Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa Friday said Pakistan’s sincere efforts in Afghan peace process are aimed at establishment of a region that is peaceful and prosperous. “We have consistently made it clear to the international community that it must play a role in finding a peaceful solution to Afghanistan,” the army chief said while addressing the faculty and cadets at the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) Kakul. He noted that Pakistan paid a heavy price for unrest in Afghanistan. Despite its economic woes, Pakistan had sheltered more than three million Afghan refugees for four decades, he added. The army chief said the army cannot remain silent on attempts to criticize Pakistan. The conspirators and spoilers are the ones who are an obstacle to regional peace, the COAS said. “We will continue to play our role for peace and stability in Afghanistan. Peace in Afghanistan is essential for the region and especially for the people of Afghanistan,” he said. “We expect the Taliban to live up to the promises made to the international community of women and human rights and that Afghan soil will not be used against any other country,” he added. The COAS particularly recalled plight of Kashmiri people of IIOJK due to Indian state repression who are under the worst military occupation in human history. He said in this month of independence, “we cannot forget our Kashmiri brothers.” “The people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir are the victims of the worst state terrorism and exploitation,” he said. “I assure you that the hearts of Pakistanis beat with Kashmiris. We have always stood by Kashmir and will continue to do so. The international community must realize that regional peace is an illusion until a peaceful and just resolution of Kashmir issue,” he added. Referring to collective freedom struggle against imperialism by leaders, the COAS said people of sub-continent must not forget that the ultimate goal was to secure independent, harmonious and prosperous region where in all new created countries could live peacefully “Unfortunately, those goals today have become hostage to increasing polarisation and radicalisation in our neighbourhood,” he lamented. “Inimical forces are trying to weaken our society and state through hybrid war. But, Pakistan Army is fully cognisant of these challenges and is prepared to tackle them. We will ensure country’s defence by focusing on core competencies and technology. Only a strong armed forces can guarantee defence of the motherland,” he maintained. Dilating upon future challenges in view of changing dynamics of warfare, the COAS advised the cadets to wholeheartedly focus on training and remain abreast with the latest advancements in technology to prove equal to the task. “Today is an important milestone in the development and evolution of a great institution like the Pakistan Military Academy. The 4th Pakistan Battalion has shown excellent performance since its inception five years ago,” he underlined. Addressing the cadets, he said, “Your commitment to dedicate yourself to your homeland is a symbol of fear in the hearts of Pakistan’s enemies.” The month of August, he said, “reminds us of the eternal sacrifices and historic struggle of our forefathers for freedom.” The army chief mentioned that the hardworking youth were pride and capital of the nation. “The guiding principles of faith, unity and discipline in all the challenges of life are a beacon for you. No power in the world can harm a united nation in any way,” he said. Despite all the economic and other difficulties after independence, Pakistan not only overcame them but after every challenge it emerged stronger and stronger, he said. “We overcame terrorism and fully defended the borders of the country,” he said. “Whether it was a conventional war or a response against terrorism, emergency or natural calamities, Pakistan’s armed forces must always live up to the nation’s trust,” he said. “Pakistan Army is proud of its young officers who continued to lead their men from the front with courage and devotion to defend the freedom of motherland,” he added. The army chief visited Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) Kakul and reviewed the Flag Presentation Parade as chief guest while awarding Battalion Standard to 4th Pakistan Battalion which was raised on 10th of October 2016, said an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) media release.