Army chief General Qamar Bajwa has reiterated that mainstreaming of the Federally Administered Tribal Agencies (FATA) is essential for long-lasting peace in the region.
“Our focus now is to transform our operational achievements in FATA into enduring peace and stability for which early mainstreaming of FATA through reforms is essential,” the army chief was quoted as saying by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Wednesday. “Pakistan Army fully supports all efforts towards that end.”
The COAS visited Peshawar Corps Headquarters, where he was given a detailed briefing on situation along the Pak-Afghan border, continuing and future operations, progress on development works and return of TDPs.
The federal Cabinet had approved in March the recommendations of the Fata reforms committee which, besides other things, envisages merger of Fata with adjoining Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa over the next five years.
The Cabinet also decided to repeal the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), the most controversial set of laws introduced by the colonial power in 1901, and replace it with the Rewaj Regulation for Tribal Areas through an act of Parliament.
The army chief said the tribal brothers have enabled its security forces to succeed during the operations, and now it was time for them to live a fearless and quality social life as citizens of Pakistan.
“Pakistan Army shall continue its efforts to consolidate gains achieved thus far,” the military’s media wing said, adding that “army stands with all other institutions to get Pakistan rid of menaces retarding its progress and prosperity.”
He appreciated improved security situation and measures for better border management, including fencing.
The COAS expressed satisfaction on operational readiness of the formations, and asked them to stay vigilant against all types of threats.
Regarding the country’s relations with Afghanistan, he said, “We consider Afghanistan as a brotherly neighbour and terrorists are our common enemy. The threat thus requires a trust based coordinated response rather than blame game or unwarranted skirmishes.”
Gen Qamar also commented on Tuesday’s drone strike that allegedly killed a senior militant commander in the country’s north.
“The COAS said unilateral actions like drone strikes are counterproductive and against spirit of ongoing cooperation and intelligence sharing being diligently undertaken by Pakistan,” the ISPR said. “Pakistan Army is capable of taking effective measure if actionable intelligence is shared.”
A senior commander of a militant group allied with the Afghan Taliban was killed in the strike in an area on the confluence of borders between Hangu district of K-P and Orakzai and North Waziristan tribal regions.