Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani paid a rare visit to the insurgency-hit Dera Bugti district in Balochistan on Friday where he dismissed allegations of army conducting an operation in the province.
He called upon the nationalist tribesmen to join development efforts launched by the government and reap “peace” dividends.
Speaking at the Sui Military College, Gen. Kayani brushed aside charges of military excesses against Baloch nationalists and categorically stated that not even a single soldier was involved in any operation in Balochistan.
General Kayani said the (paramilitary) Frontier Corps and police were dealing with the law and order situation. Baloch youth took up arms in 2006 when former military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf launched an army operation in the area and killed former governor Nawab Akbar Bugti.
The army chief highlighted the positive role the army had been playing in the socio-economic development of the province. Over 20,000 Baloch students were enrolled in the army and Frontier Corps-run education institutions, including cadet schools, medical colleges, mining institutes and others, he said.
During the past three years, Baloch representation in the army has been raised from 1.7 per cent to 3.5 per cent. The army chief reiterated Baloch integration by citing that over 12,000 soldiers from Balochistan had been recruited in the Pakistan Army. Currently, 760 Baloch officers are serving in the army, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch said that although Balochistan was passing through a critical juncture, it was the government’s resolve to steer the province out of the crisis.
“I appeal to all warring tribes and disgruntled Baloch who left Dera Bugti to set aside their differences and play their role in the province’s development,” he said. — firstname.lastname@example.org
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