Terrorists of all hue and colour defeated: Bajwa

ISLAMABAD -  As the United States presses Pakistan to dismantle the terror networks allegedly hiding in the tribal belt, army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Tuesday said that the forces had defeated the “terrorists of all hues and colours” in the troubled areas.

Pakistan, he said, was now going after their “disorganised residual presence under Operation Raddul Fasaad [elimination of discord].”

A military statement issued here quoted the army chief as saying that Pakistan and Sri Lanka were “probably the only two countries, which understand what it takes to defeat the menace of terrorism.”

Bajwa’s words come after Pakistan and the US resumed talks this week.

The US Acting Assistant Secretary of State Ambassador Alice Wells was in Islamabad on January 15 and 16 to hold talks with Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua in a bid to discuss the bilateral cooperation, – mainly in the anti-terror war, —- after a lengthy war of words between the uneasy allies.

Wells said Pakistan’s support was critical to the success of the US strategy for Afghanistan. A US embassy statement on Tuesday said Alice Wells urged Pakistan to address the continuing presence of the Haqqani network and other terrorist groups within its territory.

She underlined that the “US seeks to move toward[s] a new relationship with Pakistan, based on our mutual interest in realising a stable and prosperous region.”

Wells emphasised the US south Asia strategy represented an opportunity to work together for the establishment of a stable, peaceful Afghanistan, the defeat of the ISIS in south Asia, and the elimination of terrorist groups that threaten both Pakistan and the US, the statement said.

Last week, Bajwa had told the US Central Command chief General Joseph Votel that Pakistan would not seek resumption of the US security aid, suspended by President Donald Trump in December. The army chief said Pakistan expected recognition of “our contributions, sacrifices and unwavering resolve in fight against terrorism for peace and stability in the region.” The army chief said the US must stop making Pakistan “scapegoat.”

Earlier, US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford said that military-to-military dialogue between the two countries was the right approach to improve the Pak-US ties. The top US general said that he was not “giving up” on improving ties with Pakistan.

He said: “Do we agree on everything right now? No, we don’t. But are we committed to more effective relationship with Pakistan? We are, and I am not giving up on that.”

Speaking to journalists in Brussels, General Dunford said: “I am committed to try to improve the relationship, and I do believe a military-to-military dialogue led by [General Joseph Votel, commander of US Central Command] with occasional reinforcement by [Secretary of Defense Jim] Mattis, myself and others, is the right approach.”

The Pakistan military statement said General Bajwa had arrived in Sri Lanka on Tuesday on a two-day official visit on the invitation from his counterpart. The army chief held meetings with the Sri Lankan military leadership including the chief of defence staff, and the chiefs of all the three services.

It said Gen Bajwa was given guards of honour in all three service headquarters. General Bajwa also visited the Command and Staff College Sri Lanka and interacted with the faculty and the staff.

“The Sri Lankan leadership expressed their gratitude and appreciation for Pakistan’s unequivocal moral and material support during Sri Lanka’s successful war on terror. They also appreciated successes of [the] Pakistan Army in [the] ongoing war on terror,” the statement added.

During the meetings, it said, “various new initiatives and ongoing projects were discussed to improve the existing defence ties between the two brotherly countries.”

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Pakistan welcomed the talks between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea. A foreign ministry statement said Pakistan hoped that “this new phase of talks between the two sides would help to ease tensions in the Korean Peninsula and the goodwill generated by the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics would lead to lasting peace, prosperity, stability, reconciliation and cooperation in the region.”

The statement said Pakistan had always encouraged the RoK and DPRK to resume “meaningful negotiations and supported all efforts for smooth reunification of the Korean Peninsula including the two summits between [the] North and [the] South Korea in June 2000 and 2007.”

The statement added: “It has been Pakistan’s consistent position that all relevant parties should comply with their international obligations, pursue the path of dialogue and diplomacy to reduce tensions, and work towards achieving a comprehensive solution.”


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