ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Raheel Sharif made it clear on Saturday that the Pakistan Army is "acutely aware" of the campaign by "rivals" against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Asim Bajwa said on Twitter.

The army chief vowed that the armed forces are prepared to "pay any price to turn this long cherished dream into a reality".

During his visit to Panjgur and Turbat in Balochistan where he inspected the under-construction road network of the project, the army chief said, "CPEC and Gwadar Port will be built and developed as one of the most strategic deep sea ports in the region at all costs."

The ISPR spokesman said Gen Raheel was apprised during a briefing that as many as 11 units of Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) have been employed in Balochistan for the construction of an 870 kilometre-long stretch of roads at five different locations simultaneously.

Out of the the 870km-long road, 502 km of roads have already been completed in less than one and half year on special directives issued by Gen Raheel.

The army chief lauded the FWO for their untiring efforts in the construction of such a vast road network across Balochistan against all odds at an "amazing pace" and paid tributes to FWO soldiers for sacrificing their lives for undertaking this national project.

Emphasising the importance of the CPEC project, the army chief said that the roads will link Gwadar Port with the rest of the country "to yield the real envisioned dividend of the port and corridor" in order to transform the lives of people and bring prosperity to the region.

Speaking to notable individuals of the area, the COAS paid rich tributes to the proud and valiant people of Balochistan and thanked them for their unconditional cooperation and support for these projects, assuring them that these projects will serve their best interests.

The COAS said that the potential of Balochistan as a regional hub for trade in goods and energy will only be realised with a national approach for its security and development.

Gen Raheel emphasised that a secure and peaceful environment was a must to push all the planned development work.

He also lauded the law enforcement agencies for bringing a significant change in the overall security situation of the province. He commended the Frontier Corps and police for recently conducting successful operations against foreign-funded militants who were involved in disruption of law and order in the province.

The COAS said that ongoing operation Zarb-i-Azb was not only an operation but a concept for a terror-free Pakistan. It will continue to target all militants without any discrimination and hunt down terrorists across the country to achieve the end objective, he said.



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