pakistan's desire for peace should not be interpreted as a weakness.

He said that no one should doubt our collective determination to defend our core interests and every inch of our motherland.

He claimed that the Pakistan Army had successfully turned the tide of the terrorism threat over the last two decades, ensuring that organised terrorism is decisively eradicated from Pakistan.

He said that this is a one-of-a-kind accomplishment that few countries or armies can claim.

General Bajwa, who has been in uniform for 42 years, was appointed chief of the army staff in November 2016 for a three-year term extended in 2019. If everything goes according to plan, he will retire by November.

(With inputs from PTI)

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