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Pakistan’s peace hinges on Afghanistan stability, Gen Bajwa says

He says despite limited resources, country is trying its best to export peace to its neighbours in the west

Gulf News

ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has said that Pakistan’s lasting domestic peace hinges on peace and stability in Afghanistan.

According to details given here by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) late on Saturday, Gen Bajwa was speaking at Munich Security Conference where he gave Pakistan’s perspective on global and regional security.

He said despite limited resources, Pakistan is trying its best to export peace to its neighbours in the west. He said Pakistan and Afghanistan are sovereign countries and both countries have a right to peace and progress.

“However, this will only be possible if our respective soils are not used against each other,” he said. Gen Bajwa said Pakistan still has nearly 2.7 million Afghan refugees, whose concentrations are routinely used by TTA and Haqqani network to recruit, morph and melt. It is time for these refugees to be repatriated with dignity. It is the only way, we can ensure that no one is misusing our hospitality and soil for mischief in Afghanistan. This is possible at a fraction of the cost of war in Afghanistan, which is currently around $46 billion per year.”

He said Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan is highly porous and it (Pakistan) has unilaterally taken many steps to ensure proper management of this border. We raised tens of new border specific units, built hundreds of new border surveillance forts and have started the process of fencing 2,300 kilometres of the border. We are putting scanners and biometric scanners at border terminals to ensure that while common Afghans are facilitated, miscreants and terrorists are prevented or arrested, he added.

He said Pakistan is fully committed to the international consensus that political reconciliation is the only solution to the Afghan issue. “While we are actively supporting the new US strategy in the region, based primarily on kinetic approach, we are not leaving any stone unturned to try and do our best in bringing the parties of the conflict to the negotiating table,” he said.