LONDON/RAWALPINDI - Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif has stressed the need for regional peace and better ties with India, urging negotiations between both the countries on an equal level.

Speaking at International Institute for Strategic Studies in London on Friday, General Raheel Sharif emphasised on the settlement of Kashmir dispute for establishing long-term peace in the region.

He said that Pakistan was now focusing on war against terrorism which was aimed at uprooting extremism from the country very soon.

Gen Raheel said that National Action Plan (NAP) was a comprehensive long-term strategy to address extremism and terrorism in the country with the government doing best for its implementation.

The army chief said the ongoing military operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan against terrorists was making good progress.

The COAS said that there were no favourites, all terrorists of any kind were being hit, according to ISPR Director General Maj Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa’s tweet on social media.

Gen Raheel said that the relations with Afghanistan were improving, adding “We are working for stability in the region.”

He said that longstanding Kashmir issue has to be resolved for long-term peace, stability in the region, Pakistan wants peace, but with dignity and honour. He said that the world needs to understand our environment. “Our cooperation with United Kingdom (UK) in security and social sector is growing.”

About return of Temporarily Displaced Persons (TDPs) from North Wazirastan Agency, the army chief said the world should help in dignified resettlement of TDPs.

Earlier, during his visit to Royal Military Academy and Royal College of Defence Studies in London, the army chief said that the Peshawar massacre has united the whole nation, adding the political and military leaders of the country were working together against terrorism.

During his visit to London’s Royal Military Academy, the army chief met Pakistani cadets under training at the academy.

General Raheel urged Pakistani cadets to become team leaders and to bring honour to the country. General Raheel also visited Royal College of Defence Studies and presented Pakistan’s stance on security challenges and terrorism. He said Pakistan was determined to work against terrorism.

The Pakistani High Commission in London also held a reception in the army chief’s honour in which British Defence Minister Michael Falcon, members of parliament Lord Tariq Mehmood, Saeeda Warsi, Lord Nazir Ahmad, Khalid Mehmood and members of European parliament Dr Sajjad Kareem and Amjad Bashir and leaders of local Pakistani community participated.

In his address to the reception ceremony, General Raheel said the entire nation has united after the Peshawar massacre, one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the country that left 150 dead including 132 schoolchildren.

He said the operation against the terrorists was continuing and that several areas have been cleansed of terrorists. The army chief said that Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan were improving and that Pakistan’s political and military leaders were working together to root out terrorism from the country.

The Pakistani community congratulated the army chief on successful UK visit.

2,000 TERRORISTS KILLED IN

ZARB-E-AZB SO FAR

Director General Inter Services Public Relations Maj Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa has reiterated the Army’s resolve to ensure writ of the state in Bajaur and North Waziristan agencies at all costs by wiping out terrorists.

Addressing a think-tank of Royal United Services Institute in the United Kingdom, he said effective military operations are under way in these agencies to purge the areas of terrorists.

He said the security forces have so far killed 2,000 terrorists in North Waziristan Agency while 200 soldiers embraced martyrdom in operation Zarb-e-Azb and 800 others sustained injuries.

The ISPR director general said the army chief has clearly directed to carry out operation against terrorists without any discrimination.

Bajwa said even the United Nations has acknowledged the achievements of Pakistan Army against terrorists in the operation Zarb-e-Azb.