Pak concerned over 'massive arms acquisitions' in region


"We are a peaceful nation with no aggressive designs. However, we are concerned at massive arms acquisitions in the region," Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said, addressing a parade at the military academy in Kakul to mark Pakistan's Independence Day.

Though Kayani did not name the nations involved in arms acquisitions, India is the only country in the region that has concluded several big-ticket weapons deals in the past few years.

India also launched its first atomic-powered submarine last month, giving a significant boost to its nuclear deterrence capabilities.

While emphasising that no extremist or terrorist would be allowed to impose his "distorted version of Islam through violent means, Kayani said no attempt to impose a "pure military solution" would succeed.

Apparently referring to the ongoing operations against militants, he said the ultimate objective must be "to reconcile and reunite and not to divide and destroy."

Kayani assured the country that "we will preserve our azadi (independence) with honour and dignity and from a position of strength".

Pakistan and its identity are based on the "two-nation theory" and Islam is the "soul and spirit" of the country, Kayani said.

"We are and shall always remain the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Inshallah," he said.
Kayani said Pakistan's current fight is against extremism and terrorism. "This is not a fight based on religion, ethnicity, sub-nationalism or provincialism."

"Within a span of four months, a complex military operation was conducted and concluded to establish the writ of the government," he said, referring to the operations against the Taliban in Swat and other parts of Malakand.

However, Kayani cautioned against "absolute notions" in the campaign against terrorism.

"Let it be clear that there is no notion of absolute victory in this struggle. Attempts to impose a pure military solution, through brute application of military force, is a dangerous and destructive proposition," he said.

"Use of force should be the last resort and to the extent necessary to achieve peace, security and stability. This is our country, our motherland and the ultimate objective must be to reconcile and unite and not to divide and destroy,” he added.

Over 300 soldiers were killed and more than 900 others wounded during the campaign. A total of 38 officers and junior commissioned officers were among the dead. The operations also displaced over 2.5 million people.

Most of the displaced people have returned to their homes due to a comprehensive and integrated approach adopted by the government and the armed forces, Gilani said.

He said a terrorist has no caste, creed and religion. "He (the terrorist) respects no boundaries and has no nationality. Extremists are those who have blinded themselves in a self-righteous mode and are not amenable to reason and logic," he said.

"When this small majority resorts to coercion, through terror and violence, to impose their will on the majority, they turn into terrorists," he said, adding that the 170 million people of Pakistan "will not bow down to this handful of extremists".

Last year, Kayani began the tradition of holding the "Azadi Parade" shortly after midnight at the Pakistan Military Academy.

The event was attended by senior military officers, their families and next of kin of those killed in the anti-militancy operations.

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