‘Pakistan’s armed forces far better today than ’65, ’71’

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KARACHI: Pakistan’s armed forces are far superior today than in the wars of 1965 and 1971, panelists at breakfast meeting organised by the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) observed on Friday.

“Our armed forces are second to none in fighting militants and have proven themselves far better than many western armies fighting Islamic State and other militant factions without much success in the Middle East,” President of Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Association (Pesa) Lt-Gen (retd) Ali Kuli Khan said at the meeting held in Karachi.

According to Gen Khan, the command of Pakistan Army is in professional hands today. “There is line of senior officers capable of taking command from the present chief to carry on their legacy to future generation,” he said.

Talking about the fall of East Pakistan in 1971, the Pesa president said holding the army alone responsible for the debacle is unfair. “I don’t want to start a blame game but the war in East Pakistan was lost before it began… it was lost for political reasons,” he said.

He added that even the then army chief of the Indian army praised Pakistani forces and admitted that the latter faced the overwhelming strength of 16 to one in India’s favour.

Gen Khan also hit out at Pakistani leaders who have robbed the nation blind through rampant corruption. He said government servants, both uniformed and non-uniformed, were now chasing these leaders who have left Pakistan in a state beyond repair.

Shuja Nawaz, the author of ‘Crossed Swords’, a well-researched history of the Pakistan Army, praised the army of today at the meeting as well.  He said instead of relying on theoretical text books, real-life experience is being shared with new recruits by battle-hardened instructors. Their interaction is producing excellent results, he added.

CPNE Secretary General Dr Jabbar Khattak said the army has been playing a positive role in Pakistan in addition to their duties on border. “This has impacted our country’s history both inside and outside Pakistan,” he said.

Defence analyst Ikram Sehgal also praised the army and rangers, saying they had done an exceedingly good job in Karachi. “After 2008 there is a tremendous change in army’s achievements. No army has got success against militants in the world with all their vast resources like Pakistan Armed Forces,” he said. “This momentum must carry on into future,” he added.

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