War on terror cost Pakistan $123 billion: DGMO

goog_924736457 APR 4TH, 2018
In a first ever public appearance, Director General Military Operations (DGMO) Major General Sahir Shamshad Mirza said on Tuesday that Pakistan turned the tide against terrorism at a monumental human and socio-economic cost of over $123 billion and over 76,000 casualties. Speaking at a conference tiled “1st Islamabad International Counter Terrorism Forum (1ICTF-2018),” organized by National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), the general said: “More than financial or material assistance, Pakistan seeks continued understanding, support and acknowledgement for its efforts and sacrifices.”

The three-day conference was kicked off with an aim to highlight Pakistan’s endeavors and achievements in the war against terror.

The DGMO while speaking on ‘Pakistan Fights Back; Operative and Tactical Measures to Combat Terrorism’ said the country sincerely believes in ‘region’s shared development since regions develop together.’ “Pakistan’s generational struggle against terrorism spanning over decades focuses on terrorists of all hues and colors, with an aim towards a normalized Pakistan,” he added.

As the nation looks forward to a more peaceful and prosperous future, he said, Pakistan continues to fight a relentless counterterrorism campaign. “Through world’s largest counterterrorism deployment by a single country – surging from 20,000 troops in 2001 to over 202,000 at present – we have eliminated organized terrorist presence and infrastructure from our soil,” he added.

He admitted that despite defeat and dislocation, terrorists and their foreign sponsors still retain scattered presence, adding for Pakistan it’s a generational struggle against terrorism under a deliberately conceived operation Radd-ul-Fasaad currently underway to root out residual traces aimed at realizing the concept of a normalized Pakistan.

General Mirza said that among the martyred, over 5,700 were military personal and over 18,000 got injured with highest ever 1:12 officer to soldier ratio. He further said about 483 potential terrorist attacks were averted, including 53 percent in Balochistan. Security forces recovered over 360 tons of explosive material, which could have been enough to be used for another 17 years.

Mirza said that after years of devastation Pakistan is moving towards peace. “Situation has reverted from hopelessness to hope. There is an increased sense of hope and anticipation now,” he further said.

He said that in the year 2008 a comprehensive national response was devised to cope with the menace of terrorism. He presented complete details of various operations launched by Pakistan Army, including Operation Rah-e-Rast (launched in 2009) Operation Rah-e-Nijat (followed by Rah-e-Rast), Operation Zarb-e-Azb (launched in 2013) and the ongoing operation Radd-ul-Fasaad.

He said that all these operations were launched to deal with anti-state elements and crush terrorism. He said that Pakistan got tremendous successes through these indiscriminate and effective operations and the result is that peace and stability are returning to the country.

He expressed concern over the presence of Daesh in Afghanistan, stating that the presence of terrorists there is having a direct influence on Pakistan’s security. He said Pakistan has taken a number of steps for effective management of the Pak-Afghan border.

He said that 73 wings of the Frontier Constabulary are being raised for the effective management of the Pak-Afghan border, adding, “Of which, 29 wings have already been set up. This will help in transfer of authority from the military to the semi-military setup.”

He said that Pakistan Army is also engaged in construction of 750 border forts, besides Pakistan has begun fencing of 2,611 kilometers-long porous border. The DGMO said that Pakistan Army is assisting the government in the implementation of National Action Plan (NAP).

President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Sardar Masood Khan said that post 9/11 trust deficit continues to overshadow the relationship between Pakistan and the United States, even though Pakistan has been the biggest victim of terrorism. Despite being an uphill task, Pakistan has been successful in fighting the scourge of terrorism and eliminating extremist outfits within its territory. He added that the relationship between Pakistan and the US took another slump after President Trump came into power in 2016.

In the ongoing war on terror, the President said Pakistan has become the United States’ greatest non-NATO ally and has worked together with the US in fighting terrorist elements. Pakistan has over the years in its fight against terrorism incurred massive human and financial losses. This led to a considerable loss in developmental activity and Pakistan was denied of economic opportunities, as it is being projected as an insecure country, he said.

Pakistan in the years after the 9/11 event had entered into numerous strategic commitments with the US spanning areas like defense, security, non-proliferation, energy, restructuring the economy and education. Even though the US spent over a trillion dollars in its war in Afghanistan, Pakistan was given only $33 billion out of which $14 billion were reimbursed as costs incurred by Pakistan, $11 billion as economic aid and $8 billion for security related matters.

The President said that even before the tragic 9/11 event, Pakistan was going through a turbulent phase in which it faced numerous sanctions from the West. All the while, Pakistan was in dialogue with the then Afghan government to ensure regional stability and to further political and social prosperity within Afghanistan.

Speaking on the recent Indian military operation in Shopian, Indian Occupied Kashmir, leading to the martyrdom of over 17 innocent Kashmiris, the President said that such killings have become a routine especially after the martyrdom of Burhan Wani. He said that under India’s draconian black laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act, 700,000 Indian troops have been empowered to commit such war crimes with impunity. He said Kashmiris are being murdered, harassed, illegally incarcerated and targeted with lethal pellet guns on daily basis. He added the womenfolk are also not safe as Indian forces have been using sexual violence and rape as an instrument of war.

“Kashmiri freedom movement will neither fall a victim to the intimidation nor to the political and economic blandishments of India. This indigenous unarmed movement will remain unfazed in the face of Indian aggression,” he said.

President Masood Khan said that international community has not bothered to even pay lip service to the atrocities happening in the IOK. He said that due to lucrative economical and strategic ties with the West, India has been given a freehand. He said that India has deceptively convinced the West that it will be able to play a role in slowing down the growing economic influence of China in the region. That is why, he said, India is trying to make the CPEC project controversial.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2018


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