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The US drone strike in Balochistan is counterproductive in consolidating the gains of Operation Zarb-e-Azb: Army Chief  

Commander Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan General John Nicholson and US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard Olson called on Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif in Rawalpindi today. Regional Security Situation, with particular reference to border management and peace and stability in Afghanistan in the post-21 May US drone strike environment   came under discussion. Expressing his serious concern on the US drone strike in Balochistan as a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty, the army chief highlighted as to how it had impacted the mutual trust and respect and was counterproductive in consolidating the gains of Operation Zarb-e-Azb. General Raheel Sharif said all efforts for durable peace in the region have to be synergized with shared commitment and responsibility in order to make them successful. He said that while Operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched against terrorists of all hues and sanctuaries of terrorists have been dismantled without discrimination, all stakeholders need to understand Pakistan's challenges with regard to porous border, inter-tribal linkages and decades-old presence of over three million refugees. Blaming Pakistan for instability in Afghanistan is unfortunate. Raising the demand of targeting TTP and Mullah Fazlullah in their bases in Afghanistan, the army chief reiterated Pakistan's resolve not to allow hostile intelligence agencies' efforts, especially RAW and NDS, of fomenting terrorism. Chief of Army Staff reaffirmed the need for continuing harmonized efforts against terrorists and effective border management as ways to regional peace and stability. He said Pakistan is committed to work for a long term peace process for Afghanistan under the Quadrilateral Coordination Group framework. 

CPEC opens up an opportunity for the development of less developed regions of the country especially Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan

The CPEC will not only solve the problems faced due to transportation and communication but will also diversify the source of income for the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. It will also enhance socioeconomic integration of Gilgit-Baltistan with the rest of the country by giving it a primary role in the vital CPEC project. The CPEC will also pass through the restive provinces of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and Baluchistan. The CPEC can perform a critical function in conflict management in these areas. As poverty is one of the main drivers, if not the prime driver of militancy, development induced by CPEC will go a long way in minimizing it. The CPEC could revolutionize the existing socio-economic setting of Baluchistan by dramatically altering its communication & transport sector and revamping its infrastructure. The CPEC is intended not only to make available to China, the shortest energy supply route from Africa and the Middle East but to also augment trade and cooperation domestically. The Gwadar port ultimately will offer China an entry point into the Arabian Gulf and consequently widen its geopolitical influence.            

Analysts

Dr. Muhammad Khan (Defense Analyst): 

“Pak-Afghan relations have been affected because of the US drone strike in Balochistan. Pakistan actively participated in Heart of Asia conference and Istanbul Conference to make the Afghan peace process successful. Pakistan has always made sincere efforts to bring peace in its war torn neighbor. However, the US action has compromised the whole process. All the proceedings were stopped after the drone attack in which Taliban Ameer Mullah Mansour was killed. Sartaj Aziz and COAS have conveyed a strong message to the United States and warned that such incidents will not be tolerated again. This drone attack was an attack on integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan. The army chief reiterated Pakistan's resolve not to allow hostile intelligence agencies' efforts, especially RAW and NDS, of fomenting terrorism in the country. Pakistan being a responsible nuclear state has every right to become member of Nuclear Suppliers Group. China has conveyed a message that if India gets the membership of NSG then Pakistan should also be the member of this group.”

Shams Mir (Advisor to CM Gilgit-Baltistan): “Pakistan will get exemplary benefits after completion of the western route of China Pakistan Economic Corridor and life style of the people of these areas will definitely improve. China Pakistan Economic Corridor project will also promote and improve the regional connectivity. Gilgit-Baltistan will also be benefited through this mega project. Tourism sector in the province will get a new boost. Revenue will also be generated after the establishment of toll plazas in the province. Economic zones will be established that will result in creating job opportunities for the people. The people of Gilgit-Baltistan have always supported such projects and we are providing information regarding the progress on CPEC to the people.”


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