ISLAMABAD: Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has said the army is fully prepared to give a befitting response to any misadventure from the eastern border and there is no possibility of the adversary catching Pakistan unawares.
Responding to questions raised by members of the Senate standing committee on defence during a briefing at the General Headquarters, he said that India’s cold start doctrine based on hegemonic designs had not been taken lightly and the armed forces were capable of responding to the challenge and safeguarding the country’s geographical frontiers.
According to a participant, Gen Kayani said Pakistan had played an important role in the global war on terror and remained committed to combating the menace. But he added, long-term national interests would never be sacrificed on someone else’s short-term interests.
The Senate committee recently received briefings at the naval and air headquarters, but this was possibly its first meeting at the GHQ.
Director-General Military Operations Maj-Gen Javed Iqbal gave a detailed briefing to the committee on the role functions and organisation of GHQ, the state of preparedness in the wake of internal and external threats and counter-insurgency operations in the NWFP and Fata.
Gen Kayani made some brief remarks which were followed by a question answer session.
Although most of the members praised the army’s role in combating terrorism, according to sources, some of them expressed concerns over what they called an extension of the US-led war on terror and said that Pakistan was paying a heavy price for it.
The sources said that Prof Khursheed Ahmed of Jamaat-i-Islami said that time had come for Pakistan to review its policy on cooperating with the US in the war on terror.
Some members said there was a perception that the operations in the NWFP and Fata had been launched under US pressure.
They were of the view that steps should be taken to consolidate the gains.
The members asked questions about the future scenario in Afghanistan, the US troops surge, Pak-US relations and external threats faced by Pakistan. They observed that the army’s requirements should be fully met at this juncture to enhance its capacity to protect national security interests. They promised to raise the issue in the Senate.
The committee headed by Lt-Gen (retd) Javed Ashraf Qazi comprises Senators Waqar Ahmad Khan, Faisal Raza Abidi, Mian Raza Rabbani, Sardar Ali Khan, Maulana Mohammad Khan Shirani, Haji Mohammad Adeel, Raja Muhammad Zafarul Haq, Jan Mohammad Jamali, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Prof Khursheed Ahmed.
Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar is ex-officio member of the committee.