The last few decades were challenging for Pakistan as the country faced challenges in the form of incessant terrorism. However, we have surmounted these challenges and are thriving again. Resilience has emerged as the fundamental strength of Pakistan. In the face of terrorism, the entire country stood shoulder to shoulder with our armed forces. The armed forces demonstrated valor and courage in defending the frontiers of the country, and in the process rendered innumerable sacrifices to keep the country safe and secure. Normalcy has returned to the country through the eradication of terrorist networks through various operations, including Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, 4 years of which came to an end in February 2021.
As terrorism and development cannot go together, conflicts don’t end through kinetic operations alone; they are followed by post-rehabilitation and development efforts. As COAS has stated at the Islamabad Security Dialogue that a nation at peace and a region in harmony are the essential prerequisites for attainment of national security in the true spirit. “It is almost a universally acknowledged fact that the contemporary concept of national security is not only about protecting a country from internal and external threats but also providing conducive environment in which aspirations of human security, national progress and development could be realized.”
The operations didn’t have one dimension alone, rather work had to be done to change the mindset and as a result the terrorist activities have almost become negligible. Stabilisation operations in the affected areas are continuing alongside border fencing while progress in the socio-economic sector is also gaining momentum. To ensure the gains from kinetic operations are sustained, extremist ideologies must be eradicated and all the stakeholders, particularly the population, must remain vigilant and contribute to maintaining peace and stability in the region.
Besides protecting the country from all kinds of internal and external threats, Pakistan Army has also been engaged in various international exercises to strengthen military diplomacy and learning from each other’s experiences. In the 4th International Pakistan Army Team Spirit Competition-2021 that took placce at the National Counter-Terrorism Centre, Pabbi from March 1-4, 2021, teams from 12 allied countries participated. Four foreign teams from Jordan, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Uzbekistan participated as competitors in the event and observers from Germany, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Morocco, Tajikistan and United States of America also witnessed the event. The competition tests tactical skills in physical and professional domains as well as agility of the participating teams to generate responses in challenging real-time field scenarios, all while fostering military cooperation between countries.
Perhaps the most resounding show of our military gains, preparedness and excellence is depicted in the Joint Services Pakistan Day Parade, a display which clearly conveys Pakistan’s strength as well as its belief in upholding regional peace. In his speech, President Alvi reiterated Pakistan’s desire for peace, security and development in not only Pakistan but the whole region and said that peaceful coexistence was the cornerstone of Pakistan's foreign policy, adding that the current situation required the South Asian leadership to reject the politics of hate, prejudice and religious extremism. "Pakistan wants to move forward with good intent and peace, but our desire for peace should not be construed as our weakness."
The result of our efforts for peace is manifested in the shape of headway in the Afghan peace process as well as the various international exercises with a number of countries, and internally in the shape of a secure country where the terrorist activities have come to naught, along with other dividends. We’ve come a long way from where we started but the journey towards goals of peace, security and prosperity continues. Our destiny as a nation is inextricably bound to one another and therefore, with the unity of effort we can march into the future as one and united.
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