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May 21, 2013

People voted to defeat misguided minority: Kayani

World

A
Agencies
May 21, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Monday said the nation withstood the threat of terrorism and defied the unfounded dictates of an insignificant and misguided minority by actively participating in the general elections.
“In these elections, the people of Pakistan not only courageously withstood the threat of terrorism, they also defied the unfounded dictates of an insignificant and misguided minority,” said Gen Kayani while addressing the Counter Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IEDs) International Symposium on ‘Saving Lives by defeating IEDs’ at the General Headquarters (GHQ) here.
Senate Chairman Nayyar Hussain Bokhari and seven other speakers, including senior army officials of the US and the UK, also spoke on the occasion.Gen Kayani said in the May 11 elections, the people amply demonstrated that as a nation they could withstand any challenge.
He said Pakistanis were peace-loving people and an overwhelming majority of them was moderate, resilient and extraordinarily hardworking.“As a nation, our commitment to moderation, prosperity and rule of law is total and unwavering. We have the resolve and a firm belief to overcome challenges towards attainment of these goals,” he maintained.
Gen Kayani said one of the challenges facing the nation was terrorism, and in fighting this menace they shared the experience of many other nations.“We have a rich experience of dealing with and succeeding against a faceless enemy that employs highly innovative means of destruction. In pursuit of global peace, we have to respond to this enemy equally and innovatively while always staying a step ahead,” he said.
The Army chief observed that threat and impact of these weapons — IEDs — was not Pakistan-specific rather these had caused devastation at both regional and global levels.“These have been used with unfortunate consistency in Iraq and Afghanistan and thankfully, somewhat inconsistently, in other

countries of the world,” he said.
He pointed out that the recent Boston bombings involving use of homemade IEDs manifested the international dimension of this threat and served as a stark reminder that even the most developed nations of the world remained vulnerable to this threat.
General Kayani said factors like prompt availability, ease of manufacture, low production cost, innovative use and resultant devastating effects had made the IEDs a weapon of choice for terrorists and their use had unfortunately gained wider currency.
He said Pakistan had taken significant policy initiatives to counter the IED threat. Aware of the seriousness of this threat, Pakistan Army is leading the drive to create a pragmatic, cost-effective and efficient C-IED Strategy, he added.
“This strategy aims at creating awareness, assisting legislation, adopting best practices from across the world, suitably equipping the forces and effectively training them. The strategy thus aims at developing a proactive, rather than a reactive response at the national level,” he said.
He said Pakistan had also taken other measures to counter the IED threat like tightening control on sale and distribution of Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN), but this was just one precursor of IEDs as there were dozens other which remained readily available.
He said being an agricultural country Pakistan was heavily dependent on fertilizers. He said 5 percent of fertilizers used in the agricultural sector of Pakistan were based on CAN. However, General Kayani said as Pakistan had tightened control on the sale and distribution of CAN, terrorists simply switched to other precursors like Potassium Chlorate, not produced in Pakistan.
He observed that Pakistan was not the only country producing CAN rather other countries in the region also produced it which had a higher degree of nitrogen content than what Pakistani CAN possessed.
For example, he said, Ammonium Nitrate produced in certain regional countries had 34-35% of nitrogen content as opposed to 26% contained in the Pakistani product.“This clearly reflects the necessity of an approach which is comprehensive in terms of involving all countries of the region, covering the complete range of possible hazardous materials and mitigating the effects of policy restrictions on the common man,” he said.
He was hopeful that with the support and collaboration of international community, Pakistan and the region would overcome the menace of IEDs.General Kayani also proposed the formation of a Regional Military C-IED Forum supported by a wider international forum to benefit from the experiences of all countries involved.
“I hope this proposal would receive a serious consideration from the participants and their countries,” he said.He also paid tribute to Pakistan Army’s ‘Shuhada’ and their families without whose sacrifices, he said, they would not be where they were today.
“I would also ask you to remember all the victims of IEDs in Pakistan, as well as those who have suffered in other countries of the world,” he said.He said the symposium had provided a forum to 28 participant countries to sit together and seriously debate the issue and find solutions to the problem.
Senate Chairman Nayyar Hussain Bokhari said the government would leave no stone unturned to address the menace of IEDs. He said Pakistani soldiers, personnel of paramilitary forces and civilians had given numerous sacrifices in the fight against terrorism.
In his welcome address, Chief of General Staff (CGS) Lt Gen Rashid Mehmood threw light on the purpose, theme, scope and format of the symposium.
DG Military Operations (DGMO) Major General Ashfaq Nadeem Ahmad talked about the IED threat spectrum, sufferings from IEDs, significance of “Whole of Nation Approach”, Pakistan/Pakistan Army’s C-IED strategy, follow in efforts, challenges and future plans to meet the IED threat.
He said so far more than 51,000 people at national level had lost their lives in blasts caused by IEDs since the start of war against terrorism.
Chairman C-IED Organization, Maj. Gen. Sohail Hafeez discussed the menace of IED and Pakistan Army’s efforts towards countering this threat. He also talked about the hidden trauma, nature and type of casualties and rehabilitation challenges.
Caretaker Minister for Law and renowned legal expert Ahmed Bilal Soofi dilated on contemporary legal practices, prosecution challenges and legal framework models to counter the IED threat.
Deputy Director for Operations/Intelligence Integration, Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, US, Brig. Gen. Roberts P. Walters Jr. shared the US experience on countering the IED threat.
In his presentation, Director Battlefield Manoeuvre and Master General of Ordnance Major General Nick Pope of the British Army looked at international efforts to counter IEDs and sharing of the best practices, especially focusing on lead nations’ C-IED models (USA, UK and Australia).
Over 170 participants of the day-long symposium included 60 foreign diplomats, armed forces’ officials from the US, the UK and other countries, law enforcement agencies officials and representatives from academia, industry, private sector, defence experts, members of local and international media.