Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif on Wednesday described the US drone strikes inside Pakistan’s territory as “regrettable” and called for immediate cessation of attacks, saying the attacks are violations of Pakistan’s sovereignty.
“US drone strikes in Pakistani territory are regrettable and must stop,” said General Raheel in a rare but informal chat with reporters at a reception at Parliament House after attending President Mamnoon Hussain’s address to a joint session of the Parliament.
He was present at the session marking the start of the new parliamentary year along with the navy and air force chiefs. The Army Chief, in a recent meeting with US ambassador, also expressed serious concerns over the drone strike in Balochistan.
According to ISPR’s statement, the Army Chief conveyed to the US envoy that the drone attack, which was a violation of sovereignty, was detrimental to the Pak-US ties and regional stability and damaged peace efforts.
Speaking about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), General Sharif said that it is a national project and must be completed at any cost. About the ongoing counter-terrorism operations, he said that the operation Zarb-e-Azb is under way across the country, adding “failure is not an option in this war against terrorists”.
He further said that counter-terrorism operations will be completed at any cost and also lauded the sacrifices and efforts of the security forces in eradicating the menace of terrorism from the country. He said the successes gained in operations so far would be consolidated.
He also vowed to maintain victories of the operation Zarb-e-Azb, saying “terrorists will not be allowed to re-enter into areas cleared in South and North Waziristan agencies.” Referring to the ongoing intelligence-based operations in Karachi and Balochistan, he said the security situations are improving in both the provincial capitals.
On the occasion, the army chief and the President also discussed issues of national security. The reception was also attended by Jamat-e-Islami chief Senator Sirajul Haq, Akram Durrani of JUI-F, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and cabinet ministers, including Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. –Business Recorder