Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa on Tuesday assured Qatar that Pakistan will cooperate with country on cyber security, defence production and ease of travel, said the Inter-Services Public Relations in a statement.
The army chief, who is on an official visit to Qatar, thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani of Qatar for appreciating Pakistan Army's role in the ongoing fight against terrorism and assured him of all possible cooperation in "desired fields".
Qatar's premier also hailed the army's contributions towards establishing regional peace and lauded it for its professionalism. He showed interest for joint training and field exercises, expressing desire to learn from Pakistan Army's expertise in the security domain.
He said that people of Qatar greatly value the people of Pakistan and trust their time-tested commitment for working in Qatar and sought assistance for the upcoming Football World Cup in Qatar, including provision of manpower.
General Bajwa also visited Ahmed Bin Mohamed Military College where a Pakistani tri-services contingent of 166 members is imparting training. He also toured the Qatar Emiri Guard Headquarters and met Major General Hazza Bin khalid Al Shahwani.
PESHAWAR: Pakistan Army has moved heavy artillery towards the Pak-Afghan border in Chaman and Torkham districts, security officials said on Monday.
The move came just two days after the military decimated camps of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) Jamaatul Ahrar (JA) faction on the Torkham border opposite Mohmand and Khyber tribal regions. The group, which claims to be behind the recent wave of terrorist attacks, has found safe haven in Afghanistan, according to the Pakistani security establishment.
Security sources said their forces have resolved to restrict illegal border movement and any attempt to breach border security will be responded to with full force. Security forces have stepped up patrolling in the areas along the Afghan border, while security has been put on high alert in North and South Waziristan agencies.
The stringent border checks were implemented after a week of deadly attacks by terrorists left dozens of people dead and injured in different cities of Pakistan, prompting a pledge of ‘revenge — immediate revenge’ from Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Security forces have also indefinitely closed the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
A QUIET retirement it has not been. In the weeks since former army chief Gen Raheel Sharif retired from the military, barely a day has gone by without Gen Sharif or events connected to him being in the news.
Now has come perhaps the biggest surprise: the recently retired army chief is rumoured to have been selected to lead a so-called Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism created by the ambitious, young Saudi Defence Minister Mohammad bin Salman.
To the extent that the IMAFT is a large bloc of Muslim-majority countries — 39 at the latest count, according to Saudi authorities — focused on combating international terrorists, the retired general with his vast counter-insurgency and counterterrorism leadership skills could be an excellent choice as leader.
The Muslim world, wracked by terrorism across great swathes, needs a coherent and coordinated approach to fight the great threats that stalk its lands. And yet, there is remarkably little known about the Saudi initiative that he has reportedly signed up for.
Two sets of questions are of urgent importance. The first concerns the IMAFT generally. While Saudi officials have touted the broad membership of the alliance, little is known about the role each country is to play.
More importantly, with several countries still outside the fold, what are the ultimate intentions of the Saudi royal family? Is there a realistic scenario for the participation of all Muslim-majority countries or will a sectarian colour be imposed on the alliance? Specifically, with Iran and Saudi Arabia at odds over a number of issues in the Middle East, will Riyadh permit the involvement of Tehran and its allies in the IMAFT?
If not, how will it work towards its self-professed goal of fighting terrorism irrespective of sect and wherever the threat is to be found? It could be a fresh disaster for the Muslim world if the Saudi-Iranian rivalry fuels the creation of a new military alliance in the name of fighting terrorism.
For Pakistan, the challenges are specific. In April 2015, after the Saudi regime had demanded Pakistan contribute to a Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen against the Houthis, parliament here took the historic and correct decision of declining to authorise the government to send troops to Yemen.
While Gen Sharif is no longer a serving army chief and his decision to join the IMAFT is somewhat independent of the Pakistani state, the fact remains that his high-profile leadership of the alliance will be associated with Pakistan.
The government and current military leadership, therefore, must publicly restate or clarify important foreign policy and national security parameters. Specifically, it must be publicly assured that the April 2015 decision taken by parliament will not be contravened and that any Pakistani contribution to the IMAFT will be for specific and clearly identifiable reasons. Clarity and honesty are needed if the alliance is to succeed.
Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2017
Newly-appointed Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday said that Pakistani troops will respond to ceasefire violations by Indian troops along the Line of Control (LoC) with 'full force', according to a statement released by Inter-Services Public Relations.
During a visit to the 10 Corps Rawalpindi and troops at forward locations along the LoC, Gen Bajwa said, "Each violation of any kind must be responded to with full force in the most effective manner."
The Army chief was briefed on the security situation at the LoC "in view of recent violations and escalation by Indian troops and Pakistan's own response," the ISPR said.
The COAS said India's 'aggressive posture' aims solely to divert the world's attention away from 'atrocities' being committed by Indian troops in held Kashmir.
Gen Bajwa said the Kashmir issue will have to be resolved in line with United Nations resolutions keeping in view the aspirations of the Kashmiri people in order to achieve lasting regional peace, ISPR said.
The Army chief appreciated the operational readiness of troops and the 'befitting response' given to 'unprovoked Indian firing' across the LoC. Gen Bajwa directed troops to keep the highest level of vigil at all times.
The Army chief's statements come at a time tensions between Pakistan and India are running high following an alleged 'surgical strike', unrest in Kashmir and the Uri army base attack in September.
Since then there have been repeated outbreaks of cross-border firing in Kashmir, with both sides reporting deaths and injuries including of civilians.
In November, at least nine people were killed and 11 others wounded when Indian troops targeted the passenger coaster in Azad Jammu and Kashmir near the LoC. A total of three soldiers and 10 civilians were killed, and 18 others injured in cross-border firing and shelling.
China and Pakistan have launched a direct rail and sea freight service, with the first cargo train departing from Yunnan, an inland province in southwest China, the official Xinhua news agency reported. A cargo train loaded with 500 tonnes of commodities left Kunming, capital of Yunnan, for port city of Guangzhou from where the cargo will be loaded on ships and transported to Karachi, marking the opening of the new route.
Army Chief-designate General Qamar Bajwa will assume command of the Pakistan Army from General Raheel Sharif at a ceremony which is taking place at the General Headquarters(GHQ) in Rawalpindi on Tuesday.
Gen Raheel Sharif reviewed the guard of honour. Speaking at the ceremony prior to handing over the baton of command to Gen Bajwa, Sharif said, "Today i thank God who gave me the opportunity to serve in the world's best army. To achieve our goals, I used the full force of the Pakistani army. I had the entire country's cooperation for which I thank the the army and the nation." He added that he has a firm belief in the Pak Army and he knows that they will always live up to the nation's expectations.
Talking about Pakistan's battle with terrorism he said that everyone has sacrificed for the land.
"I pay my tribute to those who have lost their lives for this nation. We were able to change the face of history by fighting a war against terrorism," he added.
He thanked the federal government, political leadership and the media for their cooperation.
The outgoing army chief stressed that all institutions need to work together against external threats.
He added that India's aggressive tactics in the past months have kept the area under pressure of looming violence but India should know that taking our policy of patience as weakness would be dangerous.
A military band kickstarted the ceremony with a number of patriotic tunes.
Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif and Minister of State for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb and Speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq are also in attendance.
Before the ceremony, General Raheel laid a wreath at the Yadgar-i-Shuhada.
Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, a career infantry officer belonging to the Baloch Regiment, was chosen as Pakistan's next Chief of Army Staff and Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) on Saturday. Gen Bajwa will be promoted to the rank of a four-star general and will take up his new post from Tuesday, the day the current army chief Raheel Sharif retires.
Gen Bajwa was previously posted as the Inspector General for Training and Evaluation at the General Headquarters, the same post held by Gen Raheel Sharif before he took over as army chief.
Gen Bajwa was considered as a dark horse in the race for the army’s command and has now superseded Lt Gen Syed Wajid Hussain (chairman of Heavy Industries Taxila), Lt Gen Najibullah Khan (DG Joint Staff Headquarters), Lt Gen Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmed (Corps Commander Multan) and Lt Gen Javed Iqbal Ramday (Corps Commander Bahawalpur).
The succession may not immediately bring about a major change in policies, but it could still have important implications for ties with India and Afghanistan, and domestically for the civil-military equation and the ongoing fight against terrorism.
The army chief-designate is credited with having spent a considerable part of his military service in the Rawalpindi-based 10 Corps, which is responsible for guarding the Line of Control (LoC). However, his time at the 10 Corps was a period of relative quiet following the 2003 ceasefire accord.
This experience could prove invaluable as he takes command amidst serious escalation on the LoC, which saw some of the intense skirmishes since 2003.
On a personal level, Gen Bajwa is said to be witty, accessible, well-connected with the troops and not fond of the limelight.
He is the fourth officer from the infantry’s Baloch Regiment to become the army chief. Before him, Gen Yahya Khan, Gen Aslam Beg and Gen Kayani rose to that position.
Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar on Tuesday announced the birth of a baby boy on Twitter.
The 40-year-old fast bowler expressed his happiness in a tweet as he announced that he and his wife had been 'blessed with a healthy baby boy.'
"The most prized catch my hands have ever, ever held on to... what a feeling!" Akhtar exclaimed.
He told fans that his wife and the baby were fine and, referring to himself by the nickname given to him in tribute to his hometown, Akhtar added, "Rawalpindi Express is a proud papa."