ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Pakistan’s new Army Chief General Syed Asim Munir on Saturday said the military was ready to defend “every inch of our motherland” if attacked, according to sources.
He made the remarks during a visit to the Line of Control (LoC), which divides the disputed Kashmir region claimed by both Pakistan and neighboring India.
“Let me make it categorically clear, Pakistan’s armed forces are ever ready, not only to defend every inch of our motherland, but to take the fight back to the enemy if ever war is imposed on us,” he said, according to a statement from the military’s media wing.
“Indian state will never be able to achieve her nefarious designs,” he added, as CNA quoted.
The two South Asian nuclear powers claim the Kashmir region in full, but rule only parts, and have fought two of their three wars over the area, the report said.
Both sides often accuse each other of breaching a 2003 ceasefire pact by shelling and firing across the LoC, a 740km de facto border that cuts Kashmir into two.
Since early 2021, the LoC has been mostly quiet, following the renewal of a ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan.
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On November 29, Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa retired after completing a six-year tenure as head of country’s all-powerful military. General Syed Asim Munir was appointed for the position.
“Under the leadership of General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the army demonstrated exemplary services in effectively dealing with various challenges, including the country’s exclusion from the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) Grey List, COVID-19 pandemic, and the recent flashfloods,” the PM office said in a statement.
“You had the honor of leading the best army in the world,” he added as quoted by the Arab News.
In an interview published in an international media outlet on Sunday, Bajwa reiterated the army’s resolve to remain apolitical and – in an apparent reference to former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party – said that a campaign had been launched against the armed forces because it refused to intervene in politics.
“Despite some criticism and undue vilification of the armed forces through mass propaganda and meticulously crafted false narratives, the institutional resolve to remain apolitical will remain steadfast,” the outgoing army chief said in the interview, as Arab News reported.
“I am certain that this political quarantine of the armed forces will auger well for Pakistan in the long term by fostering political stability and strengthening the army-to-people bond.”
The army has ruled Pakistan for almost half of its 75-year history either through coups or as an invisible guiding hand in politics.