Islamabad: Describing Kashmir as Pakistan's "lifeline", Army chief General Raheel Sharif has said the true solution of the Kashmir issue lies not in "raining bullets" upon people in the Valley but in "heeding" to their voices and respecting their aspirations.
"The true solution for this struggle for self-determination resides not in raining bullets upon the defenceless Kashmiri people but in heeding to their voice and respecting their aspirations. Kashmir issue can only be resolved by implementing the UN Resolutions," he said during a ceremony marking 'Defence Day' in Rawalpindi on Tuesday.
Kashmir is Pakistan's lifeline, and "we shall continue our diplomatic and moral support to the freedom movement at all levels," Raheel said. Backing the demand for self-determination in Kashmir, he said the "oppressed people" of the Valley are once again suffering "worst form of state terrorism" and "repression" for demanding their due rights.
In a pointed reference to India without naming it, he said Pakistan was aware of conspiracies. "We are fully aware of all covert and overt intrigues and intentions of our enemies. Be the challenge military or diplomatic, be the danger on the borders or within the cities, we know our friends and foes all too well. We know well how to abide by bonds of friendship and how to avenge upon our enemies," Raheel said.
Pakistani armed forces are fully capable to defend Pakistan in conventional and non-conventional warfare, and in any internal or external threat, he said. "Pakistan's defence had been strong in the past but now it is impregnable," Raheel said, adding that Pakistan wants good relations with all the neighbouring countries on the basis of equality and mutual respect.
He said the key to regional peace is balance of power. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is the symbol of mutual respect for countries, which will ensure progress not only in Pakistan but also in the entire region, Raheel said.
He said the security and timely completion of CPEC is the national duty, and no power will be allowed to disrupt it. The army chief said Pakistan has been sincerely playing its role for peace in Afghanistan as peaceful Afghanistan is in the best interest of Pakistan. Effective border management with Afghanistan is a priority of Pakistan, which will help in achieving the goal of durable peace.
"Some opportunistic elements are trying to create an environment of distrust, but they will not succeed," he said. Referring to terrorism in Pakistan, Raheel said the right of state has been established across the country as a result of over 19,000 military operations against terrorists.
Federal Ministers, parliamentarians, the services chiefs, ambassadors, and other prominent personalities attended Defence Day ceremony which is observed to mark the 1965 war with India.