Saturday Oct 19 2019

Time for the world to give more respect to Pakistan, says UK army ex-general

Photo: Atlantic Bureau

LONDON: A retired senior British Army officer has said that Pakistan has established order within its borders under the military command of General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

In an article for the Spectator magazine, Major-General (retired) Jonathan David Shaw wrote that the visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Pakistan is “showcasing Pakistan as it is today” rather than the past, and that the visit shows how Pakistan has transformed its internal security situation.

Jonathan Shaw recently visited Pakistan and toured various areas. The author is the former head of the SAS, as well as being the two-star in charge of Pakistan policy. In addition to his former special forces background the Oxford educated General regularly writes for the Financial Times, Telegraph and Spectator.

“When I used to go to Pakistan regularly over the period 2009-10, I saw a country facing an existential crisis. Pakistan harbours 2.7million refugees from the 1979 then 2001 invasions in Afghanistan,” wrote the army officer, noting that the real psychological turning point for the country came after the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in 2014 by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which killed around 158 people.

Shaw wrote that action against militants has yielded dividends for Pakistan.

“I visited the Khyber Pass section of the 833km fence, with 700 guard forts along its route, soon to be augmented by CCTV and sensor devices. This $1bn effort has choked off the Haqqani and TTP terrorist networks. And in a further sign of national CT resolve, all those on the US ‘watch-list’ in Pakistan have been arrested. Much credit for this must go to the Chief of the Army Staff, General Bajwa. He was picked as COAS over the heads of more senior officers on account of his strong pro-democracy attitudes.”

He wrote that gen Bajwa has proved himself “an able interlocutor in trying to de-escalate tensions in Yemen, between KSA and Iran, and of course in Afghanistan.”

Jonathan Shaw wrote that General Bajwa has focused on supporting the softer aspects of societal regrowth. General Bajwa told Jonathan Shaw for the Spectator article: “A strong army needs a sovereign economy.”

He added: “His character and broad vision for the overall strength of Pakistan explains why PM Imran Khan has recently extended him for a second three year term. And he is well-matched to his PM, who has shown strength and courage with his anti-corruption drive, his Peace and Prosperity agenda and his release of the Indian pilot shot down in the Pulwama incident in Kashmir this February.”

He added: “As what has become known as the ‘Bajwa doctrine’ has it, now is not the time to ask for more from Pakistan; now is the time for the world to give more respect to Pakistan.”